CHILTERN FIREHOUSE NEGRONI
Although first created for Count Camillo Negroni in 1919, the classic negroni has reigned as one of the world's best and most frequently ordered cocktails for nearly a decade. A sophisticated yet simple concoction of equal parts gin, vermouth, and campari makes a bittersweet aperitif that follows a restaurant trend of introducing bitter foods such as dark chocolate, kale, and charred Brussels sprouts to the American dinner. If you like a bitter IPA, this is the grown up drink for you. How bitter the drink is has much to do with the smoothness of the gin. For the novice and anyone scared of ordering a gin-based cocktail, Plymouth gin is a bit sweeter and smoother than most (think earthy and less junipery). It offers a brilliant jumping off point to trying this ruby colored Italian gin-based sweetheart of a cocktail. The CHILTERN FIREHOUSE, a world class London restaurant and bar in the chic Marylebone neighborhood, uses Plymouth Gin and substitutes classic sweet vermouth with the pedigreed Carpano Antico red vermouth. Considered by most the finest vermouth in the world, this perfectly balanced aromatized fortified wine helps to create a near perfect negroni. If in LONDON, do wrangle a reservation and eat and drink at this 1889 fire station turned celebrity hang out complete with 1970's skin tight uniforms hugging aspiring model waitresses. If not across the pond any time soon, go ahead and see what the fuss is all about, mix this drink, clink your glasses, and stimulate your appetite. Cheers!
If possible, use slightly dehydrated orange slices (slice an orange as thin as possible into rings and then cut in half again to make semi circles. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet in a 140 to 150 degree F. oven for 2 hours). Blood oranges are a better size and the color is gorgeous. Make ICE CUBES ahead of time. The bigger the ice cube, the slower it melts. Forgo tiny ice cubes. For crystal clear ice cubes (makes no difference in taste but looks cooler), fill tray with nearly boiling filtered water and then freeze (the hot water makes the ice freeze slowly and helps create a clearer finished cube). For the best cocktail, glass must be chilled in advance.
1. Put ice in a BAR PITCHER.
2. Pour in the gin, vermouth, and Campari. Stir until very cold, about 30 seconds.
3. Strain the cocktail through a STRAINER into ice-filled chilled glasses.
4. Using a small serrated knife, remove two 1" strips of peel from the top of the orange (some white pith is okay). The strip should be stiff enough to provide some resistance when bent. Twist 1 strip over each GLASS to express oils and discard.
5. Garnish with 3 very thin orange slices (slightly dehydrated if possible).
3 ounces Plymouth gin
2 ounces Carpano Antica Formula vermouth
1.5 ounces Campari