Drink of the Week: The Cold Brew Negroni

The Cold Brew Negroni.Long before my serious cocktailing days, boozy drinks that featured coffee were a go-to for this caffeine addict. Then and now, I’ve found the effect both invigorating and relaxing and, let me tell you, drinks that are insults to the good name of Irish Coffee have gotten me through a great many long night/morning at the craps table.

So, when shadowy forces who, as far as I can tell, are either in the employ of Big Coffee or Big Italian Digestif, sent me today’s drink, a clever and direct twist on a true cocktail classic, I decided to break my rule against home-made infusions. Today’s selection sounded just good enough, and just simple enough, to make it a worthy DOTW. Let’s see what you think.

The Cold Brew Negroni

1 ounce cold-brew coffee infused Campari (see below)
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 ounce gin
1 orange slice (desirable garnish)

Put a substantial amount of coffee grounds — there doesn’t seem to be any really hard and fast measurement here, but I’d say several tablespoons — in a jar or some other container along with a few ounces of Campari. If you’re in a hurry, you can steep for as little as 10-30 minutes, but I had better results when I let it sit over night. Next, strain it with an ordinary coffee filter; it’s probably easier if you have a Melita type filter around, but I’m sure you can improvise with the non-electrical portions of your Mr. Coffee-type system.

The rest is easy. Combine the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker or mixing glass. Add plenty of ice and, depending on your preference, stir or shake. Next, strain into an Old Fashioned/rocks glass filled with fresh ice and, ideally, an orange slice. (The picture above appears to have a lemon twist, which I didn’t think to try.) Maybe give it one or two more good stirs and prepare for something just a little bit different and very good.


It took me awhile but, not surprisingly, given my love of coffee, I really like the Cold Brew Negroni. I will note that the original recipe calls strictly for stirring this drink, not shaking. I disagree. It’s a very rich and sweet concoction, and adding a bit more coldness and dilution helps make the Cold Brew Negroni less overwhelming and more refreshing. If you insist on stirring, it might make sense to use crushed or cracked ice.

I should add that combining Campari, a bittersweet liqueur, with coffee is an interesting move in terms of both flavor and effect, as the coffee adds additional bittersweet flavors. The result is a Negroni that has more of a chocolate-like undercurrent. The impact was bolstered somewhat by using Carpano Antica, which has more of a chocolatey undercurrent, but Noily Pratt worked almost as well.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to vary my gins and had to stick with my current default, Tanqueray. Still, this is not a gin forward drink, though it might also be fun to mess around with the classic Negroni formula and boost the gin proportion. Next time.