For this version, rather than mixing equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, there’s more gin than sweet ingredients and some added bitters. I took the book with me when I headed off in search of bitters since it is a “field guide.” Fee Brothers bitters are easy to locate and they’re reasonably priced. However, that info in the book about how bitters are made revealed that this brand relies on a glycerin base and artificial flavors and colors. Something to keep in mind when cooking with bitters is that the alcohol base will quickly evaporate and take some aromas and flavors with it. Flavors from bitters with a glycerin base will remain even when exposed to heat. But, either way, it’s best to add them at the end of cooking. With all of that in mind, I chose The Bitter Truth brand grapefruit bitters which is made with an alcohol base and is highly aromatic. It was added with gin, Campari, sweet vermouth, and ice in a cocktail shaker and stirred. I poured the cocktails into chilled martini glasses and garnished with orange twists.
I liked this less-sweet Negroni, and I really liked the world of flavors to discover in these bottles of bitters. I also tried the recipe in the book for a vinaigrette with grapefruit bitters. It pointed up the flavors and sharpened it like nothing else could have. There are endless new possibilities with cooking and cocktail making now. With a selection of bitters and ice at the ready, who knows what I could mix up next.
Recipe reprinted with publisher’s permission from Bitterman's Field Guide to Bitters and Amari by Mark Bitterman/Andrews McMeel Publishing.
Mythology has it that the Negroni sprung like Athena from the head of Count Camillo Negroni in 1919. The no-nonsense count, who found himself in need of something stiffer than an Americano (Campari, sweet red vermouth, and seltzer) asked the kind bartender, Fosco Scarselli, to swap gin for the seltzer, and this gave birth to a cocktail so freakishly delicious it must surely have rumbled Mount Olympus. Tradition has us mix equal parts gin, sweet red vermouth, and Campari. Begging the count’s permission, I lengthen the gin and crop the sweeter ingredients, then throw a bitter bolt of lightning through it to really light things up. The result would have made dear Camillo a god, or at least a marquis.
2 ounces London dry gin (Plymouth, Beefeater, or Tanqueray)
3/4 ounce Campari
3/4 ounce sweet (red) vermouth (Dolin Rouge or Carpano Antica)
6 dashes grapefruit bitters
1 orange twist, for garnish
1. Pour all the ingredients except the orange twist over ice in a chilled mixing glass.
2. Stir and strain into a martini glass.
3. Garnish with the orange twist.
I am a member of the Amazon Affiliate Program.