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Why the Negroni is Second to None When Compared to Other Gin Cocktails

Photo courtesy of Pernod Ricard USA

Negroni Week runs June 2nd-8th in restaurants and bars throughout San Francisco, and around the world.

Desmond Payne, Beefeater Gin’s Master Distiller, is the world’s most experienced gin distiller. He has over 45 years under his belt so it’s safe to say, he is the authority on all things gin. A seasoned gin drinker and a true English gentleman, Desmond usually takes his gin with a splash of water, but if you ask him what his favorite gin cocktail is, he will undoubtedly answer with “a proper Beefeater Negroni.”

Desmond is known to have an affinity for cocktails that “don’t mess with his gin.” He firmly believes that in every good gin cocktail, the gin needs to be able to make a suitable contribution and stand up to the other ingredients in the glass rather than be masked by overwhelming flavors. In a negroni, he says, “the relationship between the gin, Campari and sweet vermouth forms a marriage that really works.”

The Negroni has a famed history that dates all the way back to the 1920’s. It was reportedly invented in Italy when Count Cammillo Luigi Manfredo Maria Negroni asked his bartender, Fosco Scarselli, spice up his regular Americano cocktail (usually made of Campari, sweet vermouth, and club soda) with some gin. Senor Scarselli obliged and alas the Negroni was born.

Desmond’s first experience with a Negroni was at the Duke’s Hotel in London many moons ago and he’s been drinking them ever since. He used to exclusively call for Beefeater London Dry as the special touch in his Negronis but recently been has been making them with Beefeater 24. This is a new gin Desmond created on his own a few years back that uses tea and grapefruit as botanicals. The end result with the Beefeater 24 Negroni is a lovely, floral and refreshing cocktail.  His recommended recipes can be found below

You can find Desmond drinking Negronis all year long, but he particularly likes to enjoy them in summer because he likes it when the giant ice cube that “must” accompany the drink “bops him on the nose” when he’s through. Happy Negroni Week!

Classic Negroni

1 Part Beefeater London Dry Gin

1 Part Campari

1 Part Sweet Vermouth

Add all ingrients to an Old Fashioned glass and fill with ice; stir to combine, twist an orange peel over the drink and use as a garnish.

Salted Negroni

1 Part Beefeater 24 Gin

1 Part Sweet Vermouth

¾ Part Campari

Pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients and stir with ice. Strain over a large ice cube and garnish with a grapefruit twist.