Drink of the Week: The White Negroni

the White Negroni.I’m thinking that this weekend, in particular, you could use a drink and, of course, you’ve come to the right place. That will be particularly true if you’re looking for an interesting variation on an old favorite of ours, the Negroni. Now, the White Negroni is a drink that people have been making for quite some time, but the thing is, there are so many versions you can’t really say what it actually is. The basics are the same — some gin, some sweet type of vermouth and a more bittersweet aperitif — but the actual ingredients and proportions are so varied from recipe to to recipe that it seems like everyone who makes this drink has their own personal White Negroni. This will be mine, I suppose.

Most recipes use Suze, which I’ll have to try at some point, but I was recently gifted by a good friend with Salers, a really enjoyable, bittersweet white wine-based beverage that is sometimes used in White Negronis. It took more than a little experimentation to come up with my version, and I’m still not sure I hit it quite right, but I think this recipe should be fair to middling tolerable. See what you think. If not, well, there a bunch of other recipes online. One of them should be outstanding!

The White Negroni

1 1/2 ounces gin
1 ounce bianco vermouth
1/2 ounce Saler’s
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
1 lemon twist (desirable garnish)

Combine the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker or mixing glass. Shake or stir — I lean toward shaking, to counter a certain heaviness — and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add the lemon twist and contemplate the bittersweet nature of life. Let’s hope for more sweetness in the years ahead than some of us may be expecting.

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This drink took me several tries to get to a reasonable version, so I didn’t get to play around with brands as much as I’d like. I will say that some versions of this drink use Lillet Blanc, but the bottle I had on hand wasn’t playing so well with the other ingredients. It might have been opened too long.

Instead, I used the Bombay Dry Gin, Dolin’s delightful and lightly sweet bianco vermouth, and the Saler’s, an intriguing stand-in for Campari, which has a fascinating, bitter and earthy taste along with some pronounced sweetness. My dry vermouth was Noilly Pratt extra dry, which mellowed the whole thing out well enough.

I will say that, even as I was finishing writing this week’s post, I’ve been fretting about whether this recipe is really finished or not. Maybe I’ll get ahold of some Suze and give some of the other online recipes a try at some point. In any case, I suppose there are other things I could fret about. Or maybe, I’ll just take one more whack at making the best White Negroni I can.

  

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