It’s Negroni Week again, that time each year when participating bars will donate a portion of the sale of each Negroni to charity. The Negroni – a perfectly balanced cocktail made of equal measures of gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari – is also a tremendously versatile drink, its recipe a template to explore other combinations, and is the perfect drink to open our theme for June, infusions! Meet the Strawberry Chocolate Negroni. – Andrew
Illustration by Shauna Lynn for Oh So Beautiful Paper
1 oz Strawberry-Peach Infused Gin
1 oz Dark Chocolate Infused Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Aperol
Combine the gin, vermouth, and Aperol in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a piece of orange peel. Enjoy!
Infusions are a fantastic way to new flavors and personalize your spirits. Alcohol is a strong solvent that draws flavor from pretty much anything you add to it, so infusing really is limited only by your imagination. And spring is the right time to infuse, since all sorts of wonderful fresh produce is suddenly in season. (If you’re serious about cocktails, you should seriously consider growing your own cocktail garden – it’s hard to beat fresh herbs or fruit from your own back yard infused into a cocktail.)
To make our infused gin, we combined diced strawberries and peaches with dry gin in a glass jar and let it sit for a week, shaking occasionally. Ideally, you want about two parts of infusing ingredient to each part of spirit, measured by weight. But that’s pretty fussy for us, so we just make sure that our infusing ingredient is completely submerged by the spirit. At the end of the week, we strained the gin through some cheesecloth and then used the cheesecloth to squeeze out every last drop.
To make our infused sweet vermouth, we combined two tablespoons of dark chocolate cocoa in a glass bottle with eight ounces of sweet vermouth and let it sit for about a week. Then we strained the mixture through a paper coffee filter, a slow process that demands a lot of patience.
So infusing is not for someone in a hurry for a drink. But the end result is worth it. Our infused gin has a subtly earthy fruitiness to it, while the sweet vermouth is dark and rich and savory. Combined with the Aperol – a gently bitter, orange flavored Italian amaro – gives you a Negroni that is layered with fruit, citrus, and chocolate, and silky smooth. Fantastic.
(Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, where we’ve been posting our experiments before they make their way onto this column!)
Glassware by Liquorary
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper