By Shane, Co-Founder
Anyone that has read our Origin story will know how pivotal the Negroni was on my interest in cocktails. This certainly wasn't the first cocktail - there were plenty of highballs, Old Fashioneds, and Manhattans consumed before the Negroni. Yet, it was the first cocktail, and the only one until the Zombie and the Last Word after, that made time stand still and forced you to wonder, almost romantically, how something could be so perfect.
It's an odd thing to think about - a cocktail making time stand still, but that's one of the many great things about a well crafted cocktail and it's surprising it doesn't happen more often. Perhaps a cocktail should always cause a moment of reflection; a moment of pause, where the world around you melts away and for a few seconds it's just you, a glass and a delicious nectar. I've had that feeling with other cocktails, but the Negroni seemed to hold me there, forcing me to try to break down why this cocktail was so damn perfect, so bold and bitter but somehow smooth and velvety. How could this be? Then the moment replayed itself - another sip, how is this so good?
It was in that moment, I knew I wanted to learn how to mix great cocktails. Perhaps I had also considered becoming a bartender, but I was already deep into a career in the back of house so that consideration died pretty quickly. This would be my hobby, something I could study, practice, and refine.
That's the backstory of the first cocktail that changed my life, and I can say that without exaggeration. To this day I can remember that first Negroni. The thing I haven't been able to figure out, is how is this so good?
This cocktail is truly greater than the sum of it's parts. But that said, the parts are pretty good on their own.
Gin - delicious and terribly under-rated;
Campari - bitter, bold and badass;
Sweet Vermouth - rich, smooth, velvety and complex (assuming it's properly stored)
The Negroni - literal perfection
I think perhaps the Negroni is so good because it's simple in it's DNA (equal parts of all three), yet each component is undeniably complex. Perhaps it's this juxtaposition of simple and complex that makes it so delicious. Regardless, it's a question I'm not sure I'll ever be able to answer, but I'm ok with that. I'll just stir up another Negroni and reflect.
1 oz Gin (I use Tanqueray)
1 oz Campari
1 oz Sweet Vermouth*
Combine all spirits in a mixing pitcher over ice. Stir until the cocktail is well chilled. Strain over a large ice cube** placed in a double rocks glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
*A word on Sweet Vermouth: If you want to spoil yourself, invest in a bottle of Carpano Antica. The rich and velvety characteristics of this vermouth really round out the edges of the Negroni. This vermouth features intense notes of vanilla, dried fruit, and caramel.
There's plenty of other quality vermouths out there that are readily available and the Negroni will still be delicious. Regardless of the vermouth used, make sure to store it in the fridge to delay oxidation and preserve flavor.
**A word on presentation: Truth is, I prefer to drink the Negroni over a large cube of ice, but have occasionally enjoyed it up.