Ask any bartender what their favorite cocktail is and a good guesstimated 90% shall say either one of two things; the Negroni or Old Fashioned.
Guest Author: Jolien Hackett (Bartender, Head of bar in the house of 1o1 and Newman)
There are many well written cocktail formulas that deserve the ultimate respect
Yet mixologists respect the idea of simplicity with maximum effect the most. The beauty that the Negroni embodies is the magic of perfectly balancing the sweet spot of its equal proportion of ingredients. It is literally the holy trinity. One third gin, one third Vermouth, one third, and most legendary, Campari. An absolute palate poetry. A poem that serenades every taste bud into play.
The botanical bite of the gin, followed by the sweet symphony of vermouth, and concluded by the bitter notes of Campari, that every barkeeper loves. Yet the fun doesn’t end here, the ingredient twists are limitless. The rules allow the ingredients to formulate a flavoral democracy, and invites experimentation in which bartenders can switch up the gin and vermouth brands, or even cancel out and substitute the spirits completely.
This is where my obsession begins
With this perfected symmetry that enables the architect to redesign a work of art, and so basically lays the path for a mixologist to have fun. I was given the honor to write the Negroni cocktail menu for ‘Newman’ in 1010 Vienna. Newman is a charming restaurant that is part of the 1o1 Concept. Newman is an absolute charm in its own right. The concept is Negroni and Schnitzel, presented in an Italo/French Chic flair.
Creating the Negroni concept for Newman was a project I thoroughly enjoyed. Before this project, the Negroni was for me what it was, a perfect cocktail. Yet the world and history of Negroni holds so much more. Here the obsession begins. I educated myself to understand: starting from its history, right through to taste mapping. This allowed me to try to go beyond the obvious, and break apart various spirit combination possibilities: and so wrote seventeen Negroni variations; tasting and matching spirit brands accordingly.
The ‘Clarified Chocolate Negroni’
Five Negroni variations were chosen for the official menu, four of which were the well respected classics, such as, the Newman House Negroni, White Negroni, Tegroni and Boulevardier. My personal heart and soul was my Signature Negroni: the ‘Clarified Chocolate Negroni’. An almond milk punch Negroni variation, with notes of chocolate, chai tea and black pepper.
Seasonal negronis were also part of the creative fun. The ‘Summer Negroni’: a playful variation of the White Negroni, with tasting notes of vanilla, honey and jasmin/green tea, milk punched with cashew milk. Or in October, the ‘Ghost Negroni’, a clear negroni made with St. Germain, Chin Chin Gin and Noilly Prat.
The Negroni is literally a fundamental cocktail recipe that shows balance, performs to its highest potential, and has ground to play with. Campari must be stressed in this creation. Without Campari, in the classic Negroni, it would not be what it is. Campari gave the Negroni not only the unique and individual taste, but also created a cult. The Negroni is a very personal drink nevertheless, the foundations shall never change. Making it henceforth, a legend in its own right.