In some respects, our Drink of the Week was an inevitable recipe. It’s analogous to the primordial soup of amino acids that first coalesced to create life—given the right conditions, it was only a matter of time before tiny miracles started to happen. Now, imagine you are a bartender (or a famous Italian chef) mixing a classic cocktail, the Negroni, time and time again. One day, as you reach for your ingredients, instead of grabbing Campari, you pull out a bottle of Cynar. It’s an easy mistake—they were sitting right next to each other. Suddenly, you are experimenting with reckless abandon, swapping this for that and thinking, “Hey, this just might work!” Put a few good ingredients next to each other along with a basic formula for success and you are bound to create some tiny miracles of your own.
The Cin Cyn isn’t our first example of a Negroni variation. Kevin Ludwig’s Norwegian Negroni takes the Cynar approach and pairs it with aquavit instead of gin. Then there’s Robert Hess’s Trident which successfully borrows the formula and turns every component upside-down by swapping in Cynar, aquavit and sherry. The Cin Cyn doesn’t go quite that far, but with Cynar readily available for most of us now, it would be easy to lose an entire evening to Negroni riffs.
1 oz Gin
1 oz Cynar
1 oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters
Stir with ice. Strain into a chilled mixing glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
Truth be told, we’ve been mixing and drinking the Cin Cyn before we ever knew it had a name. There are several versions of this drink floating around with slight variations in the proportions and one that uses squeezed orange wedges. There’s also a reference that appears in Mario Batali’s Babbo Cookbook. The name of the cocktail is a nod to the common Italian toast, cin cin (pronounced “chin chin”) which sounds like clinking glassware. Of course, in this case the words themselves are abbreviations of the key ingredients. Cin represents Cinzano sweet vermouth and Cyn is short for Cynar, and with a name like this, it’s impossible to forget the base spirit.
We are big fans of the Negroni which is why it was one of a handful of cocktails we aged in an oak barrel. And last year we couldn’t stop talking about Cynar which seemed to creep into a recipe every other month. So, it’s little wonder we like the Cin Cyn. It’s not as bitter as a Negroni made using the same proportions and there’s a luxurious depth to the flavor that we find very appealing. A lot of herbal goodness comes from the Cynar and vermouth combo, and since we used Carpano Antica Formula, we get to raise our beautifully etched glass to some vanilla richness too. Hip hip, Cin Cyn!