It’s Negroni Week once again, with local bars offering up their twists on this classic cocktail through June 7, and a portion of the proceeds from each cocktail sale donated to a local charity.
Switch out the gin and stir in tequila for a fun twist on a classic Negroni.
Participating Calgary restaurants include Anju (donating to Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation), Black Betty Burger & Winebar (Oneball), Milk Tiger Lounge (Canadian Mental Health Association), Ox and Angela (AARCs), Proof Cocktail Bar (Calgary Drop in Center), Raw Bar by Duncan Ly (Meal Share), The Living Room (The Nathan O’Brian Foundation) and Township 24 bar & Grill (Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation). What’s more, Campari will donate $10,000 to the charity chosen by the establishment that raises the most money.
The cool thing about a Negroni, beyond the ruby colour, is the fact you can switch out the gin and end up with a delicious twist. Make it with whisky and it’s a Boulevardier. Stir in tequila and it’s a Tequila Negroni, also called a Tegroni or Agavoni. Since I wrote up the original last year, I decided to try my luck with blanco tequila this year and see how I liked it.
(Bitter Campari face) Yum! (Pucker) I still think this drink is an acquired taste, no matter what spirit you use. But here are some tips: Squeeze in a bit of fresh, sweet orange juice to soften it, and pack your glass with ice so the bitterness will gradually lessen as you sip the drink. In fact, I think I like it with tequila more than gin, as the Campari needs something stronger to stand up to it. Cheers!
- 1 oz blanco tequila (I used Casamigos)
- 1 oz sweet vermouth such as Carpano Antica
- 1 oz Campari
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- Squeeze fresh orange juice (optional)
- Garnish: Orange wheel
Method: Into a rocks glass packed with ice add all ingredients. Stir about 30 times to chill, and garnish with an orange wheel.
It’s true the Negroni is an acquired taste. At first sip many react with bitter beer face; that is to say, they scrunch up their noses and pucker their lips and wonder what exactly they’re supposed to love about a drink with equal parts gin, vermouth and Campari (an orange-flavoured, bitter Italian aperitif). Let the ice melt a bit and have another sip. You may not be won over immediately, but the longer you entertain its bittersweet taste, the more you will like it. Trust me on this.
Try one of Cilantro’s six twists on the Negroni during Negroni Week, on through June 8. Image courtesy Cilantro, a Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts restaurant.
Whether or not you like them, you’re kind of obligated to try one this weekend because it’s Negroni Week through June 8. If traditional Negronis aren’t your thing, head over to Cilantro and check our their Negroni menu. Bartender Dominik Aschauer has created six twists on the classic drink. There’s his award-winning Cynar Flip, with Cynar Bitter, cardamom tonic and a rich egg custard, or sip on the Di Dieri, a champagne cocktail with hints of Campari and vermouth. Even the almost-classic Count Negroni (see recipe) strays from the traditional concoction with the addition of a single juniper berry and a dash of orange bitters. In the words of the menu, “Classic cocktails are so 2009.”
As part of Negroni Week, Cilantro is donating $1 to the Mustard Seed for every Negroni sold. If you still can’t get your head around the Negroni and its bitter brethren, suck it up and swallow it down. It’s for a good cause!
- 1 oz New Deal Gin
- 1 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth
- 1 oz Campari Bitter
- 1 Juniper Berry
- Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
Method: Crack juniper berry into a mixing glass. Add other ingredients with ice into mixing glass and stir until chilled (approximately 30 seconds). Strain into rocks glass with large ice cube. Garnish with a flamed orange peel over the cocktail, rim glass and toss in orange peel.
— Recipe courtesy Cilantro