The Negroni is one of my very favorite cocktails to make at home for two reasons. The first is that the drink is delicious and I never get tired of its rich and robust flavor. The cocktail strikes a perfect balance between the thick, syrupy sweet vermouth, the refreshing crispness of gin, and the complex bitterness of Campari.
Campari is an Italian aperitif that is both bitter and sweet, with a glorious red color that used to come from an insect-based dye. 2010 marks the 150th birthday of this product made with a secret combination of herbs, plants, and fruit- and now bug-free coloring.
The second reason that I make this drink so often is that the recipe is easy to remember: It is equal parts of the three ingredients, plus a garnish.
As with any classic cocktail there are many ways to prepare a Negroni, but usually the ingredients stay the same. (One exception to that rule is this recipe from Fine Cooking in 2001.) Some people shake the drink to increase dilution; others stir it and serve it over ice.
I like it as prepared below; stirred and served “on the stem.” It may be Campari’s anniversary but sipping this drink makes me feel like it’s my birthday instead. And I must say, I look pretty good at 150 years of age.
1 fl. oz. Campari
1 fl. oz. Gin
1 fl. oz. Sweet (red, Italian) Vermouth
Orange peel for garnish
Stir all liquid ingredients over ice for a good minute or so. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze the orange peel over the glass to express the oils onto the drink, then drop it into the glass or place it on the side as a garnish.