The Negroni Nero

The Negroni Nero Cocktail // stirandstrain.comIs there a store you go into that, once there–even with a list in hand, you always come out with WAY more than you intended (and I’m not counting Target, because, really, that’s everyone on the planet.)? My downfall is World Market. I love to shop there for props. I will go in with a very specific list, and leave with several bags of stuff. And when I say “stuff” I mean candy from their food section. I’m sorry, but if you put me in a room with a pack of Hobnobs and some tortilla flavored Ritter Sport I am just not passing the marshmallow test (shout out to all you Early Childhood Development Majors).

It was no surprise then when I stopped into World Market a few weeks back, with my very rambunctious preschooler, so pretty much one-handed, that I still managed to leave with a several large bags of stuff. There were the prop glasses I needed, and some random textiles, and a giant chocolate orange because she had never had one so of course I was going to buy it and give her a piece, but also a 6 pack of Chinotto.

The Negroni Nero Cocktail // stirandstrain.comChinotto is a generic term for a soft drink produced by several companies in Italy, but mostly known here in the states from San Pellegrino. I first happened upon it when I was creative director at a company that imported it but refused to try it because I was told it was “bitter” and didn’t like the dark brown color. This was in the early 2000’s before it was cool to drink bitter things by the way. Also, I was young and still developing a palate.

The Negroni Nero Cocktail // stirandstrain.comBut now, hey, it’s cool to drink all the bitter things! So I picked up a 6 pack of this sparkling fruit drink, thinking I’d make something with it. Fast forward a few weeks and after having a week long happy hour habit of dinner time Negroni cocktails…I ran out of Campari. Usually when this happens (and it’s more frequent than you’d think) I turn towards a White Negroni, but this time I thought I’d replace the Campari with Chinotto. It’s less bitter, more sweet, but I find that the bubbles cut the sweetness back a bit.

If you find a regular Negroni too bitter, this might be more to your liking. And if you’ve figured out how to stick to your shopping list, please leave me some tips.

The Negroni Nero Cocktail // stirandstrain.comThe Negroni Nero
1 ounce London dry gin, like Beefeater
1 ounce sweet vermouth
2-3 ounces Chinotto (one bottle is good for two cocktails)

orange zest for garnish

In a rocks glass, add ice and pour in gin and sweet vermouth. Stir 10 seconds. Then pour in Chinotto. Stir gently again to combine. Garnish with an orange peel, oils expressed over the drink. Then, if you’re trying to be cute, cut some flowers out of the peel and pop them in your drink too (I used these cutters).

Glasses: Tom Dixon

The Negroni Nero Cocktail // stirandstrain.com