This week is national negroni week and in honour of this Seamus Hooley, from the Michelin-starred The Black Swan at Oldstead in York, has shared his tips for making the perfect negroni.
The negroni is a popular Italian cocktail, made of one part gin, one part vermouth rosso, and one part Campari, garnished with orange peel.
It is considered an apéritif.
A traditionally-made negroni is stirred, not shaken, and built over ice in an old-fashioned or rocks glass and garnished with a slice of orange.
So what are Seamus’ three tips to making the perfect negroni?
He said: “Use a premium dry gin.
“A premium gin will keep its flavour and ‘stand up’ to other flavours when mixed with other ingredients.
“Next, use fresh ice.
“Old ice is already melting and this melting water will dilute the cocktail before optimal temperature is reached.
“Thirdly, only stir the drink for a maximum of ten seconds.
“Anything over this time will be too watered down.”
So what’s the biggest mistake people make when making a negroni?
Seamus said: “The biggest mistake people make is over diluting their negroni.
“I prefer this drink to pack a punch with the bitter and sweet balance.
When it’s over-stirred, or old, already melting, ice is used you’re just losing flavour.”
For those who always life to try something a bit different, or like a variation on their theme, Seamus has these three twists for a negroni.
He said: “Use Aperol as a replacement for Campari.
“Aperol has a softer bitterness level compared to Campari that makes a fruitier flavour which is more approachable for people who aren’t keen on bitter flavours.
“Replace the gin with soda water and make an ‘Americano.’
“It’s the parent drink to the negroni that is a longer drink and arguably more refreshing.
“Make a white negroni by replacing the sweet vermouth with dry vermouth and replace the Campari with lillet blanc.
“This is a lot lighter and more floral than the classic martini but delicious nonetheless.”
And finally, Seamus’ favourite classic negroni recipe is 25 millilitres of Cooper King dry gin, 25 millilitres of Campari, 25 millilitres of Cocchi Sweet Vermouth and an orange twist to garnish.
Seamus said: “Combine all ingredients in a glass over ice and stir for no more than ten seconds.“Then garnish with an orange twist.”
Seamus Hooley is head of beverages at The Black Swan in Oldstead, recently awarded UK’s Best Restaurant in Trip Advisor’s 2020 Awards.