Loving Negroni

Matt Hranek sips a Negroni. PHOTO: `CLARA HRANEK
Matt Hranek sips a Negroni. PHOTO: `CLARA HRANEK
Author Matt Hranek shows his love for the classic Italian cocktail, the Negroni, in a book dedicated to it.

This is an excerpt from The Negroni: A Love Affair with a Classic Cocktail by Matt Hranek ...
This is an excerpt from The Negroni: A Love Affair with a Classic Cocktail by Matt Hranek (Artisan Books). Photographs by Matt Hranek. Distributed by www.bookreps.co.nz

The cocktail was born sometime in the early 1900s when, according to legend, Count Camillo Negroni was drinking in Florence.

He asked his bartender to stiffen an Americano (sweet vermouth, Campari, soda) by replacing the soda water with gin.

The Count was on to something that day, and the Negroni has remained a respected stalwart of good drinking ever since.

The book dives into that story and also covers the cocktail's essential components: gin, sweet vermouth, Campari and an orange slice garnish.

The Negroni Bianco Dante

New York City

Dante’s version is one of the only acceptable exceptions to my ‘‘no Negroni Bianco’’ rule. It keeps the standard level of bitterness, but has an intriguing herbaceousness that I haven’t found elsewhere.

Alessio Bianco is a clear Italian sweet vermouth (not to be confused with dry white French vermouths), and Carpano Dry is a spicy, herby, relatively new vermouth with noticeable hints of wormwood.

The combination of the two is so interesting that I don’t miss the red vermouth here at all, or even the Campari.

Other notable ingredients include Brooklyn gin, a hometown spirit flavored with fresh citrus peels and hand-cracked juniper, and quinquina, a bright, slightly bitter French aperitif named for cinchona, the bark originally used in quinine.

The optional baby’s breath  (gypsophila) garnish is admittedly unusual, but Dante includes it for the floral, grassy notes it delivers to the finish.

Twist of lemon
30ml Brooklyn gin
15ml Alessio Bianco vermouth
15ml Carpano Dry vermouth
30ml quinquina aperitif
2 dashes lemon bitters
Dash of verjus
Sprig of baby’s breath (optional)


Rub the rim of a Nick & Nora glass with the lemon twist; discard it.

Combine the gin, both vermouths, quinquina, bitters, and verjus in a mixing glass filled with ice.

Stir and strain into the glass.

Garnish with the baby’s breath, if you like.


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