Your Instagram feed has blushed red with glorious crimson cocktails. You are seeing the word Negroni popping up left, right and centre these past few days and you are wondering “what is this buzz all about?”
Negroni Week 2021 is here, and our taste buds could not be happier. A charity event started by Imbibe magazine in 2013, Negroni Week has since grown to a global phenomenon.
Adopted by over 12,000 venues across the world – from Milan to Munich, Buenos Aires to Bengaluru – it is one week to celebrate the classic cocktail and raise money for a worthy cause while doing so. To date, the initiative has raised more than US$ 3 million for charitable causes.
This year Negroni Week falls between 13–19 September. Unlike last year, when it was an entirely at-home affair due to lockdowns, this year you can also hand out well-made Negroni to your favourite customers.
The Negroni is a classic cocktail that has stood the test of time because it is simply delicious to drink, and deliciously simple to make. It is strong, bitter-sweet and (depending on your palate) can take a few tries to completely accept its complexity of flavour. But once you do, this morish serve will keep you coming back.
The ingredients for a classic Negroni are gin, Campari and sweet vermouth with the most widely accepted recipe being equal 30-ml measures of each. Though I have certainly been served a few liberal pours that were 45-ml measures of each liquid, I certainly was not complaining.
Sometimes classed as an aperitif, sometimes a digestive, I think it works on both occasions. Its bitter, botanical-rich ingredients will get your stomach moving, making it an ideal cocktail to have before dining, or to aid digestion after a large meal.
But one of my favourite characteristics of a Negroni is that each sip is different from the last. As dilution increases over time the flavours will adapt to the changes in temperature and water. This means even if you are consuming in solidarity, you will be surely enamoured by the changing taste.
Another fantastic point is that it is a brilliant drink to pre-batch, so you can make a larger quantity, then keep in the fridge to have on hand later in the week.
With a twist?
The choices are limitless for creating Negroni twists as the cocktail itself follows a simple recipe of equal parts strong, sweet and bitter: gin, sweet vermouth and Campari respectively. As long as you keep the balance of each of those components, you can let your creative freedom run wild.
The Negroni Sbagliato replaces gin with sparkling wine; and the White Negroni uses white vermouth in place of sweet vermouth and Suze in place of the Campari.
The Negroni Classic sets a benchmark and teaches you how to balance the three ingredients. You can then decide whether you want to go sweeter or drier, or any number of variations by changing the type of gin, sweet vermouth or bitter you use.
Perhaps start with twisting the sweet element first and work up from there. For example, you could add an orange liqueur in place of all/some of the sweet vermouth. Or switch Tanqueray London Dry gin for Tanqueray No.10 for that fresh citrus burst.
Call me a traditionalist, but no matter how many Negroni twists I have tried, I will always come back to a Classic! (https://negroniweek.com/).
My favourite recipe is simple and will set the foundation for your Negroni making future. Once you have mastered this recipe, feel free to twist and tweak to your heart’s desire.
Tanqueray London Dry gin: 30ml
Rosso Antico: 30ml
(You could use a different sweet vermouth)
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass full of ice. Stir to dilute. Strain into a chilled rocks glass with fresh ice (the bigger the cubes the better).
Then garnish with an orange slice or twist and sit back to enjoy. Salut!