Cocktail Hour: The Negroni

DSC_0071A couple of days late, but Cocktail Hour can be on Sundays, right?  I say yes.

Once spring hits, I start craving gin and rum cocktails.  Whiskey just seems so fall/wintery to me; gin and rum, on the other hand, taste like Springtime.  And, if the weather is any indication, Spring’s a little bit off– so I have to deal somehow.  Gin cocktails it is!

The Negroni is a favorite of mine, discovered at Morton’s before the Chimay tasting back in 2008.   It’s on their Classic Cocktail list.  The recipe, according to Savoy, is simple:

1 part Campari

1 part sweet Vermouth

1 part Gin

It’s stirred with ice and served in an Old Fashioned glass.  As I have no clear Old Fashioned glasses (my favorite cocktail glasses look a lot like the ones on Mad Men, and are really hard to photograph– and yes, I’m shopping for some!) the Martini glass will have to do.

This is a great way to use Vermouth, since I know you folks all ran out and bought a bottle of Sweet Vermouth last week, and now are wondering what to do with it before it spoils:  a Negroni is the way to go.  It’s not a sweet drink, fair warning, but a little on the bitter side . Campari is considered a form of bitters, but is used in larger proportions than the kind you may have on your bar.  It lends an herbal note to the drinks, and balances well with the herbal gin and sweet vermouth.  Every cocktail has a story, and the Negroni’s is that an Italian count wanted to strengthen his Americano (1 part Campari, one part sweet Vermouth, one part soda water) by replacing the soda water with gin.  If you replace the gin with Bourbon, you have a Boulevardier (coincidentally just written about on Cocktail Hacker). These are fun, tasty drinks to play around with.  Other suggestions I’ve read about include adding soda water to the Negroni (sounds nice and summery!), or substituting vodka for gin.

Favorite springtime cocktails, anyone?