It wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time, my drink of choice was a Ketel-soda with lime. No frills. No fuss. Just Ketel One and soda water and I was a happy lady. Well, obviously, something has changed. Maybe now that I’m pushing thirty I’m required to drink a more complex cocktail. Or maybe it’s because negronis are just so damn delicious that I can’t go back to my boring (but wonderful) vodka-sodas.
It began sometime in August. I woke up one morning with an intense hankering for a negroni. And it never really went away. I’m not even sure what triggered that initial craving, but I have practically abandoned beer and wine and all other cocktails. I have a negroni pretty much whenever the opportunity presents itself. Drinks with friends, have a negroni. At home watching countless hours of a certain HBO vampire series, have a negroni. Dinner at Adrian’s, have a negroni. It’s been sort of ridiculous. Like the night I tried to order a negroni at a restaurant known for it’s tequila bar; needless to say, I had to settle for something else. And then there was last weekend, when I called Adrian two days prior to a brunch he was hosting to inquire about the possibility of me having a negroni that morning (I came to my senses and drank mimosas like all of the other guests). Who’s hooked?
The negroni is like the drunken cousin of the Americano. Both cocktails feature Campari and sweet vermouth, but an Americano is topped with club soda while a negroni is mixed with gin. It still surprises me that I’ve taken such a liking to the latter because I’ve never considered myself a gin drinker, and I have never been a fan of Campari.
I had my first taste of Campari at Evelyn’s house when I was twenty-one, maybe twenty-two. She was drinking Campari on the rocks and let me have a sip. Maybe because it’s red and syrupy, I was expecting something boozey but sweet like grenadine. What a fool I can be. I remember thinking it was horribly bitter and just all around awful. But here we are.
Because of its bitterness factor, the negroni is a bit of an acquired taste. It is all at once sweet, floral, bitter and citrusy. It’s considered an apéritif, so I find that it is the perfect drink to have after work, or while making dinner. I love that it’s one of those old world cocktails and like to imagine some handsome writer sitting in a cafe somewhere in Italy drinking negronis in the 1920’s. Have a negroni. I’ll likely be having one too.
1 part gin
1 part sweet vermouth
1 part Campari
orange (for garnish)
Pour the gin, vermouth and Campari over ice and stir. Using a paring knife or vegetable peeler, remove a section of peel from the orange. Twist the peel over your glass and then drop into your cocktail. Enjoy.