FYI: This is an archive of my Tonight's Negroni email newsletter.
There's an organization here in my hometown that calls itself Industry Denver. While I'm not 100% sure what it is that they do as a business entity, I do know that they organize (and gather sponsorships for) friendly, themed cocktail competitions amongst the many excellent bars and restaurants in town.
Obviously, this is meant to drive some extra traffic to the participating establishments. Who knows, maybe there's some sponsor payola as well. Doesn't really matter to me.
The point being, as of April Fools Day (which is tomorrow, as I hunt and peck this now), twelve Denver drink slingers (a few among my very favorites) will be in the heat of "battle" of the Tour di Negroni!
Seriously, be still my heart! I mean, you realize the name of this newsletter, right? I'm considering printing cards and stickers all of a sudden...
How it works is: each establishment offers one traditional Negroni, following the classic 1:1:1 recipe of gin:Campari:sweet vermouth. Along side that, each will offer something a bit more fanciful inspired in someway by the Negroni.
The former offering takes us straight back to TN#9 and the notion of varying your variables. Everybody is using different gins and different vermouths. Twelve different Negronis just by changing the labels on the bottles!
The fancied-up versions range a spectrum of:
- Something made similarly with just three ingredients (but not the classic 1:1:1 ratio), but with ingredients with which most of us are totally unfamiliar.
- A cocktail with an ingredients list that looks like a dictionary and features ONE FULL OUNCE of Peychaud's bitters!
- Another one that has not only Basque cidre, but a bit of beer as well!
(If it's not obvious, I plan to try each of those I mentioned. I'm a big fan of all of those spots.)
This all so goes to show the infinite room there is for creativity in the world of cocktails. I recently read a great piece about naming cocktails. I big part of it was the idea that you might "invent" something and then find that someone else (maybe two hundred years ago) did pretty much the same thing. The anointed expert in the article held the position that one should surrender to the original, in terms of naming.
I agree with that... to a point.
If your "invented" ratio is an exact match, then I suggest you introduce your cocktail like so: "This is a Something Old, but I personally like to call it a Sex Panther*." You can then optionally tell the story how you came up with the recipe yourself, but then found out that it has existed since before your grandparents. At the very least this demonstrates you study and care for the cocktail craft.
(To you. Nobody else cares, really.)
If your recipe differs even a little bit (in ratio, not brand of ingredient), I believe you are safe serving your drink with "This is a Sex Panther*. It's really close to a Something Old, but I've tweaked it a bit with extra root beer schnapps." This demonstrates your creativity, but still shows you know where you're coming from, historically.
(To you. Nobody else cares, really.)
On that note, I'll give you the drink that inspired my Citrine recipe, for which I still haven't found prior art.
* Sex Panther was a real live drink I was served just last night at Bramble & Hare in Boulder. I believe the barkeep said he found the recipe in Seattle. The illustrative bit for the invention/naming conversation is that NONE of the recipes I have found online match the one I drank.
- 1oz Gin (I'm using Ford's because they sell it in liters at the same price point as equally good 750ml gin.)
- 1oz Green Chartreuse) (I'll be honest, I'm still working on Chartreuse. Talk about acquired tastes!)
- 1oz Sweet vermouth (Tonight: Gran Lusso.)
- Stir with ice.
- Strain into a cocktail glass.
- Garnish with a cherry and a lemon twist (if you're fancy).
- Pour everything into a glass with ice cubes and stir it with your finger, as I did.
- Because I'm a grown-ass man, home alone.
This one comes from the previously mentioned PDT Cocktail Book. The recipe apparently dates back to 1895 (aka "Something Old").
It's a doozy, but I recommend you try it. You never know your true boundaries unless you test them occasionally.