My first ever negroni was about 7 years ago.
It was in a now ‘trendy’ part of Wandsworth and a place that was originally an old man’s pub but now a Contiki style cocktail bar… one of those. I wanted to try something new and as I already loved gin, I thought that a cocktail with a gin base would be a safe bet. I saw Negroni on the menu and thought I would give it a go. Why not, sounded fruity. There is gin in it so I am sure to love it. Heading to the bar I pronounced Negroni as something like ‘Neg-ronnie please’. Something Del Boy would be proud of.
When the lovely bartender handed me my Neg-ronnie and my husband his cold beer, it wasn’t what I am use to in seeing in a cocktail. Normally I order the tall drinks, because I think I get more in it (which is a lie and I now know it’s the opposite), with a large chunk of fruit hanging out of it. I am partial to a sparkler and balloon and never feel its overkill when presented with something loud.
As I took the first sip, I immediately thought this is a lot stronger than what I normally drink and looking back with the years of practise I now have in drinking, I should have been wiser with this drink. (By the way, that last bit was a lie and I still have days / nights where I promise I will never drink again and have a conversation in my head about how I am going to run a gin business when the person making it doesn’t drink anymore. A few hours later I am pouring myself a double G&T).
We were on our way to see a film that afternoon when we sat in this pub and 3 Negronis later, I still to this day can’t tell you what we watched. It hit me like a tonne of bricks. I never touched another Negroni until I opened my bar in 2016. Stupidly so, I use to warn people coming to the bar when ordering a Negroni that it had no mixers and contained three alcohols!! As you can tell, sales aren’t my strong point. I thought that someone should have warned me with my first Negroni.
What did happen though after that Wandsworth pre-film Negroni is that I have come to really appreciate this little powerful drink. It’s my favourite cocktail to make at the bar and learning from others about various vermouths to add and how you can create a twist with this drink. I personally love the sweetest of orange, and swirl a humongous slice around the rim of the glass before serving, with the largest wedge to break the bitterness. It does sound like I like orange more than this drink but it isn’t true. It brings me really joy to serve it and I am so glad I had another chance to create a new relationship with it, especially since it just looks so handsome.
Now as I said, here is the traditional recipe and a Graveney Gin twist. If you choose to drink only one or try them both, whatever you do, don’t go watch a film after 3.
1 part 25ml Graveney Gin
1 part 25ml Campari
1 part 25ml sweet red Vermouth
¼ of an orange for ganish
In a tumbler glass pour in 3 or 4 blocks of ice cubes (not enough to keep knocking you in the face with), pour in Graveney Gin, Campari and sweet red vermouth and give it a gentle stir. Use half of the orange to swirl around the rim of the glass and squeeze a little orange juice into the glass. With the other half of the orange sit inside the glass for garnish. It can also be used as a little snack halfway through your drink.
Graveney Gin Grapefruit Negroni
1 part 25ml Graveney Gin
1 part 25ml Campari
1 part 25ml Pink grapefruit juice
1 part 25ml Cocchi Rosa vermouth
¼ pink grapefruit for garnish
As I generally have loads of pink grapefruits at home, because I use the peel for the gin, this goes fantastically well with Graveney Gin and easy to do.
As with the classic, pour all ingredients into a tumble glass which has been filled with ice. Gently stir all together and slice up the pink grapefruit into half. Use one slice to circle the top of the glass and the other to sit inside the cocktail and nibble on later.
I would love to hear and see photos of your Negroni and the winning picture will be sent a bottle of Graveney Gin so they can continue their skills at home. Use #graveneynegroni on social media to enter.
Entries close this Sunday 30 June at midnight. One 70cl bottle will be posted to the winner within the UK early next week once winner has been announced. Entries will only count when using the hashtag graveneynegroni on social media channels Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.