Demistifying Cocktail Culture – #1 – The Negroni

I’ve decided I’m going to start writing again. And for now, here it is…

Upon going to a new bar, you want to order a “classic” cocktail, but you’re not sure what it should be… so instead, you order what you heard some other patron at your favorite bar order the other day: a Negroni. Since you’re not totally sure what you’re ordering, you have no idea what’s really in it. What if you don’t like it? You know you want to get into the classics in Seattle, but you’re not certain you know what you’re ordering.

Well, today I’m going to tell you about what you’re ordering, how to make it at home, and where to get a good one in Seattle.

First off: most bartenders should know how to make a Negroni. If they don’t, and you know what’s in it, they should be amenable to making it for you. There are also oodles of variations. A couple of amazing spots to get them in Seattle are Zig Zag Café, Liberty, Smith and Canon.

To make it at home, all you need is your favorite gin, Campari and a red (sweet) vermouth. My favorite gin depends on my mood (Do I want a traditional juniper flavored gin? Do I want a gin with more botanicals?), so after that decision, I turn to Campari and my favorite sweet vermouth. Lately, it’s been Imbue Vermouth Petal & Thorn. This is available at liquor stores around Seattle and is from Portland, Oregon. It’s such a lovely vermouth that I have it with soda water at home, over ice. Other options are Lillet Rose, Martini & Rossi Rosso or Cinzano Rosso.

The recipe is: equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth – usually 1oz of each. Add all the ingredients to an old fashioned glass, fill with ice and then stir until cold (aka, you can see the condensation on the glass).  You can garnish it with a piece of orange… or just sip it.

Some variations involve swapping the gin out with tequila, mezcal or bourbon – the bourbon one even has its own name: the Boulevardier.  Now go ask your favorite bartender to make you a Negroni – your favorite bartender could already live in your house… yourself!

3 thoughts on “Demistifying Cocktail Culture – #1 – The Negroni”

  1. Great post–we love Negronis (& Boulevardiers)!

    Would you do anything different than Campari and Sweet Vermouth for a Mezcal-based variation?

    At home, we also like making what I’ve been calling a “Negroni Forte” — Equal parts St. George Dry Rye, Campari, and Cynar.


  2. I think I would. Depending on the Mezcal, I’d probably go with something to either complement the earthiness of the mezcal, or completely opposite.
    Not sure what it would be… I should play around!

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