"The bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other."
We at Gin Lane have been showing our appreciation to this year’s balmy summer weather. Let’s be honest, it has been somewhat splendid, and naturally, gin is quite the perfect spirit for such a summer. Rehydration can come in no finer disguise than a cold, sturdy gin and tonic.
But in the interests of equal gin rights, we of course are obliged to look further afield to many of the other fine gin drinks. I for one am on the Gin Lane Bitters Committee, and have been busily compiling a paper* on Aperol – the oft overlooked little cousin of Campari – and as such have been conducting some highly scientific, late-night experiments at Gin Towers with the neon booze juice.
In the past I have used my treasured bottled-sunset Aperol sparingly, having successfully brought it home with me from Venice, where I spent three days dachshund-spotting and drinking obscene quantities of Spritz (fyi: Prosecco, Apreol, soda water, orange and/or olive). This was until I realised how absurdly easy it is to make a Negroni.
Oh the Negroni. Is there a more beautiful drink? If it is on the cocktail menu – as it is at Purl and Caravan - I will be ordering it. No matter, as was the case with my last Caravan visit, if it is to accompany my breakfast. It is the ultimate democratic gin-based drink. Elegant enough for a lady, and yet weighty enough for a chap, it is as fine a drink for summery outdoors drinking as it is for Saturday-night-saddo solo boozing. According to most reports, it was invented (read: ordered) in Florence, 1919, by a certain Count Camillo Negroni, who wanted a stronger version of his favoured Americano cocktail. Thusly, gin replaced the soda water in the Americano, and the drink become the Negroni we know and love today.
Of course, we spend most of our time mingling amongst London’s most upstanding of citizens and the finest of palettes. However, in the interests of research, this lady recently spent a Saturday night in at her Shoreditch abode making Negronis and fishfinger sandwiches. Borne from a mere four ingredients, the Negroni is the ultimate DIY cocktail. Not only is the list of ingredients concise, but the making is a doddle, even for the most inebriated of ladies. Consisting of equal parts gin, Campari (or Aperol) and sweet vermouth with an orange twist, it also lends itself wonderfully to making in large quantities… like, say, pints. Count Camillo himself put 'Antico Negroni 1919' into production as a readymade version
So, next time you find yourself without a Saturday night plan, just take the cat off the hook, ask the neighbours to look after the phone and make yourself a pint of Negroni – it’s Orson Welles / Gin Lane approved.
* due to be released within the next 2 months, on the back of a packet of Marlboro Light Menthols