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In the mix: the mighty Negroni

In the mix: the mighty Negroni

by Rich Woods 03 June 2016

As Negroni Week (6–12 June) returns for another year, cocktail guru Rich Woods talks us through the history of the famous drink and why you should order one – all for a good cause.

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Rich Woods (aka The Cocktail Guy) is an award-winning bartender known for his unique creations and is at the forefront of bridging the gap between the worlds of food and liquid.

Though the history, origin and birth right of the Negroni is arguable and remains the topic of frequent debate, you can trace its lineage back to another cocktail; the Americano, which in turn is based on the Milano Torino ­– geographically named after its two key components (Campari from Milan and Amaro from Turin).

Like many a classic cocktail, the Negroni is seeing a huge rise in popularity. Maybe this was the reason for the creation of Negroni Week. Between 6–12 June, bars the world over will be mixing, stirring, pouring and championing the mighty Negroni – all in the name of charity. Launched in 2013 as a celebration of one of the world’s great cocktails and in an effort to raise money for charitable causes, this year’s Negroni Week (like those before) will see much imbibing whilst debating the origin of this great creation.

Whatever your beliefs, one fact remains known – the Negroni is an amazing cocktail. Sweet, bitter, alcoholic and loved by many, it was originally designed as an aperitif. A good Negroni is the very definition of balance and simplicity and its continuous popularity should come as no surprise.

I for one have always had some interpretation of the Negroni on my menus – from the current ‘Artichoke Negroni’ with a distillation of artichoke leaf to the classic ‘Ristretto Negroni’, which is slowly dripped through crushed coffee beans over twenty-four hours. Last year I served a ‘Summer Negroni’ which uses the aroma of fresh cut grass in a ‘green’ gin, and there’s always the very Instagramable Nutella Negroni with its double-distilled Nutella gin.

So if you find yourself in one of the many participating bars this year, don’t forget to tweet your drink and tag it with @imbibe #NegroniWeek. Check out www.negroniweek.com for a list of participating venues.

Nutella Negroni
Rich's Nutella Negroni has gained a cult status among visitors to Duck & Waffle, and is usually only available during Negroni Week
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One take on the classic is Rich's Artichoke Negroni, which involves a vacuum distilling process to create an artichoke distillate

The cocktails

Classic Negroni

 
 
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Pour 20ml gin, 20ml Campari and 20ml sweet vermouth into a mixing glass or tin. Fill two-thirds with ice cubes and stir to dilute and chill. Strain over fresh ice and garnish with an orange zest.

Ristretto Negroni

This is a good drink to mix in batches – use 30ml Bombay Sapphire gin, 20ml Cocchi di Torino, 20ml Campari and 10ml Aperol per person. Stir together and slow drip through a cold-brew coffee tower through crushed coffee beans. The process should take around twenty-four hours. Measure 80ml of the mixture out and pour into a mixing tin two-thirds filled with ice cubes. Stir until icy cold and strain over a fresh ice block. Garnish with a dehydrated orange wheel.

Artichoke Negroni

For this cocktail, you first need to make the artichoke leaf distillate. Place 300ml neutral spirit and 60g of artichoke leaves into a vacuum. Gradually reduce the pump to 75 millibars and leave to distil until no liquid is left. When ready, measure the alcohol percentage and rectify with mineral water until it reaches 40% ABV.

Measure out 15ml of the distillate and combine with 25ml Daffy’s gin, 20ml Campari and 20ml Cocchi di Torino per person (again, this cocktail works best when made in larger batches). Leave to rest for up to thirty-six hours to mellow the flavours.

Measure out 80ml of the mixture and pour into a mixing tin two-thirds filled with ice cubes. Stir until ice cold and strain over a fresh ice block and garnish with an artichoke leaf.

 
 

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