Regina's Negroni. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

The Hasty Negroni. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

There was no other way given everyone’s schedule. We arrived from a relaxing vacay with Mom in West Palm on Monday night, and Donna’s sister, Regina, a professional cake whisperer, arrived first thing the next day ready to work (and teach).

I am cake challenged. I’m sweets challenged. My idea of sweets is pictured above. But the subject I’m writing about now, cleverly integrated into the above photo, demands that I address cakes. Thus, despite Regina’s patience, energy, and expertise, each day has for me ended with a feeling of depletion and fatigue, requiring a single end-of-the-day cocktail before I began dinner (which would be followed by more baking—cakes can be, should be, frozen—and/or photography).

So I wanted something strong, complex, familiar, and easy at the end of these challenging days, no straining into a chilled goddam glass, and no egg whites for crying out loud. I have a perfect 2-ounce shot glass; I filled it with gin, then filled it with equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth, a version of a great but not perfect cocktail, the Negroni. This version is stronger, but the ice mellows it out. And it’s not overly sweet-bitter, which the traditional Negroni can be. It’s also a great example of how proportions of classics can be varied in keeping with a situation. And if you don’t have or want to spring for the Campari, then just add six or seven shakes of bitters.

This week, it’s a hasty Negroni, in honor of my beloved cake-expert sister-in-law.

The Hasty Negroni

  • 2 ounces well gin (or expensive gin if you’re taking pix)
  • 1 ounce Campari (or tons of bitters)
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • ice
  • orange twist (optional)
  1. Put all the fluids in a large lowball glass. Fill with ice. Garnish with an orange twist if you have the energy.
  2. Try to forget your day.

If you liked this post on the Hasty Negroni, check out these other links:

© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.

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11 Wonderful responses to “Friday Cocktail Hour: The Hasty Negroni”

  • Allen

    Ok, my comments are under the previous ham post, a sauté to Roger Ebert, I’m perhaps jumping the gun if you don’t work graveyard – which I do.
    Cheers, happy Friday all.

  • Allen

    Just read this post, that is very much my style.
    Except for the egg in the foreground.
    The Negroni is very forgiving, just add ice. Or just mix it into ice. Stiffen it up with more gin.
    I have to have Campari. I can play with the rest, different gins, vermouths or bitters, but Camari is a must.
    Settles the stomach, drink it before, or after a meal.

  • Jake

    Amen — simple and complex. And bitter.

    For the last few months, we’ve often enjoyed a Negroni variation made with reposado tequila instead of gin. There’s a smokiness substituted for the piney juniper notes. Yum.

  • Victoria

    In the New York Times Gabrielle Hamilton said that “The Negroni is a fastidious equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari. It’s served on the rocks, and comes with a thin 1/2 wheel of orange, which you stir and crush a tiny bit of in the glass.” She uses Plymouth Gin, and I do too.

    I love the egg!

    By the way, I also love the Open Sky video showing you using the marvelous pasta rolling pin.

  • John Robinson

    I think Compari might be an acquired taste… or at least I haven’t yet decided if I like it. Seems to be a very dominant flavor in whatever calls for it.

  • Michael Ruhlman

    yeah, donna tasted and doesn’t like the cinnamon like flavor in campari.

  • terri

    i suppose it might make it a different drink, but have you ever tried substituting aperol for the campari? (in venice, you can get a spritz with your choice of either campari or aperol.) i lack the gene for processing alcohol so i can’t drink, but i’ve been told that campari is slightly more bitter, and aperol is slightly more sweet.

  • Mark Daugherty

    If you can find it, Gran Classico Bitter is a fantastic substitution for Campari — even more complex with a similarly strong bitterness.

  • Allen

    Sober proof read. I did not sauté Roger Ebert, my ipad bringing levity with auto correct. It should read salute!
    Still don’t get the egg? Drop it in the glass?
    Off the subject of cocktails, but a quick comment on the mind outliving the body. I enjoyed Mr. Ebert’s writing until the very end. His appearance may have been heartbreaking, but his writing was exactly the same. Such a keen, sharp witted, brave, spunky, opinionated person.

    A greater tragedy would be the body to outlive the mind, I’ve encountered this with a loved one with Alzheimer’s, it makes the transition of loss more gradual, the goodbye is subtle, perhaps even lost in the transition.
    Much less abrupt, but much more tragic.

    Back to the cocktail, perhaps Donna doesn’t like a Negroni, my wife doesn’t like cumin, so I can’t make chili without cumin. I won’t even call it chili.
    It must have cumin. It may be a variation, but the first thing I smell when someone is making chili is cumin.
    Play with the rest, use ground turkey, beans, no beans, chocolate, beer – but you must have cumin. Campari makes the Negroni. It’s a marriage of three simple ingredients. I’ve tried all the others, bottles taking up space in my pantry, syrupy, too sweet, like Averno, Cynar, Aperol – the closest, but still not it.
    I say make her a kangaroo, with Platinum 7 vodka, 20% Vya vermouth, and a lemon twist. So good,you’ll call it a martini.

  • Carolyn Z

    The hasty negroni is just the way hubby makes his. He enjoys them very much occasionally. You know in moderation. :-)

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