The Negroni is legendary when it comes to cocktails and quite potent too. Its very simple, equal parts of Campari, gin and sweet vermouth, plus a dash of orange bitters if you have them on hand. Considering gin is generally 90 proof or higher, Campari is 56 proof and sweet vermouth is at least 35 proof, you are looking at the equivalent of the better part of a bottle of wine if you use at least an ounce of each (30ml).
The drink is made even more famous by artists like Salvador Dali (who would often paint after having some absinthe), food writer, cook and traveler Anthony Bourdain, and it remains a staple forever in Northern Italian culture where it was born as a pre-dinner cocktail to enhance appetite and settle the stomach.
If anyone knows about vermouth, its flavor changes fast like wine and after a few weeks does not lend a particularly the most optimum taste to a cocktail. For this reason I personally use a substitute like Vya which is a sweet vermouth apertif. It lasts for months in the fridge and resolves the problem of a funky-tasting sweet vermouth because it has been fortified (enhanced) with higher proof spirits like brandy to keep it fresher longer.
If you want the real Italian experience, pour a shot of Campari, gin and sweet vermouth, stir well with ice, and pour that into another glass with one large ice cube and garnish with an orange slice. Bring on the antipasti and pasta with red sauce or anything Italian that is authentic and you will be right there with the people of Northern Italy the way Sunday was meant to be.
In case you missed it:
- 45 ml Campari
- 45 ml Gin (London Dry works well)
- 45 ml Sweet Vermouth (fresh please)
- Dash of Orange bitters
- Garnish with orange rind
- Stir all ingredients well in a tall glass or if you are lazy, in a shaker, strain into an Old Fashioned glass with fresh ice and serve with orange garnish.
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