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Jan 30, 2009 02:36 PM

Pre-mixing Negronis?

I've not historically been much of a cocktail drinker, but I discovered the Negroni a while ago and find myself having one most nights before dinner nowadays. This got me to thinking - since the drink is made only with bottled spirits and has no fresh or carbonated ingredients, is there any reason I can't take a clean 1.75 liter bottle, fill it up with equal parts Bombay Sapphire, Campari, and Punt e Mes, and pour myself a perfectly proportioned cocktail of whatever size I like each night 'til it runs out?

That would be nice for my wife too, who enjoys one occasionally but likes them smaller than I normally make them. She could take just a few drops even, if that's all she wanted, and still know she was getting a balanced blend of flavors.

Is this something that's "just not done"? If so, is there a reason? Or is it common practice among regular drinkers of spirits-only cocktails?

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  1. i can't see why not. in some high-volume places where i long ago tended bar we would pre-mix containers of certain popular drinks to save time.

      1. re: Steve_K

        The negroni was specifically invented as an all-spirit cocktail for the very reason that it could be pre-mixed. It is meant to be pre-mixed (or at least for it to be possible to do so. I see no harm in premixing as long as it is only for a day or two and the spirits are chilled before serving...

        1. re: feltlikealifetime

          the only downside is that a negroni is nasty. make it a month ahead of time and it wouldn't harm the essence of the drink.

          1. re: steve h.

            one man's nasty is another's nirvana. :)

              1. re: steve h.

                Thou art forgiven. Frankly, I can understand your reaction. I've been drinking Campari for decades but if you're not used to it the taste can be a bit disconcerting.

          2. re: feltlikealifetime

            Why only a day or two? A 1.75 liter bottle should easily last me a month or more. Will the mixture mutate? Lose its color or flavor? How is it any different from long-term storage of straight gin or vermouth, each of which is already a mix of many ingredients?

            1. re: feltlikealifetime

              Incidentally, this does not sound like Negroni origin story I've heard, though all cocktail origins stories are kinda suspect. The way I heard it was that Fosco Scarselli, a barman at Florence's Bar Casoni, created the drink for one of his regulars, a certain Count Negroni, who liked the idea of the Americano highball popular with tourists (Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda) but wanted something more potent. Scarselli substituted gin for the seltzer, et voila. Nothing to do with pre-mixing.

              This bar still survives as the Café Giacosa; I was thrilled to be able to visit it and enjoy a couple of Negronis there.

              Also, what's the advantage of chilling the spirits prior to mixing, and why the short shelf life?

          3. I sometimes pre-mix drinks that are all spirits, I find that ones with complex botanicals like Carpano Antica vermouth or good bitters actually improve over a few days as the mixture 'comes together.' then stir or shake on ice, add a fresh twist, and there you have it.

            So, in the words of the immortal Greek goddess of Victory and Strength, "Just Do It."

            1. I love the Negroni, but had never thought of doing this, maybe because I vary the brands of gin and vermouth (but never the 1:1:1 proportions) to suit my mood.

              It's important to refrigerate opened bottles of vermouth; they go bad within weeks otherwise. (I also VacuVin mine for extra storage life.) But the gin and Campari in a premixed Negroni would yield a high enough proof that you wouldn't have to worry about spoilage. So doing this might free up some fridge space.

              1. I think one of the pleasures of a cocktail is the preparation. Making one in bulk detracts from the experience, perhaps not the flavor.

                4 Replies
                1. re: whs

                  I can see that. On the other hand, I got the experience (yes, I did it two days ago!) of mixing up one ginormous cocktail in a huge pitcher, then pouring it through a funnel into an empty Bombay bottle. Felt like I was a kid again doing a science experiment. Plus my wife was tickled to be able to pour herself a small one, just the amount she wanted.

                  I must say, it may have been my imagination but the one I poured last night seemed like it was more strongly flavored than normal. Perhaps the drink is indeed melding and mutating into something different. I'll keep you posted.

                  1. re: BobB

                    Fond memories of negronis at Harry's Bar in Venice. After two, the city never looked more beautiful...

                    1. re: BobB

                      Did you store the pre-mixed drink in the refrigerator? If you simply poured it into a glass you wouldn't have the water from melting ice and hence the drink would be stronger. Also if you stored it in the frig and stirred it with ice as per the norm, the pre-chilled mix would have melted less ice, and once again it would have tasted stronger.

                      1. re: GinChevyChase

                        I did, and that could be what's happening. I'll keep track of any further changes and report back.