This time of year is perfect to pull out the big guns for refreshing cocktails. You can keep your frozen Daiquiris and Margaritas, I'm reaching for Negronis right now. You might remember a few months ago when we discussed the classic Americano. Think of the Negroni as the advanced version of the Americano. It came about when Count Negroni in Venice got tired of his favorite Americanos, and asked the bartender to make it stiffer with gin in place of the sparkling water.
The Negroni is one of the more powerful drinks out there. There's only melting ice to temper the strength of the ingredients, and all three ingredients in it are commonly snubbed by tipplers. There's some serious alchemy going on here; sweet Italian vermouth takes the edge off the Campari, and the gin keeps the vermouth in check. Take the time to measure out the ingredients in equal proportions; get too much Campari in there and the drink is going to blow your eyebrows clean across the room. Also, stir it a bit longer than you think you need. It starts out a little aggressive, but mellows into something ethereal as you drink it. If you need any more reason to try it, it even comes with a celebrity spokesman. Food legend Anthony Bourdain recently showed the folks at Late Night with Jimmy Fallon how to make one.
Negroni The exact amounts are less important than the proportion of everything in equal parts. The Negroni is ripe for variation; I'm partial to one made with Lillet Blanc and Aperol in place of the vermouth and Campari. If you want to make it taller, some Prosecco (or other sparkling wine) is a welcome addition.
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1 ounce gin 1 ounce Italian sweet vermouth 1 ounce Campari
Pour everything into a double old-fashioned glass over ice. Stir well to combine. Garnish with an orange slice.
That was Last Call, in which JK Grence, bartender at Shady's, serves up booze advice. Have a question for JK? Leave it in the comments below.