Mixing a Negroni is in actual fact pretty straightforward, consisting as it does of equal measures of three classic ingredients and requiring absolutely no special equipment. More challenging is the fact that it’s just not as well known as it deserves to be – its name certainly doesn’t get bandied around like a Dry Martini, a Bloody Mary or a Cosmopolitan. But it does, like some international secret society, have legions of devoted followers. If you occasionally like your drinks on the bitter and complex side we suspect that once you’ve tried it you’ll like as not join them.

The story goes that it came into being around 1919 when a certain Count Camillo Negroni walked into his regular Florentine bar and requested his usual Americano but “with a bit more kick”. The clever bartender obliged by retaining the Americano’s sweet vermouth and Campari but dumping the soda water in favour of dry gin. Yep, that put a kick in it all right.

And that’s all there is to it. One shot each of those three ingredients, dry gin, sweet vermouth and Campari, stirred in a rocks glass filled with ice, then garnished with orange – either a twist or a wedge. So simple, so sublime.

There are variations aplenty too. Try topping the classic recipe with a float of Prosecco to lengthen it. Take it in different directions by substituting the gin with tequila, vodka or even rum. And play around with how you enjoy the bitter liqueur element by replacing the Campari with Aperol or Cynar.

The Cocktail Lovers say:

The clever couple behind the Sacred Spirits Company have already created an award-winning gin, a delicious Spiced Vodka and a perky Spiced English vermouth in their Highgate micro distillery. Now they’ve added Rosehip Cup. Try it instead of the Campari – it’s still bitter but with an extra fruitiness.

This week we’re loving:

Kitchen Party, the new fully immersive dining, drinking and entertainment concept in Clerkenwell. Curated by Bourne & Hollingsworth it brings together some of London’s most exciting chefs and cocktail makers.

Written for The Independent Dish of the Day blog 16/5/2013

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