Discover how to create that perfect Negroni Cocktail and taste it’s full satisfaction this summer.  

Negroni Week is the celebration of one of the world’s greatest cocktails. That’s right one whole week dedicated to the classic gin drink. The negroni is a simple drink with 3 ingredients, no fancy shaking required. The negroni is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of cocktail – if you have never tried this classic …this week should be your opportunity to take a plunge. Bars and restaurants up and down the country will be re-creating this legendary cocktail.Negroni WeekWe caught up with the head of Specialist and Online Retail Sales Kieron Hall (also known by his code name as The Cocktail King here at The Lakes Distillery). A title which is well and truly deserved after winning the NECTA Bartender of the year 2014. We decided
there would be no better man for the job when it comes to a Q&A session all about the negroni. Let’s find out more …

Cocktail making

Let’s start with the history where did it originate?
The most widely reported origin, is from Florence, Italy in 1919 at the Caffè Giacosa. This is the place where Count Camillo Negroni supposedly requested it. However, the exact origin of the Negroni is pretty unknown. Some report that it was first created in 1914, and some reports even go back to 1857, where it was supposedly created in Senegal.

What exactly is it?
The Negroni is considered an iconic Italian cocktail, first developed in the early 20th Century. Story goes that its’ creator, Count Camillo Negroni, was the first to request this drink from his bartender, when he asked for his Americano (a classic aperitif of Vermouth, Campari & Soda), to be made stronger by adding a healthy measure of Gin instead of soda.

Before starting anything what does it look like?
Classically it’s served on the rocks (over ice) and in a tumbler glass. But there are lots of different variations of this. That’s the beauty of having such an easy and versatile drink, it can be served however you like it. A few bars serve it straight up in a martini glass to add a bit of flair.

How do you make it?
It’s probably one of the easiest cocktails to make in the world. All it takes is equal parts Gin, Sweet Vermouth & Campari. Add all of the ingredients to a glass with plenty of ice, stir it down to dilute and chill the drink. Finish it off by adding a nice wedge of orange, or the use the peel to get all of the essential oils from the fruit. Simple as that. If you need to stock up, we recommend it with The Lakes Explorer.

All this build up but the biggest question of all what does it taste like? 
The Campari has the flavour of Gentian Orange, which has a very bitter taste and is a very prominent ingredient. It’s by no means a cocktail to everybody’s taste. The first time I had a Negroni I almost spat it out, due to the bitterness. But, as your palate changes when you get older, the bitterness of the orange and the floral aspects of the gin become very moreish. When you learn to like a Negroni you will begin to love them. The subtlety in flavour is what makes it really stand out. It’s also quite evocative of other popular (Bitter) flavours that are very in vogue at the moment… the popularity of things like Kale, Coffee and IPA style beers have really warmed peoples palate to enjoy bitter flavour.

Is there a right way to make it?
I always say, ‘The right way to make it is the way you like to drink it’. If you like a little it a little more botanic, up the ratio on your gin. If you like it a bit sweeter, add a touch more Vermouth.

My absolute favourite way that it’s made is the ‘Gary ‘Gaz’ Regan Method’. Gaz is a very well-regarded bartender and drinks historian. Once, when he was tending bar he had an order of 20 Negronis at once. To save time and washing up he used his finger to stir the cocktails and his customers thought it was brilliant. From that he created his own finger barspoon stirrer from a cast of his own finger. It’s not one for the germophobes, but it’s a really fun, tongue in cheek way of making it.

Do any celebrities like to drink it?
Lots of famous faces throughout the last 100 years have fallen for the Negroni. Orson Welles was the first to note his admiration for the cocktail in the late 1940’s when travelling in Italy. Now it’s a firm favourite with lots of highly regarded chefs. The fact that people like Anthony Bourdain and Jamie Oliver have both stated it as one of their favourite classic cocktails shows that it is popular with people who know their flavours.

Where can I get a Lakes Negroni?
For me there are fewer places to enjoy something than where it was made. My biggest tip would be to go to our Bistro at the Distillery and enjoy one in the Cumbrian sun (not as much a rarity as you’d think).

I’m currently working with one of my good friends Roy Varty, to create a Foragers Negroni, utilising foraged ingredients from around the Lake District and then processing it through a cold drip coffee filter to add some fresh and vibrant botanical flavours. You will be able to find that at Night Caps bar in Newcastle this summer coming.

The Lakes Negroni
Ingredients 

25ml Lakes Explorer 
25ml Sweet Vermouth
25ml Campari

Method 
Add to rocks glass with ice and stir for 30 seconds

Finishing touches 
Garnish with orange wedge

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