Not Quite Negroni Week: The Half Measure Cocktail Recipe
It seems we’re destined to be a little behind. The first week of June, 6000 bars and restaurants were mixing up one of our favorite cocktails for Negroni Week. We didn’t even know it was happening until, midweek, we started to see some of our favorite bartenders posting their Negroni Week photos on twitter.
Well, better late than never, right? Two weeks after Negroni Week proper, we’re holding our own Not Quite Negroni Week, featuring 5 not quite Negronis. All of them follow the wonderfully balanced classic Negroni pattern (1 part spirit: 1 part fortified wine: 1 part liqueur), and many of them contain at least one of the original Negroni ingredients (gin, sweet vermouth, Campari); but they also stretch the bounds of what it means to be a Negroni in one way or another.
Today we take on the very reason for the Negroni existing at all.
According to legend, Count Camillo Negroni’s favorite drink was the Americano, which is equal parts vermouth, Campari, and club soda. As the story goes, one particular day in 1919, the count wanted something a little more stiff; so he asked the bartender to substitute the usual club soda for gin instead. The (very lovely) light spritzer was immediately transformed into a legit, no kidding around, cocktail. The count had a new favorite drink, and the world had a Rushmore level cocktail.
We appreciate the count’s (as the legend goes) craving for a nice, strong drink. We also appreciate the count’s previous (according to the story) enjoyment of something on the lighter side. We’re big proponents of having low alcohol drinks in your range of options. So, we propose splitting the difference.
In the Half Measure, we use dry vermouth in place of the count’s club soda, and also in place of the count’s gin. It has quite a similar flavor profile to a classic Negroni, but you can drink it all night.
We used Aperol, rather than its more bitter sister Campari; so we guess this is technically a not quite Contessa, which makes it a not quite Negroni once removed. We think Campari, or really any of a range of orange rind liqueurs (here and here), would taste somewhat different but work equally well.
- 1 oz dry vermouth
- 1 oz sweet vermouth
- 1 oz Campari, or Aperol, Rinomato, or Gran Classico
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass.
- Fill with ice to the level of the liquid.
- Stir until the ice is noticeably melted.
- Strain into a cocktail glass.