Negroni Experiments & Deviations

Did you read the part where I said I had a sweet tooth yet? It was a post or two ago and you can be forgiven for missing it, but if you do bother to read this blog occasionally then you’ll get the idea. Brockmans for example – love the stuff, not very ginny gin, but deliciously delovely nonetheless. A Negroni however, is a Man’s Drink, and before I get bombarded by feminists, I mean, a man’s drink as opposed to a boy’s drink.

A Negroni is, strictly speaking, equal measures of gin, Campari bitters and vermouth rosso (ie sweet red) and if you stick to those official guidelines then you need a fairly heavyweight gin, or essentially all you end up with is a large Campari, because the Campari has strangled the life out of the other ingredients.negroni

So, taking my bottles of Martini Rosso and Campari Bitters, I chose a couple of gins and threw around a few proportions until I was slightly too tipsy to pour properly. I used the fairly punchy and juniper forward Brokers brand of gin, and slowly dropped the levels of Campari and upped the levels of the other two, and as I did so the whole thing evened itself up more and more into a drink I could quite enjoy. I’m not sure that Count Camillo Negroni would care for me watering down the drink the had deliberately strengthened, and I suspect bartenders around the globe are shaking their heads, but, for me, the best way to enjoy a Negroni is to to take your gin, vermouth and Campari and proportion it 3:3:1, or 3:2:1 if your gin is a little lighter. All in all though, I’m not convinced that it’s not better to save your gin for something else entirely.

I googled more variations and found that substituting the Campari for Aperol will give you a ‘Contessa’, which is far more of a boy’s drink, and, I discovered after venturing to Sainsbury’s for a bottle of the orange liquier, far more my cup of gin.

Unfortunatley there is no photographic evidence of me enjoying my Contessa, so you’ll just have to picture me yourself – a tad shy of 6’2″, bearded, forty four and wearing a lumberjack shirt, really enjoying my boy’s… oh lets face it, GIRL’S drink.


Blind Taste Test – Fever Tree Tonics

On the opening page of this web site I site Fever-Tree as being the main factor that altered my relationship with Gin and Tonic. So I thought do a post on Fever-Tree, but didn’t want it to just be the same old same old thing (deliberately double same olds). An experiment was designed to compare the following four Fever-Tree tonics – Indian, Naturally Light, Elderflower and Mediterranean.


We, the other half and I, conducted a blind taste test on these three remarkably different tonics with two different Gins, one we like – Copper House, and one we do not particularly care for – Blackdown.

Both the gin and their respective tonic waters were measured equally, so we had eight identical proportioned glasses, with no garnish except for an equal amount of ice;  even the glasses themselves were the same.

The results were unexpected – I assumed my preference would be for the standard Indian, with the Mediterranean coming second, but in the end the Indian tonic fell into overall second place behind the Elderflower. We both found that the Elderflower was our favourite with the Copper House and it then scored well with the Blackdown  On balance the Indian Tonic came out in second overall place, with the Mediterranean just edging the Naturally Light into fourth place.

I intend to try the Elderflower Tonic Water with more gins from now on, I’m interested to see how it might marry with a variety of different gins and see if perhaps, as it did with the Blackdown, it might elevate some of the gins that I have been less impressed with.

It has also taught me not to believe everything you read – the Ginventory App, of which I am a big fan, recommends the Fever-Tree Mediterranean with Adnams Copper House, and yet when blind taste testing I scored it lowest out of the four mixers.

So having been surprised by the result, I will be conducting more varied blind tests with a bigger samples in blog posts to come. The moral of this post is, however, don’t make your mind up about what your preferred tonic might be – instead be a little adventurous – mix it up. Literally.