It’s my birthday next month and I’ve decided to have a Negroni party, because of course I’ve decided to have a negroni party. Being me, rather than just serving Negroni’s, I’m serving bottle aged Negroni’s.
The Negroni is a fantastic drink with a lovely combination of bitter from the campari, sweet from the vermouth and depth from the gin. It’s also great for ageing as the different components oxidise at different rates meaning the flavour profile changes. After a month in a bottle it’s a much more mellow drink. It’s also a very easy drink to make, being equal parts of campari, gin and vermouth. Bottle ageing should be nice and simple. Buy. Mix. Return to bottle. One part gin. One part campari. One part vermouth.
Gin comes in a 70cl bottle. Campari comes in a 70cl bottle. Martini Rosso… comes in a litre bottle. 1:1:…oh. This means I can’t use a whole bottle of each and just return things too their original bottles. Doh!
Mojito cake to the rescue! I finished a bottle of rum while making the mojito cake. As well as two ‘regular’ bottle aged Negroni’s, I’ll have one rum bottle aged Negroni. It won’t taste any different, but it does look pretty cool.
But wait… There’s more… [Thank you Brian Cox… maybe I should have gone with a Steve Jobsian – ‘Oh – One more thing’]
This concept of aged Negroni’s can be take to extremes. A few years ago when I first heard about ageing cocktails – having had an Aged Manhattan at 69 Colebroke Row – I started playing around with the concept myself. I made, amongst other things, a bottled Negroni. In 2012. I put it at the back of my wardrobe and due to various stresses and turmoils, forgot about it until I moved house last August. This means I also have a FIVE YEAR OLD negroni for the party. This is far older than I’ve ever come across (or managed myself in the past!). They get better age and in theory last forever. With the exception of this one, I’ve never managed to keep one longer than six months. I am very intrigued to see what it’s like.
I believe Colebroke Row ‘cheat’ slightly with their ageing process these days. They have access to an amazing lab, and have found that vacu-packing and cooking in a water bath creates the same effect without having to have huge stocks of things sitting in a cellar for months the achieve the desired effect. Alas I am not allowed a lab at home (famous last words!) so can’t play around with these techniques. Either way – I have plenty of Negroni to look forward to!