If your palate is an adventurous one, if you don’t like things that are too sweet, and if you’re constantly searching for a sip of something that will take you to another era…. you might take a liking to this beverage.
Apart from the basic ice-alcohol-and-some-kind-of-fruit in the blender, I don’t have a great deal of knowledge in the art of cocktail mixing, an innocence which I quite enjoy sometimes. There’s nothing more intriguing than going to a bar (preferably at some swanky soiree) and watching a cocktail ‘mixologist’ at work. In one rapid a flurry of ice and liqueur, alcohol becomes artistry.
In my 3 years of legal drinking I’ve wrapped my lips around countless cocktails – a mere squidge of all the concoctions available out there. I love some weird things that don’t sit well with a lot of people, drinks that are bitter, spicy or salty. Campari has always been a favourite, as the child of an Italian, I grew up stealing a tipple out of Mum’s glass every so often.
I normally drink Campari straight on the rocks, or with cranberry juice and little bit of vodka. Until a few weeks ago, at a tiny but magnetic bar on Oxford Street called Ching-a-Lings, I had my first sip on a Negroni. This cocktail took Campari to a whole new level for this little barfly. It’s a very simple drink and easy to make:
1 part Campari
1 part Gin
1 part Vermouth
Poured over the rocks in an Old Fashioned glass and garnished with an orange peel.
To me, this drink tastes of old fashioned glamour, of 1930′s & 40′s – jazz, flappers and speakeasys. According to my trusty Google search, I’m about one decade off! The story goes that the Negroni was invented at Bar Casoni in Florence around 1920, when one regular, Count Camillo Negroni, asked for his Americano (Campari, sweet vermouth and soda water) to be made with gin and no soda.
Back to the modern minute, it was a lot of fun to partake of this wonderful beverage at a bar like Ching-a-Lings which is a weird mix of industrial art, rock, and unconventional chic. Even though it’s a bit cramped, the music is fun and you can get away with wearing whatever you feel like. If you’re in the area, swing by and check it out, although if your claustrophobic I wouldn’t recommend it on a busy Friday night.
Last little breadcrumbs…
Although it doesn’t really do the bar justice, visit the Ching-a-Lings website here.
If you want to watch a slightly wanky video on how to make a Negroni click here. (It also shows you a couple of variations).
Enjoy, my fellow barflies.