|The Hampden Negroni (yeah yeah, I did this one over ice)|
Next week (June 2-8, 2014) is National Negroni Week, but being impatient, I’m sharing my favorite Negroni variation now. The Negroni is a very common and simple cocktail pattern, but one that offers a near infinite variety of combinations of ingredients that sing together. To quickly recap:
- 1 part base spirit (gin, whiskey, rum, tequila, etc…)
- 1 part sweet vermouth
- 1 part bitter liqueur
I enjoy nearly all distilled spirits, but rum in particular. Unsurprisingly then, my Negroni experiments usually start with a base of rum rather than gin. One day I came across a recipe online that called to me – The Kingston Negroni. It uses Smith & Cross rum, a Jamaican rum with high amounts of “funk”, technically called esters, but we’re being informal here. Smith and Cross has bold, fruity flavors that I savor. However, the Campari that the Kingston Negroni recipe calls for is also bold, and to my palate masks some of the Smith and Cross goodness.
What to do? In these situations I experiment with alternate spirits and ratios. My go-to Campari replacement in many recipes is GranClassico from Switzerland. In terms of overall intensity I find Gran Classico to be equal to Campari, however the flavors of Gran Classico are spread out over more notes. As for ingredient ratios, I deviated from the common 1:1:1, choosing instead to use 6:4:3, which Smith and Cross in the lead position, and the vermouth dialed down to reduce the overall sweetness. Made this way, it’s my go-to “happy drink” after a long day, and many of my friends have come to feel the same way.
While I’ve informally called this “My Kingston Negroni” to friends, I realized my recipe needed a unique name to distinguish itself from the somewhat established standard Kingston Negroni. I’ve dubbed my variation the Hampden Negroni, honoring the Hampden Estates Distillery from which Smith and Cross originates.
- 1.5 oz Smith and Cross
- 1 oz Gran Classico
- .75 oz Carpano Antica Formula, or other red sweet vermouth