Clear Liquor Season

Photo by Chris Palmer

Are you a seasonal drinker? Do you like Guinness in winter and Corona in summer? Scotch and brandy when it’s snowing, vodka and gin in the sweltering heat? Memorial Day is upon us and with it, for seasonal drinkers at least, a return to clear spirits. But instead of a vodka-soda or a gin and tonic, how about a Negroni? As per Eric Felten’s How’s Your Drink, it’s a rather simple cocktail: 1 ounce Campari, 1 ounce red vermouth, 1 ounce gin. “Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass or serve on the rocks in an Old-Fashioned glass. Add a splash of seltzer if you like and garnish with orange—slice or peel.”

Michael Ruhlman likes his a bit stronger, with 1.5 ounces of gin—what he calls an “Enhanced Negroni,” because “I find, straight up, it’s a little on the syrupy side for me. On the rocks, equal parts is just right, as the ice melts.”

“I actually hadn’t heard of a Negroni,” Ruhlman explains, “until Bourdain ordered one after an event we did at the 92nd Street Y. It wasn’t like him to be order a girly drink, I thought, when the server arrived with a pinkish, on-the-rocks concoction, so I took note.” (Ruhlman prefers Hendrick’s.)

Or rum, if you prefer—as in a Dark and Stormy—more and more places are carrying ginger beer—or in a classic daiquiri. (The problem with the latter is that the bartender might very well think you want a frozen strawberry daiquiri and not simply white rum, sugar, lime juice, and crushed ice. Next thing you know, you’re drinking a Mud Slide from an enormous goblet.)

Either way, Happy Summer.

One thought on “Clear Liquor Season”

  1. If you want a Negroni that is lighter on the Campari, I’d recommend one that is: 1 part Bluecoat gin, 1 part Carpano Antica, .5 part Campari, .5 part Aperol.

    I love Hendrick’s as a martini or the base for Lucky Jims, but find it generally too light for a Negroni – gets overpowered, I think.

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