Simple Cacao Nib-Infused Campari, a Bottled Negroni, and 3 Negroni Riffs

Negroni Week – one of my favorite weeks of the year. Not only do I get to partake in the forever-classic negroni, but to participate in supporting charity. However, this year is a bit different from prior years. Participating venues select a charity from the vetted list provided by Imbibe and Campari then make an initial donation to the charity.

After Negroni Week is over, venues are encouraged to make an additional donation to their chosen charity. Last year the event raised $400,000.

Be sure to find a participating venue near you to make this June 5-11 the best Negroni Week yet. In the meantime, here is a roundup of some of my favorite negroni riffs featuring ingredients as diverse as gentian root, coffee, and ancho reyes peppers, as well as a simple cacao nib-infused Campari that will give you a simple way to modify any basic negroni recipe. Also, if you’ve ever wondered how to bottle cocktails like the negroni, this article will give you a crash course.

How to Make Cacao Nib-Infused Campari

 
Cacao nib-infused Campari isn’t as strange as it may initially seem. You’ve surely experienced the perfect combination that is chocolate and orange, and this is the same concept. This one is right from the Death & Co cocktail book, and for the home enthusiast I’ve scaled down the recipe since I’ve rarely wanted an entire bottle of cacao-infused Campari. You’ll need Campari, cacao nibs, an infusion jar, a funnel, cheesecloth or a wire mesh strainer, and a glass bottle. (Links to all these items are found in the resources section of this article.)
 
1. Combine 8½ ounces of Campari with 1 tablespoon of cacao nibs in a jar for infusion.
 
2. Cap and shake the jar. Let it infuse for 1 hour at room temperature, shaking it occasionally. If you use the small ones pictured, it will come very close to filling the jar completely. 
 
3. Strain and pour the cacao nib-infused Campari into the glass bottle for storage. 
bottled negroni 
If you want to make a “full-sized” batch, simply do the same process, but with a 750-milliliter bottle of Campari and 3 tablespoons of cacao nibs. You’ll obviously need a larger vessel to do the infusion. 
 

How to Bottle a Cocktail – Specifically a Negroni

Bottled cocktails are a great way for the enthusiast to “cheat” when entertaining guests. Making a large batch of craft cocktails ensures that you will also have to socialize in addition to being a good host – or perhaps you just want small transportable cocktails. Cocktails that bottle well tend to be ones that are stirred and have all alcohol ingredients. Avoid cocktails that contain fresh juices or carbonation. The negroni is a perfect candidate, and is very simple to batch, as long as you account for the water that is added while stirring the drink. (This is true for any batched cocktails.) Here is my recipe for bottled negronis that I arrived at by weighing the liquid ingredients both before and after stirring. To bottle a round of negronis for five people, simply combine 5 ounces each of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth with 3¾ ounces of water, and 10 dashes of orange bitters. Bottle them in the classic glass swing-top bottles and keep them chilled until ready to serve. Each 8.5-ounce bottle will serve 2-3 people. 
 
While that recipe is to batch the classic negroni, any of the recipes below can be batched as well. You will have to modify the amount of bitters you add, so just scale up based on the number of drinks you would like the end product to yield. Water content to add will be the same (3¾ ounces for 5 servings) for the Tierra del Fuego and the Earl Grey White Negroni. The La Terra Rojo should technically require a different amount of dilution, but I doubt that much of a difference will be noted if you follow the format of the previous recipes.

Tierra del Fuego
negroin_week_cocktails

 

This negroni riff (middle cocktail) has a bit of a spicy kick from the Ancho Reyes Liqueur, which is a personal favorite to try in various cocktails. Both the mezcal and the smoldered bitters add a layer of complexity I find very appealing. I’ve been told by some that this drink is a little too spicy, but dialing back the amount of smoldered bitters or using a different style will remedy that.

Tierra del Fuego
 
Cook Time
Total Time
 
Author:
Recipe Type: Cocktail
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. Ancho Reyes Liqueur
  • .5 oz. mezcal
  • .5 oz. tequila
  • 6 dashes pink House Alchemy Smoldered Bitters
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled.
  2. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.
  3. Garnish with an orange peel.
 

Earl Grey White Negroni

 

The same bitterness that Campari grants the classic negroni is imparted in this riff by swapping it with the bold gentian liqueur, SUZE. While this recipe doesn’t have to be made with an Earl Grey-infused Dolin Blanc, it certainly adds some delicious bergamot notes that work incredibly well with gin and SUZE.

Earl Grey White Negroni
 
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1½ ounces Ford’s gin
  • ¾ ounce SUZE
  • ¾ ounce Earl Grey-Infused Dolin Blanc
  • orange peel
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in mixing glass filled with ice and stir until chilled.
  2. Strain into rocks glass filled with ice and garnish with an orange twist.
Notes
Glassware - Bodum Bistro Double-Wall Insulated Glass
Recipe for the Earl Grey-infused Dolin Blanc can be found in Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails.
 

La Terra Rojo
Negroni Riff with Tequila and Coffee

 

It seems that I have a thing for talking about the terroir in the titles of my cocktails. At least this one has some meaning behind the name, and is one of my favorites of this collection. While there is still a whole ounce of Campari in this negroni riff, it doesn’t have that typical negroni boldness that you might expect. If you don’t have añejo tequila, reposado will work well too. Notes of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and orange all play together in perfect harmony in this cocktail. You have to try it to believe it.

La Terra Rojo
 
Author:
Recipe Type: Cocktails
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • ¾ ounce añejo tequila
  • ¾ ounce coffee concentrate (recipe and purchase link in notes)
  • 1 dash of orange bitters
  • orange peel for garnish
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in mixing glass filled with ice and stir until chilled.
  2. Strain into rocks glass over ice.
  3. Garnish with expressed orange peel.
Notes
DoubleShot Coffee Company - Coffee Concentrate
The Kitchn - Coffee Concentrate Recipe
 

The negroni is one of those foundational classic cocktails that can be endlessly adapted. It’s the three equal parts ratio and the perfect balance that have allowed it to remain a popular cocktail since the early 19th century. So make a few rounds, raise a glass, and experiment with a few recipes.

Cheers.

 


Additional Resources:
 

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