A Vintage Negroni
A post written while listening to The Veronicas.
Drinking a cocktail from another era, treasure bottles offer a journey to explore a version of your favorite cocktail you didn't know existed.
1oz Gin, I typically use Beefeater or Sutlers (made in Winston-Salem)
1oz Campari, in this case a bottle from the 1990's made with Cochineal
1oz Sweet Vermouth, I use either Dolin or Punt E Mes
Pour all ingredients in a mixing glass w. ice, stir 25 times in each direction and strain into a rocks glass w. a single large ice cube, garnish with an orange peel.
I didn't think I'd start my cocktail page off with an extremely special rare bird of a cocktail but here we go.
Also, Recipes first! I'm sure I'll repeat myself ad nauseum but its a pet peeve of mine to have to read through some ridiculous story just to get the recipe. So recipes first, stories second.
My love affair with Campari started when I took a job with an Italian company. In my quest to assimilate I grabbed the first thing I thought of when it came to Italian spirits, Campari. At the time I had been years into a serious tequila addiction searching out rare and "out of print" tequilas that had been languishing on liquor store shelves throughout the southeast. Unlike the bourbon boom, no one is buying old bottles of tequila.
I left the interview (nailed it btw) knowing I had the gig, I stopped into a liquor store in S. Carolina to grab a celebratory bottle of hopefully rare tequila. Unfortunately for my tequila selection I had no such luck, but there were dusty bottles of Campari, including the one you see above. Judging from the label details we would put this bottle around 1997. The story I like to tell myself is this bottle was ordered by a distributor to get his quota in a store that didn't care to manage their own inventory where it sat waiting for my brush with destiny, knowing I nailed a job interview, knowing I would connect with a group of Italians that are still close friends, channelling my mom's side of the family coming across the ocean in the early 1900's and settling in Rhode Island, and kickstarting a love for deep red, bracingly bitter spirits that are both just enough boozy and sweet to make them instant timeless classics.
While that job has since passed, the experience will always be with me, even as the last pour of Campari gets mixed with gin and vermouth for one last glorious tipple.