Let’s call it like it is: The Negroni is a perfect cocktail.
Truly greater than the sum of its parts, this classic cocktail is made with only three ingredients, all in equal parts: gin, bitter Italian aperitif, and sweet vermouth.
As the story goes, in 1919, Count Camillo Negroni, already a fan of the Americano cocktail (Campari, sweet vermouth and soda water), asked the barman, the renowned Forsco Scarselli of Florence’s Caffè Casoni, for something forte—”stronger.” The count suggested the barman switch out the soda water for gin. And the rest is history.
Some of the other gins in the marketplace contain a higher concentration of flowery botanicals, which can be an overpowering ingredient and might throw a cocktail out of balance.
But using Tanqueray — a classic and crisp London Dry style that harkens back to the 1830s — adds nuanced notes of juniper and pine with the sweet vermouth and bitterness from the aperitif. The versatility of Tanqueray acts as a complement to other flavors. You can infuse it with your favorite herbs or seasonal fruit or interchange the bitter or sweet components to tweak the flavor.
The Negroni is perfect for all seasons, but especially for a chilly fall day when you’re in need of some fortification from the cold.
If you’re looking for some Negroni riffs to add to your arsenal, these three autumnal recipes are great tweaks on the classic drink that swap out different components to create entirely new flavors of bitter and sweet.
The Alpine Negroni is a drink best enjoyed in a forest. While we’re mostly kidding, this Negroni riff will remind you of mountains and trees and snowy Christmas mornings.
The one ounce of bitter aperitif is swapped out for two spirits, split in this case with two amari, specifically a piney-flavored bitter liqueur and a rhubarb-based liqueur that is a bit sweeter, rounder and more citrus than other well-known bitter Italian aperitifs.
On its own, pine-flavored amaro might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but when used in a judicious amount it bonds with the juniper and pine notes of Tanqueray to make a delicious, arboraceous cocktail. Drink this on its own as an aperitif or pair with a main meal of smoky grilled meats like lamb, steak, or herb-roasted chicken.
0.5 ounce Tanqueray London Dry
0.4 ounce sweet vermouth
0.25 ounce pine-flavored amaro
0.25 ounce rhubarb-based amaro
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Top with ice and stir for 15 seconds or so. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass with cracked ice or, even better, a large cube. Finish the drink by taking a twist of orange peel, expressing the oils over the glass. Drop in the peel and enjoy.
This cocktail is named as such because it’s close to a white Negroni, but isn’t quite all the way there. The White Negroni is a relatively new gin riff created in the early 2000s using all-clear and all-French ingredients and dry vermouth.
For this drink you’ll be using Tanqueray Rangpur, a new gin to Tanqueray’s selection as of the early 2000s. Distilled using Tanqueray’s signature botanicals of juniper, coriander, angelica root, and licorice, they take it a step further with another distillation of exotic Indian Rangpur limes (which, ironically, more visually resemble an orange), ginger, and bay leaves.
The other ingredients are a split base of vermouth. In this case: half of dry vermouth and half of blanc vermouth, which is more floral than its counterpart and has some residual sugar added for sweetness.
And last but not least is the smoky, bitter component that completes the cocktail and turns everything, well, off-white — amaro with a Chinese rhubarb base.
0.5 oz. Tanqueray Rangpur
0.25 oz. dry vermouth
0.25 oz. blanc vermouth
0.5 oz. Chinese rhubarb amaro
Measure all ingredients and add to a mixing glass. Top with ice and stir for 15 seconds or so. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass with cracked ice or, even better, a large cube. Finish and garnish the drink with a flamed grapefruit peel.
To flame your peel: Light a match (waiting a moment for the sulfur to burn off), heat the peel, then express over the flame for added smokiness.
Because of the bitter, sweet, and grapefruit citrus flavors, this is a perfect dessert cocktail. Pair with a grapefruit tart or citrus galette.
Super Cool Runnings
Fall is nothing if not filled with scents of baking spice, apple pies aplenty, and pumpkin spice lattes. PSLs certainly have their time and place, but if you’re looking for something much stronger, we’d opt for this cocktail.
Infusing Tanqueray with a spice like cinnamon complements and harmonizes with the botanicals it’s distilled with, like coriander and licorice root. Putting a small quantity of Jamaican rum into the mix adds a bit of funk to the party and gives the cocktail some ripe banana and vegetal notes.
Finally, the aperitif, in addition to the vial of chocolate bitters and pinch of salt, adds a chocolaty, bitter, saline depth of flavor that makes this a great before-dinner, after-dinner, or dessert cocktail.
To make cinnamon gin:
Lightly toast 2-3 cinnamon sticks in a pan over medium heat until fragrant. Carefully break and add them to a quart of Tanqueray in a plastic container or thoroughly cleaned and sterilized jar. Let this sit for a couple days, taste and assess. Remove the cinnamon sticks when it’s at your desired level of spice.
Another method is to add gin and powdered cinnamon, in small increments, into a blender. Be sure to strain through a paper coffee filter.
0.75 oz. cinnamon-infused Tanqueray London Dry
0.2 oz. Jamaican rum
0.25 oz. sweet vermouth
0.25 oz. Italian aperitif
1 vial chocolate bitters
Pinch of salt
Add ingredients into a mixing glass full of ice. Stir for 15 seconds or so, then strain into an Old Fashioned glass full of cracked ice or, even better, a large cube. Finish and garnish the drink with an expressed orange peel.
This article is sponsored by Tanqueray.