I LOVE Amaros. The most well-known Amaros are Aperol, Campari, and (try not to let the memories from college make you gag when I say this) Jagermeister. Amaros are complex and earthy, and a great balance of bitter and sweet. Added to a cocktail, they create depth, balance, and a rounded-out base flavor. Amaros can easily overwhelm other flavors, and definitely need to be balanced. A great example of this is a Negroni. Negronis are my year-round favorite, a simple three-ingredient cocktail that relies on an Amaro and Vermouth to provide depth and balance.
There are many variations to the Negroni, and I highly recommend trying them all. Traditionally, a Negroni is equal parts Gin, Sweet Vermouth, and Campari (my fall go-to). A Boulevardier is a variation that is equal parts Bourbon, Sweet Vermouth, and Campari (my winter go-to). An Americano is equal parts Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Campari, and Club Soda (my spring go-to). Do we see a trend here?! Good, glad it’s not just me. The White Negroni is a variation on this same theme, with great balance and depth.
I’ve included two different recipes, since there are some very strong opinions about Suze Gentian Liqueur, and I want to make something everyone will enjoy. Both of them are good on their own, but I wanted to be a little extra, so added a fun element of smoke. There are a couple of great tools to smoke a cocktail, and I love both of the options here. There’s The Smoking Saucer, which dramatically smokes one cocktail at a time. It also happens to be extremely instagrammable (and a great Fathers Day gift – which happens to be just around the corner). Breville makes a tool called The Smoking Gun, which is an awesome way to smoke several cocktails at once.
Smoked White Negroni
Ingredients- Version 1
- 1.5 OZ LONDON DRY GIN
- 1 OZ DOLIN BLANC VERMOUTH
- 1 OZ COCCHI AMERICANO
Ingredients- Version 2
- 1.5 OZ LONDON DRY GIN
- 1OZ DOLIN BLANC VERMOUTH
- .25 OZ SUZE GENTIAN LIQUEUR
- Feel free to adjust ratios as some Amaros are a little bitter – make to your taste!
- Version 1 will be a little sweeter and stands up well to the smoke, Version 2 is more of a classic, and has definite bitter notes from the Suze. If Suze is too strong for you, try doing a rinse with it- pour a little into the glass before anything else, swirl it around the bottom and sides of the glass, and then pour anything that remains out (into the next glass, or into the sink). This will give a light aroma and a more mild taste of the Gentian.