We’re more than half way through National Negroni Week that highlights one of my favorite cocktails. I wanted to have time to experience this force of palatial nature once again before I set about to writing a blog post about it. The Negroni is also one of my husband’s favorites, and today was the first night this week that we could share it together.
Off to Cork and Kerry, our favorite local water hole that serves bespoke cocktails on and off menu. The bar is a speakeasy off of Roast, a front-facing coffee shop that serves a variety of coffees and pastries. Walk through the phone booth, a false door front, and you are taken into the back: a bar with open-faced brick walls, wood bar and stools, and four of the best cocktail bartenders you will find anywhere in or out of New York City: Doug, the bar owner, and three regular bartenders, Kosta, Bianca, and Sebastian.
Your basic cocktail has equal parts spirit, bitters, and sweet, usually sugar. A Negroni is gin, Campari (a bitter orange), and sweet vermouth (a fortified Italian wine). My husband celebrated Negroni week without me by going to Cork and Kerry last night after work yesterday. (You might think this would be a cause for marital strife, but I was visiting a friend from out of town. I can hardly blame him, yeah?)
The great thing about cocktails are cocktail variants. If you love a cocktail, plenty of variations exist to keep you from getting bored. Doug served him a Negroni Sbagliato, a Negroni that substituted prosecco for gin. Tonight, Bianca served us.
And here it is where, only afterwards, did I realize I misunderstood the situation. I said I wanted a variation on a Negroni. Bianca asked if I liked mezcal, and I said no, I didn’t like the smoky taste. Instead, she made me a Negroni variant with coffee rum, aperol, and lillet blanc, garnished with flamed lemon peel. The coffee taste was too smoky still for me, so my hubby drank it. I ordered a traditional Negroni (gin, Campari, sweet vermouth) with flamed orange peel garnish. The drink starts off intensely orange and intensely sweet, but then mellows out into intense bitterness.
For my honey’s second drink, he ordered a Negroni variant called a Boulevardier (bourbon, Campari, sweet vermouth, also with a flamed orange peel garnish). The difference from a standard Negroni, taste wise, is that the bourbon lacks the sharpness of the gin, resulting in a less sharp but still intense orange with slightly less bitter aftertaste.
If you like intense tastes, the Negroni is a drink that we highly recommend. So give one a try during National Negroni Week!