Negroni: The Perfect Winter Cocktail

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The week between Christmas and New Year's was particular fun for us this year, as we were trying out various cocktails and recipes from Michael Chiarello's new cookbook, Bottega. I fell. in. love. with this restaurant when we went last year and was beyond excited and thrilled to see it under the tree this year as my gift.

The Hubsters and I made this Negroni cocktail and it's officially his new favorite drink. Next to of course, the Bond Martini. It's bitter, a little sour, very slightly sweet and extremely "manly" despite its gorgeous color. I love it because it's just perfection for winter, especially if you can garnish it with a blood orange slice (not pictured) with its restrained bitterness and hints of sweetness. It goes with any most appetizer as well.

1 ounce dry gin
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 ounce Campari
ice cubes
1 orange slice for garnish (preferably blood orange when in season)

[notice how despite the deep orange color from the campari, by stirring the cocktail in the shaker versus shaking it you preserve a handsome clarity throughout the drink that's retained even through pouring]

Place the gin, vermouth, and campari into a tumbler or cocktail shaker filled halfway up with ice. Stir vigorously until the outside of the tumbler/shaker feels ice cold. Strain into a martini glass and gently drop the orange slice into the drink.

*Note: many bartenders recommend when working with gin, to stir and not shake it as what Bond would have us do. By shaking it, it clouds the delicate properties in the gin and you're left with a cloudier end product; by stirring you will preserve gin's incredible clarity and have a much better looking cocktail. Shaking versus stirring won't alter the taste of it; it's purely aesthetic.

**We also made the Negroni with Lillet instead of the sweet vermouth because that's what we had on hand -- came out beautifully!

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