Twenty years ago, the Negroni would have nestled inconspicuously in the darker reaches of an Italian restaurant’s cocktail menu – a quiet, unassuming vintage whose simple bedrock of Campari, vermouth and gin struggled to measure up to the peacocking blush of the Cosmopolitan or the barnstorming vivacity and potency of the Long Island Iced Tea.
These days, it’s the tipple du jour, with variations on its robust foundations littering go-to cocktail lists all over the world. Indeed, Negroni Week (6-12 June) sees thousands of bars celebrate the brew, each putting their own bold spin on a tried-and-tested standard.
It’s not the only cocktail to experience a revival in the last decade: the Old Fashioned, so popular in the early 20th century, has enjoyed a heartening renaissance, with most bars now offering their own take on the whisky-laced powerhouse.
Hannah Duffy, mixologist at London tapas stalwart Camino, isn’t one to miss out on the chance to innovate, and her Spanish take on the Negroni puts an electrifying flourish to an Italian classic.
The Negroni, reportedly invented by a barkeep in 1919 in response to a patron’s request for a stiffer take on the Americano cocktail (sweet vermouth, Campari and club soda), traditionally blends Campari, vermouth and gin, its sweet but punchy mouthfeel rendering it undeniably moreish. Duffy, however, has spiced up her offering considerably.
“Vermut is a Spanish vermouth which brings a lovely herbal flavour and aroma to the drink,” she says. “We also use a Spanish gin, and add a touch of Amontillado sherry for a touch of sweetness, a raisin flavour and a dry finish.”
The addition of Sacred’s Rosehip Cup, a fruity, less bitter alternative to Campari, adds complexity.
“It’s the perfect aperitif for summer BBQs,” Duffy explains. “The fruitiness, bitterness and dryness from the Vermut, gin, sherry and rosehip makes the drink perfectly balanced and, of course, delicious.”
Spanish Affair (Serves 2)
50ml Sacred Rosehip Cup
50ml Vermut Golfo
20ml Amontillado sherry
30ml 5th Gin Air
Chilled Old Fashioned glass
2 pieces of fresh orange peel, to garnish
“Sacred Rosehip Cup is a British, fruitier, less bitter alternative to Campari, but Campari could be used here instead. 5th Gin Air is a Spanish gin from Barcelona with a London Dry style. It is juniper-heavy, which brings great balance to the cocktail.”
- Add the Rosehip Cup, Vermut Golfo, sherry and gin to a cocktail shaker glass. Add some of the cubed ice and stir gently with spoon until well combined.
- Fill your chilled Old Fashioned glass with cubed ice.
- Using both hands, strain the drink through a Hawthorne strainer (held flush with the opening of the shaker) and a small fine sieve positioned over your glass.
- Take the fresh orange peel, and rub it across the rim of both glasses.
- Holding the orange peel between your middle finger and thumb just over the glass, hover a lighter against the peel. Gently squeeze the peel which will form a spark and spray essential oils into the glass.
- Pop the orange peel into the glass and serve.
From Delicious To Stratospheric
“Add a flamed orange peel to the drink! The essential oils from the orange skin will bring out new citrus and bitter flavours from the cocktail.”