We love a Negroni variant, and after picking up a bottle of Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto, we were pleased to find this tasty version. Traditionally an “equals” mixture of gin, Campari and sweet vermouth, this one calls for a larger than normal proportion of oak-aged gin alongside a little less Campari and dry, French vermouth. To bring the balance back into familiar territory, the small amount Italicus adds a bit of sweetness and citrus.
If you are not familiar with Italicus, it is a clear, bergamot liqueur—like a triple sec, but instead of Cointreau-style orange, this is more floral—the same citrus that flavors Earl Grey tea. It is on the lighter side of liqueurs, not syrupy sweet, but seductively sip-able. Besides being wonderful and unusual, Italicus comes in the most beautiful bottle since St-Germain, and if the bottle or the flavor does not leave you longing to visit Italy, their website certainly will.
We don’t often use aged gin in cocktail recipes, though we do tend to buy it when we visit a distiller that invests in the effort to make it. Although it may not be strictly required for this recipe to be delicious, it is one of the many twists on the classic made by Naren Young of New York back in 2019. From his perspective, there is practically no end to the number of ways you can tweak the original with salt, tinctures, bitters, liqueur—and each adjustment can add or highlight new flavors. We agree, and would be happy drinking Negroni variations all day long.
1 oz oak-aged gin
.75 oz Campari
.75 oz dry vermouth
.25 oz Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
Stir with ice, then strain over a large cube in an old fashioned glass. Garnish with a bergamot twist, lemon leaf, or an orange wheel.