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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Campari Olé: another variation on a classic cocktail

Cocktail lovers are well aware of the resurgence of the Negroni and its many variations (like another of my favorites, the Boulevardier).  The classic Negroni (it even has a book dedicated to it) has only three ingredients: Campari, Gin, and sweet Vermouth, mixed at a 1:1:1 ratio, while the ratios in the Boulevardier may vary a bit depending on the type of Whiskey.  The two ingredients that all of these variations have in common are Campari Bitter Liqueur and sweet Vermouth.

Both of these venerable cocktails have been around awhile. The Negroni was named after Count Camillo Negroni of Firenze, who was in a rut, ordering the same cocktail (the ubiquitous Americano) every day.  Legend has it that one day in 1919, Negroni was looking for something a little stronger than his favorite aperitivo, and that bartender Fosco Scarselli at Caffè Casoni replaced the standard soda water in the Americano with Gin.  What a pleasanr surprise.  The Boulevardier’s origins may be shrouded in mystery, but it made its first appearance in print in 1927’s Barflies and Cocktails by Harry McElhone (of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris), less than a decade later.

Just like the Count, every so often, one gets in the mood for something different.  Due to a lack of bar discipline, a bottle of Campari and one of Tequila were side by side on the bar: interesting…  A little playtime at the bar produced evidence that the classic Negroni proportions of 1:1:1 produced a pretty nice cocktail.  The next step was a little web research.  It turns out that this was not a new idea, but the posts that turned up proved it was a good one.  The best recipe seems to be one credited to German cocktailian Bastian Heuser by the first author to record it in a cocktail book, Robert Hess, who did so in The Essential Bartender’s Guide.  Hess called it an Agavoni (yeah, I know, I decided to try Campari Olé).  A key added ingredient in this Negroni variation was the addition of Orange Bitters. So give the following recipe a try, and let us all know how you like it, or try your own recipe.

Campari Olé
  • 1 oz Familia Camarena Silver Tequila
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth (sweet)
  • 1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass half full of cracked ice.  Stir briskly until nice and cold.  Strain into an Old Fashioned glass with ice (or, if you’re feeling lazy, just build it in the glass).  Garnish with twist of orange peel (Hess calls for a grapefruit twist). 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cocktail ingredients Utah update – July 2013

Frozen tropical splendor
July is usually the hottest month of summer, and we’re having another record-setting year that’s bringing plenty of hot weather to Utah.  Hot weather means that when cocktail hour rolls around, Utah’s amateur mixologists should have plenty of takers for their cocktails. The number of items on SPA (Special Price Adjustment) this month dropped from around 357 in June to a much more modest 258 in July, but if you want to make some great cocktails, there are some quality cocktail ingredients on sale this month at the Utah DABC State Liquor Stores

When it’s too darn hot (i.e. over 100 for several days in a row), my thoughts turn to frozen drinks, and somehow that makes me think of Rum.  My wife and I have been enjoying a nice Piña Colada or two every night or two.  If you limit your Piña Coladas to light Rum, Bacardi’s is on sale this month, but if you don’t mind an off-color drink, go with the Mount Gay Eclipse Rum (CS# 042666 down 15% to $17).  It also goes well in two of my favorite Rum coolers: the Mojito and the classic Rum and Coke (with lime, of course). 

As hot as it is, you are probably looking for some great summer cooler cocktail recipes in time for your barbecue or pool party, or just to enjoy after mowing the lawn.  Here are some suggestions that will save you money by taking advantage of items that are marked down this month.

The classic Gin cooler for hot weather is the Gin and Tonic.  This month you might want to try one using New Amsterdam Gin (1750ml CS# 031473 down 11% to $24), an excellent economy Gin.  It goes well in a Tom Collins, too.  If you’re more interested in a Classic Martini, pick up some Hendricks Gin (CS# 028625 down 9% to $32) or some Bombay Gin (CS# 028206 down 14% to $19).  No, it’s not a cooler, but it sure does taste good!

Deals on Vodka this month include liter bottles of Stolichnaya (CS# 034747 down 11% to $25) and liters of Absolut (CS# 034007 down 11% to $23).  If you like cranberry juice, try these in a Cosmo Cooler, a descendant of the classic cocktail.  If you like your Whiskey drinks (Bourbon anyone?) I can recommend a Mint Julep, so pick up a liter of Jack Daniels Black Label (down 10% to $27) and find some mint.

Some of my favorite mixing Tequilas are marked down this month: try El Jimador Reposado (CS# 089278 down 15% to $20), Milagro Tequila Reposado (CS# 089583 down 12% to $28), or Milagro Silver (CS# 088116 down 14% to $25).  All three of these go well in a classic Margarita, or in two great Tequila coolers: the Margarita Cooler and the Tequila Mojito.