There was never a question as to what the Monday Classic would be on this particular date since today marks the start of Negroni Week. Originally launched in 2013 as a collaboration between Imbibe Magazine and Campari, Negroni week has raised nearly $900,000 for charitable causes since then. There were originally just 100 venues participating and that number has since grown to nearly 6,000. To participate, venues sign up at negroniweek.com and then make an immediate donation to charity each time a Negroni is ordered. Check out the website for your favorite spot!
One of my earliest blog posts was actually about my love for Campari and the amazing cocktail in which it’s featured so prominently. An equal parts mixture of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, a Negroni is an immensely elegant drink that epitomizes the importance of balance, harmony, and temperature all in one cocktail. Its origin dates back to to 1919 when a Count Camillo Negroni was rumoured to be drinking Americanos in a bar in Florence. Americanos are made with sweet vermouth, Campari, and club soda. Desiring a stronger drink, he asked the bartender to replace the club with gin and so the Negroni was born. A happy day for us all. Interestingly enough, when my daughter and I went to Paris last June, I ordered a Negroni in a bar and they served me an Americano!
In terms of ingredients, most bartenders recommend a less botanical, more traditional gin here. I’ve used Bluecoat, both because it’s one of my favorites and because I’ll be kicking off Negroni week tonight by visiting Philadelphia Distilling where they are having a Negroni Cocktail Competition. As far as the vermouth, I like the blend that Death & Co. uses: 1 part Dolin Rouge and 1 part Punt e Mess. And Campari is Campari, of course. That being said, the Negroni is another classic that can be taken in many directions, so feel free to experiment with swapping out the standard gin for a barrel-finished, the Campari for a similar herbal liqueur, and the vermouth for a different bitter/sweet aromatized wine. Whatever you do, keep your Negroni very cold; it’s flavors tend to break apart when it warms up. I prefer mine over ice, although I know people who serve theirs straight up. Happy Negroni Week? Where will you be celebrating?
1 oz Bluecoat gin
1 oz sweet vermouth
Place all the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until very cold. Strain into an old-fashioned glass over ice or straight up into a chilled cocktail glass. Express an orange peel over the drink and drop in as a garnish. Cheers!