Monday, June 25, 2007


While the Missus and I were in Cancún earlier this month, my beverages of choice were - as befits the Mexican surroundings - Bacardi Añejo rum (by itself or compounded into a Cuba Libre), reposado tequila, ice-cold cerveza, and the occasional vacation-size Banana Monkey. This last is one of those indulgent tropical drinks made with bananas, chocolate syrup, and Kahlua. I would order mine with an additional shot or two of rum.

But in Destin, we opted for a more Continental summer drink palette.

I had brought along some Pama pomegranate liqueur, on the chance that we’d get a jones for pomegranate martinis. But no.

I had brought some Campari, that bright red, bittersweet Italian liqueur that mixes so well with tonic or soda. SWMBO loves a Campari and soda with a generous squeeze of fresh lime. I’ll drink the stuff on the rocks or with one of the aforementioned Fizzy Waters. It’s a most refershing tipple, but definitely an acquired taste: Most people can’t deal with the bitter flavor notes.

I also brought some Hendrick’s Gin, an esoteric brew that was a gift from Eric. Hendrick’s - a Scottish gin , fercryinoutloud - has an unusual bouquet that includes a hint of cucumber and rose petals: it makes a superb gin and tonic. I enjoyed it that way, but also as a key ingredient in a few Negroni Cocktails.

Never heard of the Negroni? Don’t feel bad; most people haven’t. Moreover, it’s not for everybody...because it contains Campari. In fact, between the Campari and the gin, its two main constituents, it is not a drink for the faint of heart.

Negroni Cocktail

1½ ounces gin (I used Hendrick’s)
1½ ounces Campari
1½ ounces sweet vermouth (or less, according to taste)

Shake vigorously with ice in a cocktail shaker and strain into a Martini glass...or a jelly glass, if necessary. Use any glass that’s handy. Garnish with a slice of orange and a maraschino cherry. Or don’t garnish it. I don’t really give a crap whether you garnish it or not.

Be careful with these. Assuming you are one of the rare individuals who will actually drink one, you will find that it is a sophisticated libation that is quite refreshing, once you get past the flavor, which is both bittersweet and herbaceous. Drink more than one at your own risk: they’re potent.

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