Earlier this year I wrote about the precursor to the Negroni, the Americano, a cocktail with Campari, sweet vermouth, and club soda. I had originally intended to follow up that post with the Negroni but got distracted for about six months… So, here we are today with this classic cocktail. Simple, delicious, with a flavor profile anyone would love. Unless, you’re not a fan of herbal or bitter liquors… If that’s the case you should probably ignore any cocktail with Campari in it. I really think the Negroni is delicious though. It’s a delightful digestif.
1 oz. gin
1 oz. Campari
1 oz sweet vermouth
In an old fashioned glass half full of ice pour ingredients. Stir. Garnish with orange peel.
I don’t know what I can add to the gallons of ink that has already been spilled in discussion of the Negroni. You don’t get labelled a classic for nothing. Smooth with a touch of bitterness at the end, this drink goes down easy. Though you don’t want to rush this one. Relax. Take your time. Enjoy the drink. Enjoy the moment. This too shall pass and there is nothing to guarantee that the future won’t be as delightful as this moment is.
With the relationship between the United States of America and Cuba finally beginning to thaw after 55 years I thought it might be appropriate to visit one of the most popular cocktails of all time, though it’s rarely called by it’s actual name these days, the Cuba Libré or rum and coke.
The Cuba Libré’s history, like most cocktail histories, is a bit murky but most agree that the drink was birthed in Havana sometime after the Spanish-American War (which ended in 1898.) The original cocktail calls for fresh lime juice and angostura bitters; some recipes even call for adding gin. The rum and coke has become the most pedestrian of cocktails made with little gusto and drank with even less. I encourage you to try the original some time.
1/2 to 1 lime
2 ounces rum, preferably dark
1/2 ounce gin (optional)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Squeeze the lime into a Collins glass, then drop the spent lime half into the glass. Add two to four ice cubes. Pour in rum (and gin if using.) Fill glass with Coke, add bitters, and give two stirs to incorporate everything.
I’ve always appreciated a good rum and coke. The actual cocktail is even better, the bitters help tame the sweetness of the Coke and rum goes good with everything. I sat on the porch listening to the Beach Boys and drinking this cocktail wishing that the weekend wasn’t over and I wasn’t landlocked…
I follow a cocktail maker on Tumblr, named DrinkShouts, they often show cocktails that look amazing. I’ve often wanted to make them but they usually require liquors that I don’t have and aren’t willing to purchase. They recently promoted the Bee’s Knees, a cocktail that dates back to Prohibition times. It is believed that the inclusion of lemon and honey was in order to mask the taste of bathtub gin. That might be the case, but it’s a delicious cocktail even with good gin.
2 oz. Gin
3/4 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
.3/4 oz. Honey Syrup
Combine ingredients in a shaker full of ice. Shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe, if you have one. I don’t so I used a margarita glass. No garnish, or a lemon twist.
The Bee’s Knees has a nice smooth honey flavor with a hint of sour. Depending on the type of gin you use there’ll be a hint of juniper as it goes down. The honey syrup is delicious and I think I’m going to try using it in other cocktails that call for simple syrup. It has a distinctly honey taste to it, one I found quite appealing.
I know it’s moving into Autumn, and for a few days it even felt like that here in Northern California but now? Now, it seems were back at the tail end of summer. Blue skies, warm or even hot days… With an Indian Summer in full effect, I decided to make another summer cocktail, a White Linen. This is a deliciously refreshing cocktail that was born right here in “Norcal” at the Shady Lady bar in Sacramento (or Ella’s they share a bartender.)
1 1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz simple syrup
1 oz lemon juice
5 or 6 thin English cucumber slices
Combine everything with ice in a shaker and shake well. Strain into glass with ice, top with soda water, and garnish with a cucumber slice.
If you like cucumbers, and gin, you’re going to like this cocktail. If you happen to be in the midst of an unusually mild winter or preternaturally long summer you can’t go wrong with a White Linen. The hint of fresh cucumber, the sweetness of elder flower. A lovely cocktail.