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Pre-mixing Negronis?

BobB Jan 30, 2009 02:36 PM

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?

  1. hotoynoodle Jan 30, 2009 03:18 PM

    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. s
      Steve_K Jan 30, 2009 05:33 PM

      No reason not to.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Steve_K
        f
        feltlikealifetime Jan 30, 2009 05:37 PM

        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
          steve h. Jan 30, 2009 06:01 PM

          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.
            hotoynoodle Jan 30, 2009 06:35 PM

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

            1. re: hotoynoodle
              steve h. Jan 30, 2009 07:22 PM

              too true.
              i retract my comment.

              1. re: steve h.
                BobB Jan 31, 2009 04:46 AM

                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
            BobB Jan 31, 2009 04:49 AM

            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
              MC Slim JB Feb 2, 2009 02:42 PM

              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. JMF Jan 31, 2009 06:55 AM

            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. MC Slim JB Feb 2, 2009 07:54 AM

              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. whs Feb 2, 2009 04:27 PM

                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
                  BobB Feb 3, 2009 03:47 AM

                  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
                    whs Feb 3, 2009 05:36 AM

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

                    1. re: BobB
                      g
                      GinChevyChase Feb 4, 2009 11:53 AM

                      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
                        BobB Feb 4, 2009 12:33 PM

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

                  2. msmarabini Feb 9, 2009 04:20 AM

                    Love the negroni! We pre-mixed them once for a party and it was fine...but everyone seemed to get drunk awfully quick!

                    Am going to venture slightly off topic (sorry!) to share a variation on the negroni...which your wife might enjoy if she considers the negroni a bit strong...it's called the "negroni sbagliato" which means mistaken negroni, i think...(maybe you've already heard of it?) Basically, you make a negroni but substitute a dry bubbly - like prosecco - in place of the gin. It's perfect for when you want the negroni taste...but not the punch! Of course, this is one cocktail you would not pre-mix.
                    Cheers!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: msmarabini
                      BobB Feb 9, 2009 04:44 AM

                      Interesting - sort of halfway between the Negroni and the Americano (Campari, vermouth, and club soda) from which the Negroni was originally derived.

                      Not sure my wife would prefer this, though - her objection was to the size of the drinks I was mixing, not the strength, and she's not a fan of bubbly.

                      1. re: msmarabini
                        Up With Olives May 13, 2009 01:19 PM

                        Sounds good. I love the Negroni but agree, it does pack a punch. The Americano is a very, very close substitute, and a better bet when having mroe than one, or when being followed by wine with dinner.

                      2. BobB Feb 16, 2009 09:22 AM

                        I am happy to report that the experiment is an unqualified success! Yesterday's pour was just as good as the first one over two weeks ago. Another milestone in the all-American quest for instant gratification. ;-)

                        1. j
                          jimmyr May 12, 2009 11:34 AM

                          Negronis are great make-ahead cocktails. You do need to add water if you're chilling and spilling, as Gary Regan points out here:

                          http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/2000s...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jimmyr
                            BobB May 12, 2009 01:06 PM

                            That explains the extra-strong flavor I've been experiencing. Which I've actually gotten used to, so I may or may not decide to add some water, but thanks for pointing it out.

                          2. c
                            conquestofbread Nov 24, 2009 09:30 PM

                            I've been making "Cornwall Negronis" (Phillip ward, Pegu Club) at the bar for the last few weeks with very good feedback. Its a little less intense in both its sweetness and bitterness, giving the gin a fighting chance.

                            1 and 1/2 oz gin, (I like Plymouth or Bombay in this, something citrus forward, Phillip uses Beefeater)
                            1/2 oz campari
                            1/2 oz punt e mes
                            1/2 oz sweet vermouth, (Carpano Antica if your lucky)
                            2 dashes orange bitters
                            garnish orange swath

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