If you know us, you know that we love the deliciously bitter and complex flavor that is Campari, the signature ingredient in the Negroni. It is a rather bitter and sweet concoction that brings smiles to some and grimaces to others, thanks to its somewhat acquired taste.
There is a little disagreement about where the classic Negroni cocktail actually came from. Lucca Picchi, the head bartender at Caffe Rivoire in Florence, Italy wrote in his book Sulle Tracce del Conte: La Vera Storia del Cocktail Negroni that when Count Camillo Negroni ordered an Americano (which is sweet vermouth, Campari and club soda), but wanted something with a little more flavor because the Ameircano was not 'strong' enough. The new drink swapped out the soda with gin and according to Picchi, the "Negroni" was born.
Tracing the history of Count Camillo Negroni as the origin of the drink is fuzzy because some argue that General Pascal Oliver Comte de Negroni was the originator of the drink (in the now classic ratio of 1/3 Gin 1/3 Vermouth, 1/3 Campari) and was said to have ordered it at the military officer's club of St. Augustine in Paris...but we're digressing...
While the fabulous Negroni is an all time favorite of ours, sometimes we want something a little lighter but still complex in flavor. Enter The Very Unusual Negroni, which uses Campari's milder cousin Aperol for the bitter-sweet flavoring. Aperol has a similar bitter flavor but it is milder and balanced by a sweet orange and herbal flavor (a key ingredient in one of the all time best brunch drinks, the Aperol Spritz).
The Very Unusual Negroni has a simple recipe and stars another liqueur we like a lot, Lillet Blanc and it produces a refreshing twist on the old classic.
1.5 oz Oxley Gin (or other juniper-forward gin)
1.5 oz Lillet Blanc
Aperol Ice Ball (see instructions below, but you'll need ¾ oz. Aperol, 4.5 oz. San Pellegrino “Aranciata Rossa” sparkling Blood Orange Soda, and filtered water)
Rolled lemon peel garnish
To Make Aperol Ice Ball:
Add ¾ ounce of Aperol to your Whiskey Ice Co Ice Mold, add 4.5 ounces of filtered water and fill to the top of the logo with Blood Orange San Pellegrino Soda. Stir gently to combine and freeze solid and then form an ice ball using your Whiskey Ice Co. Spherical Ice Ball Maker, but save a few tablespoons of the melt from the ice ball formation for the cocktail (tip: you can actually re-freeze the melted ice and create another ice ball).
Assembling the Drink:
Add gin and Lillet to a cocktail mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled. Place your Aperol ice ball in the Martini glass and strain the cocktail into the glass, pouring over the ice ball. As the ice ball slowly melts, the Aperol and blood orange is slowly released and the flavors blend. If you find the gin flavor strong at first, you can optionally add one to two tablespoons of the melt form the ice ball maker to the cocktail right away, to kick start the Aperol and blood orange goodness.
Always remember to enjoy responsibly.