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Negroni Nirvana – Southpaw magic

Thank you again Michael for creating another great recipe for inclusion in one of our series. Today a Sam Ross creation takes the reins of Negroni Nirvana and we are left after both recipes have been offered asking the aged old question of the chicken and egg.

Essentially a carbon copy of the Right Hand, Sam’s drink takes on (or inspired) the same exact proportions of ingredients but instead of subbing out gin for a richly aged rum, the table is turned towards that “fire brand” like spirit, bourbon.  As we experienced yesterday, a simple tweak to be sure had yielded a wholly different drink.  The first words in my tasting notes summarize pretty succinctly what I think about this drink … “oh my, this drink is so, very, good!”  The sweetness and the fruit are the lead flavor profiles here with the bourbon adding its own interesting layer of sweetness.  This is a far bolder expression of the drink with the bitterness being tamed once again (as was the case in the Right Hand) and allowed to coat vs. dominate the palate.  Great balance all the way through.

Between the two, left vs. right, I would say that my pre-disposition towards whiskey drinks has me siding, ever so slightly, with the Left Hand.  As noted in the lead in to the drink from the PDT Cocktail book, the drink is essentially a marriage of a Manhattan and Negroni.  Can’t go wrong with this pairing.  Either way, left or right, Michael and Sam pay their respects to the original and in so doing not only show their reverence for the original, but I dare say create offspring that surpass the parent.

Left Hand
Recipe created by Sam Ross (while at Little Branch and Milk and Honey in NYC) and adapted by theSpeakista

•    1 3/4 oz bourbon (Elijah Craig 12 year was used)
•    3/4 oz Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
•    3/4 oz Campari
•    2 dashes Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters
Garnish: cherries on a pick (or orange twist as I did)
Glass: coupe or other pre-chilled cocktail glass
Tools: mixing glass, bar-spoon and julep strainer

Assembly: Add all of the ingredients to the mixing glass and stir with plenty of cracked and non-cracked ice until very cold (i.e. stir the drink for a minute or two adding in additional ice as needed).  Strain the mixture into the serving glass, garnish and serve up.

Put your left and right hands down and get ready, for tomorrow we get our swizzle on.

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{ 5 comments… add one }

  • Alex April 16, 2012, 2:57 am

    Hi Keith.
    I just wonder if there are any significant differencies with The Boulevardier. Two dashes of mole bitters? Slightly different proportion of ingredients. Could you say something about it?

  • KeithP April 16, 2012, 3:44 pm

    You hit the nail on the head – I looked at doing the Boulevardier but liked the idea of doing the left/right hand cocktails because of their approximation to one another and the linkage between the colleagues who created them. While subtle, by my palate, the Left Hand is a better drink taste-wise. We’ll see a version of the Boulevardier pop up soon later in this series.

  • Alex April 17, 2012, 5:02 am

    Sorry for my meticulous approach, Keith ))
    I’m near the end of more-than-a-month trip to Negroni world (posted only in Russian, sorry again). So now I’m still keeping veryclose connection with all these things…
    Hope to learn something new from your Negroni Nirvana series. Good luck!

  • KeithP April 17, 2012, 5:38 pm

    No worries at all Alex. Frankly I struggled with which one to post and because they are so close thought not to do both. would love to hear about your Negroni adventure when we are all done with ours — I’m 100% confident we are not picking up every variant.

  • Alex April 18, 2012, 12:42 am

    I’ll be trying to comment and to suggest variants I’ve made recently – 16 cocktails in 4 posts…

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