Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cheers: It's Global Negroni Week!

Barrel-aged Negroni photo via starchefs.com.

I was doubled over with excitement because of National Lobster Day until I found out that it is also Global Negroni Week.

This is serious business if you're like me and have a secret love affair with both gin and Campari.

A few sweet places where you should consider checking out the classic Italian aperitif:

They're known best for the 40-day aged steaks, but late last year David Burke's Primehouse decided to "age" a number of cocktails as well, including the Negroni.

The barrel-aging process consists of storing a large batch of the cocktail in oak barrels for a number of months, ranging from six weeks to a year. Its purpose is to improve the liquor over time, adding unmatched flavor, depth and character. Primehouse's Negroni is barrel aged for six months, using Bombay Sapphire gin, Campari and sweet vermouth. Bartenders simply pour three ounces of the mixture over rocks then serve with a freshly peeled orange twist.

They're also aging the Negroni at Premise, Andersonville's newest cocktail lounge. But since it's considered a special item on the menu, guests may only get it in the upper level "The Salon."

For the Negroni newcomer, a little tampering with the three key ingredients may be necessary to tame the bitterness of the cocktail. Upstairs in the sexy lounge at Le Colonial, novices should order a "naughty" Negroni that's topped with sparkling Moscato.

And the very gin-focused Logan Square bar Scofflaw has finally added a Negroni to its menu. This is likely one of the smoothest varieties you'll find with Death's Door Gin, Campari and Dolin Rouge—a lighter vermouth that's easier on the palate.

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