Next week, whether or not you’re a drinker, or a fan of Campari, I need you on board, okay? In the spirit (ha) of #NegroniWeek, presented by Imbibe Magazine and Campari, let’s all act bolder, talk smoother, and dress … uh, redder. It’ll be fun, it’ll be good for your soul, and it’ll start your summer off on the right note.
It took me all of 2.4 seconds to jump on board with this lovely event; the Negroni is one of my favorite drinks, and I’ve proven my affection for Campari via ice cream (my love language). From June 2-8, participating bars across our fair nation will be serving up this classic and variations thereof, with proceeds going to their charity of choice. Find one of those fine establishments in your ‘hood, round up your friends, and have an extra cocktail for me, please.
Meanwhile, this week, bloggers (hi) will be sharing their spins on the Negroni. Then, I can only imagine everyone will high-five and go on to have a most magical summer.
My contribution is a melding–literally–of a Negroni with one of my other favorite classics, the Martinez. As the Campari ice cubes melt into a standard Martinez (primarily gin + sweet vermouth), the drink morphs into a(n almost) Negroni. If you don’t drink too fast, that is, so slow your roll there, Turbo.
It’s magic and it really wasn’t my idea–credit belongs to Jeff Failes of Washington, DC’s Casa Luca, and his genius application of this technique to a Manhattan-to-Boulevardier drink. Thank goodness brilliant people exist.
Don’t use a juniper-heavy gin for this, gang. My favorite Martinezes (my kingdom for the correct plural of that, plz… los Martinez? Martinezi? Martinezae?) use Old Tom gin, which is more woodsy and botanical. However, those gins tend to be way too sweet for a Negroni. We need something crisp and botanical here–I went with the Botanist Islay Dry Gin. I only picked it up because it comes from Islay, the land o’ Laphroaig, but my whims aside, it’s a really beautiful gin, versatile enough to bridge the gap between a Martinez and a Negroni.
So there you go. Two drinks in one glass, for all of you lightweights (I am among you) and greedy folks. Don’t be surprised if this transformer of a drink transforms you, too–into what, I don’t know. Take the red pill (or the red ice cubes) and find out.
- 3/4 ounce Campari
- 2 ounces water
- 2 ounces gin (the Botanist used here)
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth (Dolin Rouge used here)
- 1/2 ounce Maraschino liqueur
- A couple dashes orange bitters
- Orange peel, for garnish
- To make Campari ice, mix Campari and water and freeze in an ice cube tray. This makes more than enough for one drink and is easily scaled up. (For what it's worth, I tried upping the proportion of Campari to a full ounce with no success, i.e. really soft ice.)
- To make the drink, place a few Campari ice cubes in a double rocks glass. In a cocktail shaker filled with regular ice, combine the gin, vermouth, Maraschino, and bitters. Stir until thoroughly chilled, then strain into the rocks glass and garnish with orange peel.