Saturday, May 31, 2014

Celebrate Negroni Week, June 2–8, at Your Favorite Bar, or with One of These Glowing Variations

The Dimmi Negroni — made with Campari, gin, and the light and floral
Dimmi Liquore di Milano — glows in late-afternoon light. 

Created by Imbibe Magazine and Campari, Negroni Week, a seven-day celebration of the famous cocktail and all its variations, promises to raise money for every Negroni-style cocktail ordered in participating bars across America and other parts of the globe. This money will, in turn, go to the bars’ charity of choice. Drink for a cause and patronize your favorite drinking establishments this week that are participating in Negroni Week. Relish in the bracing, bittersweet botanicals in Campari and your favorite gin. You can choose your vermouth as well, from Carpano Antica Formula to Punt e Mes, and to other herbal aperitifs such as Cynar and Suze.

Seven nights out in a row might be too many for you, so perhaps you’d rather stay home one night and share a cocktail in front of the big screen. Here is where we offer you some charity. Recipes, culled from favorites over the years, and some we’ve come up with ourselves. A Negroni is meant to be shared among charming and attractive adults, like you. Its redolence, a heady bouquet, fills the room and makes you a little bold, yet playful. Get carried away. You’re owning it. Start a new flirtation, or rekindle a fizzling one. Or just embrace friendship. Your week begins on Monday, June 2. Start planning your visits to your favorite liquor stores now, you sexy thing, or have it delivered! It’s time to discover how you like your perfect Negroni. Then take that knowledge and taste memories with you, go to one of the participating bars, and let them blow your mind with variations that are sure to please you and the gods of insobriety.

If you’re looking for something to nibble alongside a Negroni, just remember that, in general, Negroni-style cocktails pair wonderfully with blue cheese, dates, and seasoned sweet potato crisps. Other suggestions follow.

Punt e Mes Negroni
(created by Cocktail Buzz)

We love the bold flavors and Italian ingenuity for creating the most exquisite bitter amari, Campari. Who hasn’t beheld that red carmine glow and been bewitched by its bitter orange yet sweetly balanced flavors. You feel as though you must immediately fly to Rome for dinner. It’s perfect with gin — very continental and traditional at the same time. And these opposites attract with the help from one of our favorite vermouths, the bittersweet orange zestiness of Punt e Mes, a truly lovely and bracing fortified wine. Wonderful and exhilarating.

1 1/2 ounces gin (we like Dorothy Parker from New York Distilling)
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce Punt e Mes
orange peel (use a peeler to get one about 1–2 inches long; try not getting too much white pith)

Stir in ice for 30 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass or coupe. Express orange peel over drink by giving it a quick pinch with the rind facing out. Wipe the rim of the glass with the rind and drop it into the glass.

Broker’s Negroni
(created by Cocktail Buzz)

Brokers gin, the one with the black bowler hat, is an affordable and tasty London dry gin that mixes well with lots of other spirits. It’s quadruply distilled and boasts that it “does not follow the modern trend of using weird and wonderful spirits and botanicals” but focuses on perfecting the usual herbs and roots (such as juniper berries, cinnamon, and angelica root) used to flavor a perfect London dry gin. It’s quite lovely. In this Negroni, we use the traditional Campari, but specify Carpano Antico Formula, the smoothest sweet vermouth we’ve ever come across, along with the Broker’s. It’s delightful up or on the rocks, with or without a twist of lemon or orange, and pairs surprisingly well with guacamole.

1 ounce Broker’s gin
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce Carpano Antica sweet vermouth

Stir in ice for 30 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass or coupe, or into an ice-filled rocks glass. Add garnish, if using.

Dimmi Negroni
(created by Cocktail Buzz)

Sometimes you crave a Negroni but have sadly run out of vermouth. Necessity is the art of invention, so grab a bottle of something that looks promising and start mixing. One such alternative to vermouth is the spirited liquor from Milan called Dimmi. (It used to be called Veloce, but had to change its name for legal reasons. We like Dimmi, which translates to a friendly “Tell me.”) It’s made from organic winter wheat and grappa di Nebbiolo, then infused with a pleasing array of herbs and fruits, followed by a second infusion of peach and apricot blossoms, which adds a sweet flowery aroma. We like mixing Dimmi with bold gins, like Bombay Sapphire—their botanicals mingle well—and, of course, the traditional Campari. So perfect on the rocks for warmer evenings.

1 ounce Dimmi Liquore di Milano
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce Bombay Sapphire Gin
lemon twist, as garnish

Stir in ice for 15 seconds. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Add garnish.

Negroni Primavera
(created by Cocktail Buzz)

We dubbed this Negroni Primavera because of the spring ingredients: artichoke in Cynar, plums in the Greenhook Ginsmith Beach Plum liqueur, flowers from three different grapes in the June liqueur. As the ice melts, the drinks changes from a bittersweet, bracing, lightly bubbly aperitif, to a southern sweet tea, mellower and rounder. Sweet potato crisps might be a great pairing with these.

1 ounce Plymouth gin
2/3 to 3/4 ounce Greenhook Ginsmith Beach Plum Liqueur
1/4 to 1/3 ounce L’esprit de June liqueur
1 ounce Cynar
2–3 ounces soda
lemon twist

Stir the first four ingredients in ice for 15 seconds. Strain into an ice-filled double rocks or highball glass. Add soda, then the lemon twist.

Follow us next week as we present more Negroni variations for your delectation.

photo © Paul Zablocki, Cocktail Buzz