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Wood Aged Negroni

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    Wood Aged Negroni

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    I am addicted to Negronis. Legend says that it was invented at in Florence, Italy, in 1919 when one Count Camillo Negroni asked his bartender Forsco Scarselli of Caffe Casoni to amp up his Americano cocktail (Campari, sweet red vermouth, soda water), so he swapped gin for the soda water. It is wondrous in its simplicity. But you can add some complexity and a layer of sophistication by using a trick I learned when I was the wine critic for the Washington Post. Wineries that wanted the flavor of oak barrels but couldn’t afford them tossed wood chips in the wine. It works fine on wine, and on Negronis, extracting a vanillin flavor.

    By the way, I have since discovered that the smart folks at PolyScience make something similar in a sous vide bath and steep it at 165°F for 24 hours. I tried it. The results have a brooding Bourbon-like character but lose the brightness. I prefer it without the s-v.

    Makes. 2 cocktails
    Takes. 24 hours
    Special tools. Butane or propane torch

    4 ounces wood chips by weight
    4 ounces good quality gin
    4 ounces Campari
    4 ounces good quality sweet red vermouth
    4 lemon zests about 2-inches long and 1/2-inch wide
    About the wood chips. Use nutwood, fruitwood, or hardwood chips.

    1| Torch. Go outside and put the chips on a metal surface like a griddle or in a pan. Hit them with a torch until they are all glowing or smoldering. When about half are black, pour them into a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Pour the whole shootin’ match into a jar and cap it for at least 24 hours.

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    2| Strain and pour into rocks glasses with ice cubes and an orange slice. The wood absorbs about 3 ounces leaving you with two 4 1/2 ounce cocktails.

    Sounds great. We had a block party last week and a new neighbor not only brought a pork shoulder he had smoked, but he also brought negronis. And he had infused the Campari with coffee. It was a great twist on a classic.


    • tbob4
      tbob4 commented
      Editing a comment
      I immediately thought of you when I saw the post

    I vote Beefeaters Gin


      Another fun trick is to set your bottled mixture in the vat of an ultra sonic cleaner. As long as at least half the bottle is covered by the water in the vat it works well. It will give moonshine some nice color and taste in just a few hours.


      • SmokingSteve
        SmokingSteve commented
        Editing a comment
        So then it becomes Aged Moonshine?

      • Oak Smoke
        Oak Smoke commented
        Editing a comment
        SmokingSteve. It adds flavors, depending on the wood, it could be a touch of sweetness or some of that bite thats in a straight bourbon. The ultrasonic waves seem to drive it into the wood and pull out flavors. And yes you get aged moonshine. You could put it on a label "Moonshine Aged 4 hours in charged oak." The idea came from 2 friends, one is a mechanical engineer, the other is a chemical engineer. They’ve built the most incredible still.

      A few years ago I purchased a 1L charred oak barrel and did the same. First aged Negronis for about a month and then followed that up with aging Manhattans which took about 5 weeks.

      like the wood chip idea for a quicker drink but I prefer my Negronis or Boulevardiers to be 1.5:1:1


      • Attjack
        Attjack commented
        Editing a comment
        ☝️ I'm going to have to do this.


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