Gather round friends for what I hope will become a regular item of interest here at Ricochet: the Friday Afternoon Cocktail, a perfect way to finish the week and enjoy the fruits of your labors and the vine. Consider the recommendations I have to offer as the mere shared knowledge of the interested amateur, and not the professional bartender, and I encourage you to share your own thoughts in the comments below.
Let's begin with a recommendation for what is, from my perspective, the perfect cocktail for late spring and early summer: the Negroni, a mix of Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth that is flexible and adjustable for your own tastes. A favorite of Orson Welles, Anthony Bourdain, and the fetching Elizabeth Banks, professional drinker Kingsley Amis termed it a "really fine invention - It has the power, rare with drinks and indeed with anything else, of cheering you up."
There are numerous spins on the Negroni - the standard is an equal measure of each ingredient on the rocks, plus a slice of orange or orange peel - but here is my favored approach. You can use just about any gin, but I would suggest using a more robust one, as opposed to the subtler versions, lest it be overwhelmed by the Campari. My own approach cuts back on that a bit with Aperol, which will make for a sweeter Negroni. Feel free to ignore that if you don't have a sweet tooth. Thus:
- 1 part Bluecoat gin
- 1 part Carpano Antica Vermouth
- .5 part Campari
- .5 part Aperol
Combine, with ice, in a mixing glass. Stir, strain into an old fashioned glass, garnish with an orange peel if available (but not required).