Make Your Negroni With Dry Vermouth

Ninety percent of the drinks I order at cocktail bars are Negronis. The holy trinity of gin, campari and sweet vermouth has an almost cosmic affinity similar to peanut butter and jelly, making the combination almost unmistakable. Too Much Gin? Still not bad. Super shitty ice? Whatever. Completely inept execution? Nobody cares. The worst negroni in a normal bar is still better than 90% martini. Aside from carelessness with vermouth, it is almost impossible to spoil a negroni.

However, this does not mean that you cannot get tired of them. Of course, some freaks on TLC have been eating PB&J every day for 40 years; but variety is the highlight of the True Life Channel and from time to time you need to find a new jam. Enter the Cardinal.

Cardinale differs from the typical Negroni by replacing sweet vermouth with dry and, as in many variations of Negroni, by changing the 1: 1: 1 ratio: to 1/12 ounce of alcohol (in this case still gin), 30 grams of vermouth (in this case dry) and an ounce of bitter (in this case Campari). This build makes the Cardinale drink more martini-like and is therefore often served.

As with any simple shake (or sandwich!), The choice of ingredients matters a lot. Gins can be fatty, spicy, mild, or citrusy. The choice of brand for bitter or vermouth makes the differences even more noticeable. The Negroni Temple Cafe Dante in New York, for example, uses Dorthy Parker gin, Lo-Fi dry vermouth and Contratto bitters ; but Beefeater, Valleys Dry and Campari are fine. To make a cardinal, you will need:

  • 1 1/2 ounce gin
  • ¾ ounce dry vermouth
  • Ounces of Campari

Add the ingredients to the mixing glass. Add cracked or diced ice (all the way up!) And stir (a lot). Strain into a chilled compartment. Decorate with a lemon wedge. Pairs well with PB&J. Seriously.

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