Negroni Nirvana – I’m choking …

by KeithP on May 20, 2012

Rested once again after a slight pause, the Negroni Nirvana express train resumes its trip down the line as we explore all that is great about this classic, bitter drink … and its many variants.  Today we will see what fun can be had when we give a new amaro a chance in the spotlight.

Of the many recipes offered up in the PDT Cocktail Book one caught our eye not so long ago in the middle of prepping for this series.  Created by Goncalo de Sousa Montiero while working at the Victoria Bar in Berlin, the Berlioni was created as riff on a Negroni paying homage to Chad Solomon’s drink the Bensonhurst.  It also represents an interesting play for us on the classic Negroni formula — gin is held in place and in lieu of the classic sweet vermouth, its dry sibling stands in.  Where once Campari stood proudly on the castle ramparts defending its bitter kingdom, the Berlioni adds in the bitter artichoke-based amaro, Cynar instead.  Once again we get to see how easy it is to plug-and-play this drink.

There is a really nice bitterness that lingers throughout the experience.  Where Campari is dominating, the bitterness of the Cynar together with its rather herbaceous backbone provides a nice counter to the one-two herbal punch of the gin and the dry vermouth.  This drink is bold in the same way that having a Red Hook is a bold expression of its older cousin.  Whereas we were not fans of the use of dry vermouth previously, it works quite well in this ensemble. All-in-all a nice riff.

Berlioni
Recipe created by Goncalo de Sousa Montiero in Berlin (in 2004) and adapted by theSpeakista  

•    1 1/2 oz Tanqueray gin
•    3/4 oz Cynar
•    1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry vermouth (Dolin Dry was used)
Garnish: orange twist
Glass: rocks 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 ice-filled serving glass.  Garnish, sip and enjoy.    

Artichokes in our Negroni’s?  Not too shabby at all.  Aquavit in a Negroni?  Been there, done that?  Well tomorrow we put center stage another aquavit beauty.

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