5 ways to pimp your Negroni

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Words: Matt Looker

With Negroni Week upon us (5-11th June), it's time to celebrate another classic cocktail, and this time it's all for a good cause!

Presented by Imbibe Magazine and Campari, Negroni Week is an event in which participating Negroni-mixing bars and venues around the world donate to their favoured charities. 

You can visit negroniweek.com to find out more and discover which of your local drinking establishments are taking part.

In the meantime, if you fancy enjoying a Negroni at home, or are just out to impress friends, here are some ways to have some fun with the ingredients.

Note: Purists will insist that a Negroni is - by definition - one part gin, one part sweet vermouth and one part Campari, and that any deviation from this formula just simply isn't a Negroni. Luckily, those people are unlikely to raise any objections during this week when we are all celebrating in the name of charity...

Cranberry Negroni - Cocktail Chap

Image: © Cocktail Chap 

Try some stronger-flavoured gin

No matter what anyone says, the finer botanical flavours of any gin will largely be lost when battling it out with the powerful bitterness of Campari and super-sweetness of the vermouth.

But switching out the gin for a flavour infusion, you can add an extra complexity to the overall drink. In the picture above, I used a cranberry-infused gin for a more fruity flavour.

Amber Negroni - Cocktail Chap

Image: © Cocktail Chap

Experiment with different Amaro and Vermouths

This is a no-brainer, but of course you can swap out Campari for any number of Amaro for different results, and there's an abundance of rich, complex bitter liqueurs to choose from. Among some of the more popular are Amaro Montenegro and Fernet Branca, or there's always the readily available Aperol to try instead.

In addition, Noilly Prat has a unique 'ambre' vermouth, a mid-point between the usual dry and sweet versions, which makes for a more mellow flavour in a Negroni, with hints of vanilla and cinnamon.

Image: © Cocktail Chap

Try a different base spirit altogether

Ok, now we’re in really dangerous 'not a Negroni' territory, so let’s call this a suggestion for 'Negroni-inspired' cocktails. Those that want a different kind of drink altogether, though, can swap out the gin for vodka (Negroski), or bourbon (Boulevardier) or even lager (for a Peroni Negroni).

Or, if you want to celebrate with style, the picture above shows a Negroni Sbagliato, which swaps the gin for prosecco. The translation? "Wrong Negroni”.

Image: © Cocktail Chap

Go bold with colour

Using different ingredients can change up the rich sunburnt hue of a Negroni with varying degrees of lightness or darkness, but there’s always the option of aiming for the complete polar opposite end of the spectrum.

This White Negroni swaps out the sweet vermouth for Lillet Blanc and the Campari for Suze with the result looking like a negative transfer of the original Negroni.

Image: © Cocktail Chap

Or get inspired to make a completely different cocktail...

Why not take a Negroni and use the whole drink for the basis of another cocktail? In an inception-like, drink-within-a-drink stroke of genius, Mean London Gin made this Negroni Sour one of its signature serves. And the result is a deliciously tasty take on the bitter classic.

Shake 25ml each of gin, Campari and sweet vermouth along with 35ml of lemon juice, 20ml of sugar syrup and egg white, for this lighter, frothier sour counterpart cocktail.

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