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Negroni Nirvana – Cube it up!

As we come into the home stretch, our legs are starting to tire a bit.  We hit our stride and made great progress getting through 27 separate Negroni-like recipes and with but three days left, we remain as thirsty for this bitter beauty as we did when we started our journey.

I have mentioned in the past several times, but when the mood hits me (way, way too often it would seem) to stir up a drink at home, absent a specific recipe in mind, I on average default to either mixing up a Manhattan-variant or an Old Fashioned-variant.  They are easy to make, allow for creativity and for the most part I’ve just about memorized the major cast of characters.  So it was, back in October, in the middle of another fun series that I began to play around (and play I have) with Jamie Boudreau’s Cubed Old Fashioned.  I’ve mixed up the original version, a Manhattan version, a Margarita version, a Mojito version, a Mai Tai version and many others that are slipping my mind.  When we started prepping for Negroni Nirvana we knew from the very beginning that we wanted to include a Negroni-based Old Fashioned recipe and the “cubed” version is what we settled on.

The basic idea of the Cubed Old Fashioned is to compress the essence of a drink’s flavor profile (and more) down into a tasty sweet syrup and then use said syrup as the base of a new Old Fashioned.  In the case of a Negroni we decided to create a syrup that held the sweet and bitter components (together with other essential Negroni flavors) and used gin as the spirit center.  After a little tweaking we settled on the below formulation that utilized a syrup comprising sweet vermouth and Campari and was paired against two kinds of gin (one London-style dry and two Old Tom gins).

We think that the resulting drink is quite nice.  Is it the end all, be all of a Negroni-based Old Fashioned?  No way … but it was fun to work on and equally fun to drink.

Cubed Negroni
Recipe adapted by theSpeakista from an original drink created by Jamie Boudreau

•    1 1/2 oz Beefeater gin
•    3/4 oz Ransom Old Tom gin
•    3/4 oz Hayman’s Old Tom gin
•    3/4 oz Negroni-Syrup (see below)
•    2 dashes of orange bitters
Garnish: orange and lemon twists
Glass: chilled coupe or other cocktail glass
Tools: mixing glass, bar-spoon and julep strainer

Assembly: Add all of the ingredients to the mixing glass and stir for several minutes with plenty of cracked and non-cracked ice until well chilled (adding in additional ice as needed along the way) and strain into the serving glass containing a large ice cube/rock. Garnish, sip and enjoy.    

Negroni Syrup: heat five parts of sugar, 2 parts sweet vermouth and 1 part Campari with orange and lemon peels over heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat, add several fennel seeds and allow mixture to come to room temperature. Remove peels and strain the mixture and store/use as needed.  

Kinda good huh?  Actually, I dig Old Fashioned’s and as Old Fashioned’s go, this was pretty tasty.  Next up, the second to the last offering in Negroni Nirvana, we turn back to the EO gang for an interesting riff.

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