campari

Eventing: Negroni Week 2014

The Negroni; A drink that to be completely honest, I just couldn’t get into for the longest time. In all fairness, you go to 5 different bars and they might serve you that cocktail 5 different ways. My favorite “custom iteration” was always the shaken, no vermouth, cheap gin with muddled orange. Mmmm… if I could be sippin’ on that mutated horror this very second…

While I’m on the matter, can we all agree that Negronis served ‘up’ in a martini glass is kind of weird? Like “people that date their cousins” weird. “Oh, thank you for serving me a cocktail that will no doubt get real warm, real quickly cause I intended to sip this gingerly while I waited to ease my way into a night out with friends, but fuck it, I’m gonna be hammered now!”. Thank you, friend.

So what is Negroni week? It’s an event sponsored by Imbibe & Campari where a portion of every Negroni sold at a participating bar between June 2nd – 8th goes to charity. “Drinking For A Cause” is the name of the game.

As we all know, a “classic” Negroni is made with equal parts gin, Campari & sweet vermouth. Thats it. You just stir that stuff up and pour it in some ice with an orange peel and you got yourself a stew, baby. I never liked the original formula; Found it much too sweet. It wasn’t until I saw Jim Meehan (of PDTNYC fame) doing a 2 parts gin to 1 part sweet vermouth & Campari that I really started enjoying them. So much in fact, that it’s my go-to drink at any bar (with a lemon peel tho). Then I found this spin on the classic:

All photos courtesy of Lyudmila zotova (photographer extraordinaire) for Death to Sour Mix.

So have yourself a few classic Negronis this coming week, be it at home or at a participating bar if you want to feel good about yourself (careful you don’t feel “too good”) but then try this one on for size:

2 oz Junipero gin (Plymouth works wonders)
1 oz Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
3/4 oz Averna amaro
2 dashes Scrappy’s orange bitters

Pour into a mixing glass and stir.
Pour into a rocks glass w/ ice
Garnish with an orange peel.
[ Enjoy ]

Madrugal

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This drink came about when I remembered why I enjoy making cocktails in the first place.

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I was on some cocktail-making sabbatical for a while there. I got caught up with having to be all fancy with spirit types and trying out new techniques all to try and make the next big classic cocktail that everything I would come up with ended up tasting like shit. It stopped being fun and I recoiled into some weird stasis where I would get tiny panic attacks by looking at my bar and thinking “I NEED to make something amazing that everyone will love”. That’s unrealistic. You cant please everyone (you hear that, every girl I’ve ever dated!) and it isn’t about making something fancy, it’s about making something good.

Luckily, I’m surrounded by some talented people that pulled me out of that rut, simply by making drinks that tasted great but kept it simple. So I went back to basics and thought about why I even wanted to make this site to begin with (other than to find my biological parents #obvi) and it became clear that I make drinks for the people around me. That most people dont know about differences in amari or what makes one specific spirit better than another for a cocktail or why add 1 of 300 bitter types, etc. I want to make drinks that people enjoy, regardless of what goes in them. Because I know what I put in each and every one and it’s my pleasure to then pass along that knowledge. Through a website. Riddled with F-bombs and teenage angst.

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  • reposado tequila
  • campari
  • limes & lemons
  • grapefruit shrub
  • Owl’s Brew mixer

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This cocktail uses “sour mix”. Not that shitty stuff that my site takes it name after but fresh, carefully swaddled, flavorful goodness. Since I went back to basics this week, I figured I’d start there. By making my version of a sour (inspired by a margarita since that’s where I see the most lethal use of sour mix) with the lovely pre-crafted shrub but you get extra points if you make your own shrub. Even more-so if you send me some.

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What’s cool about this drink is that its really just a sour, so you can swap out the spirit and the modifier for basically anything and you’d end up with a great tasting drink; As long as you’re not using an Everclear & peach schnapps combo. Please dont. You’re better than that.

Reposado was the way to go here since that extra bit of aging makes for a smoother experience.

2 oz reposado tequila [ Espolón ]
3/4 oz Campari
1 oz Owl's Brew Coco-Lada artisanal mixer
3/4 oz Death to Sour Mix*

*hehe. 2 parts fresh lemon juice, 2 parts fresh lime juice, 2.25 parts grapefruit shrub [ Liber & Co ]. Pour all into a bottle and shake it up each time before use. keep refrigerated for a few days if needed. 
Pro tip: Make it the day you want to use it and try not to make more than what you'd want to use.

Pour all of the above into a shaker.
Add ice and sing it a song.
Double strain into a chilled glass and garnish with an orange peel to play off the Campari.

[ Enjoy ]

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I first learned of Owl’s Brew (who were not involved in the making of this post) thanks to Stir and Strain, via Honetlyyum‘s  site (what?). I’ll admit, that bottle had me at hello. I’ll be making other cocktails with this stuff in the future. This specific one has some pineapple & black tea (among other tasty stuff) which work wonders with the Campari & citrus of the drink.

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Red Queen

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I’m a sucker for all things Alice in Wonderland…

So this drink was meant to go in last week’s regularly scheduled programming buuuuut I was trying to prove to myself (and my dad) that I can build shit. Like for REAL build things, not just a 5 piece table from Ikea. Well kids, turns out I cant. I was trying to build a set of soft boxes for lighting and I’m pretty sure that starting off by using an old wet box from Crate & Barrel as the base for it was ill advised (in retrospect). I’ll keep trying (doubtful) but given that I have the attention span of a chipmunk (I don’t even know what that means), I’m all but certain I’ll be day drinking to accommodate my photography for
the time being.

This week’s drink is all booze. Now before you get all excited, it’s not very strong -insert sad trombone here-. Made it a couple weeks back when mixing a drink called ‘Elixir No.1′ from The American Cocktail by the folks from Imbibe magazine. I’m sure that drink would have been great (?) but since I didn’t have all the ingredients for it, I started to throw some random shit in there until I ended up with a mutated (but highly “drinkable”) version that I liked a lot. So who likes “drinks that don’t make you immediately have to calculate how many sips of them you can have before getting sloppy”?! I DO.

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B&B
Campari
Dry Vermouth
Velvet Falernum
Bitters

I bought a bottle of B&B thinking it was the same as regular ‘ol Benedictine and boy was I wrong. So I’ve been trying to find new and exciting ways to use this stuff. This being one of them. If you have the OG Benedictine, I’d advise against the Falernum  [amp it up to 1 oz each] since that stuff is pretty sweet too.

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3/4 oz B&B  [ Benedictine & Brandy ]
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth  [ Dolin Dry ]
3/4 oz Campari  [ er…Campari ]
3/4 oz Velvet Falernum  [ John D. Taylor’s ]
Dash of Peychaud’s
10 drops of Abbot’s  [ Bob’s ]

Stir them in your favorite glass candle holder that you use as a mixing glass when nobody’s watching.
Strain into a chilled martini glass.
Take an orange peel and press the oils over the drink, then discard it [let it go. It’s OK]
Garnish with some cherries.

[ Enjoy ]

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