Something I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time is go back to the basics and try making all the classic cocktails. One of them on my list is the Negroni, so when I received a book dedicated entirely to the Negroni I was excited to give it a go!
For the past few years, I’ve been experimenting with different flavors, different liquors and liqueurs, colors and glasses and presentation in an effort to come up with creative, tasty cocktails. But there’s a merit to simplicity. Gary Regan, in The Negroni: Drinking to La Dolce Vita, with Recipes & Lore, is the most ardent defender of that stance, and this book is equal parts recipes and case studies on how a drink like this can be so successful.
Regan begins the book by examining the origins of the Negroni, having grown out of early 20th century Italy through the alcoholic tendencies of a Cowboy Count from Florence. Regan builds up the mythology of this Count, describing his wily characteristics more than his actual history, knowing that it would imbue the drink he writes about with a certain mysticism. And then, you’d have to drink more of it.
But it works. Regan writes with such passion for the Negroni cocktail. As I’ve said many times, I’m much more of a Cosmo or Lemon Drop kind of girl, but the excited history he presents in this book makes the Negroni all the more alluring. I also want to give a shout out about the photography! The photos evoke a nostalgia for the roaring 20’s and contribute nicely to the vibe of the book. I love cookbooks with beautiful photos and these do not disappoint.
Now, about that Negroni… I have to admit, he’s right. It’s a damn good cocktail. Gin has never been my strong suit, but the sweetness of the vermouth and bitterness of the Campari is a delicious combination. I’m not sure it could ever become my go-to drink du jour, but it’s certainly something I’ll add to my repertoire!
The Classic Negronis – slight variations of the original
The New Negronis – a broader range of variations. Some recipes stray further from the original than others like the Pizza Negroni (it has tomato water and a mozzarella parmesan infused gin – not sure what I think about that!) The recipe I want to try next is the Negroni Fizz which has gin, Campari, grapefruit juice, rosemary simple syrup, club soda and a scoop of lemon sorbet! Now doesn’t that sound awesome?
The Large-Format Negronis – basically big batch cocktails, perfect for serving at parties.
The Edible Negronis – just a few recipes in this section (my personal favorite section of the book) from frozen treats to cheesecake to popcorn!
Aside from the classic Negroni, I made a couple of recipes from the edible Negroni section. The Negroni Popsicles and Negroni Ice Cream. No surprise…I love popsicles and ice cream! I have to say, the popsicles were delicious! Heavy on grapefruit flavor, which I loved. Refreshing and not too sweet. My only complaint would be they’re a bit delicate in that they melt really fast. Probably due to the larger ratio of alcohol used in the recipe.
The Negroni Ice Cream was fantastic. Instead of grapefruit flavor like the popsicles, the ice cream has orange juice and zest. You can taste the Negroni components in the ice cream but it’s still sweet, creamy and delicious. It’s a softer ice cream and melts quickly due to the amount of booze in it. I found myself sticking the spoon in the container for “just one more bite” more than I’d like to admit!
- 1 oz. gin
- 1 oz. sweet vermouth
- 1 oz. Campari
- 1 orange twist for garnish
- Stir all ingredients with ice in an old fashioned glass. Garnish with orange twist.
Disclosure: I received a complementary copy of this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.