Gabriella Mlynarczyk of ink. Restaurant in Los Angeles writes up her recipes for Imbibe & Campari’s Negroni Week. Gabriella shares on her blog the history of the classic beverage and will also be making daily variations throughout the week of June 2 – June 8.
The photos and recipes in her blog are some of the most incredible I have aver seen, and so thankful she has shared with us.
“…There’s a tale out there (maybe tall maybe true) about a Nobleman also partial to a glass or two of this jewel like temptress, the story goes that one day around 1919 a certain Count Camillo of Florence , Italy made a simple request to his bartender , he needed his usually satisfying Americano cocktail made stronger, the Americano is a highball built over ice consisting of equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth topped with soda water . The bartender pondered and turned to a bottle of gin, he poured out an equal amount of gin and added it to the glass but this time without soda and finished with a spritz of orange oil. The result was at once bitter and sweet, racy and refreshing and warming and spicy, the color of a deep red treasure winking across the bar at the Count demanding that he savor it, he became a man bewitched , the bartender named it using Camillo’s last name and so the Negroni was born.
Who knows why the good Count thought of it, maybe a day of frustrations led him to need something stiffer we shall never know, so happy was he with the result the Count and his family opened a distillery and made the first pre-packaged version marketed as Antico Negroni ( and you thought bottled cocktails were new!). The Negroni has become one of the most recognized classic drinks and in many cocktail bars I’ve auditioned at the first drink I was asked to make to prove ability. If the bartender shakes it or adds the wrong ratios then its an immediate fail, but get the proportions, garnish and the chill on the nectar just so and your taste buds will be enveloped in its splendid bittersweet symphony.
Typically drank as an aperitif , the bitterness rounded out by a spicy sweet vermouth plus the nerve taming tonic of a good dry gin is the perfect end in my mind to the day or beginning of a great evening, these days I’ve seen the Negroni made with Dutch Genever adding a lovely malty finish or turned into a lesser known classic the Boulevardier by subbing out whiskey for the gin, the whiskey I think turns the drink into an after dinner sipper which is fine since the chinoto from the Campari also works as a digestive aid. The Negroni to me is also the quintessential summer cocktail and with summer ( yes time has gone too fast this year) comes Negroni Cocktail week put together by Imbibe magazine and Campari , a seven day celebration of the classic Negroni and its variations, participating bars will donate a portion of Negroni sales to their favorite charities,its also a chance for the bar community to gather together and give something back. If you would like to join in the festivities go here for a list of participating bars in your area, my own list includes The Varnish, Eveleigh, Tasting Kitchen and Harvard & Stone in Los Angeles and Broadway restaurant in Laguna , please also visit us at Ink in West Hollywood where I’ll be serving up our Rapid Barrel aged Negroni sous vide for 2 days, as well as our Boulevardier finished with a splash of lambic ale, or if you’re hearing the call of adventure maybe I’ll hook you up with a hit or two of Campari dust…..”