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.

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