A cook's cocktail: "Negronis for my friends"
When I asked the bartender for a negroni, he immediately asked, "Have you had one before?"
"Yes," I urgently replied. I couldn't wait to get my hands on that drink, but my reply was a little bit of a fib. I'd never had a Negroni before, but Campari is a favorite of mine and in my mind, I was already tasting this cool, crisp mix of herbal and rounded fruit flavors.
"Something I like that you probably won't" is how Sushiesque describes the negroni. The flavor of Campari -- and all of "those sort of oddly flavored fortified wine/booze thingies" as fellow herby aperitif lover Ann from A Chicken in Every Grannycart wisely calls them -- can be confusing to the tongue at first. We Americanos are not used to these deep herbal flavors.
I think the Negroni is the a cocktail a cook can appreciate best: full of flavor, bracing but balanced, both juicy and strong. The gin gives an alcoholic bite and rounds out some of the bitterness of the Campari; while Campari provides fruit flavors and a rich red color; though some vermouths are clear, the vermouth my bartender used turned the Campari's red to my cocktail's mahogany sun-brewed iced-tea color and sends some sweetness to relax the Campari.
I've been known to compare drinking gin and tonics, one of R*'s favorite drinks, to "licking the stump of the Christmas tree" while R* says that my Campari and sodas "taste like medicine." Yet in this balanced blend, I begin to appreciate the flavor of gin. I can't wait to make R* one and see if he likes Negronis too.
Sushiesque also provides wallet cards with the negroni recipe on them and some excellent comments which inspired my title for this post.
My negroni was served in a martini glass. Turns out, negronis and other Campari aperitifs are usually served in a rocks glass on ice. I'll try them that way when I make them at home.