Here is a recipe for a barrel-aged Negroni:
- One 900ml Oak Barrel
- 300ml Campari
- 300ml sweet vermouth
- 300ml gin of your choice
- 12 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
- In a small barrel or an oak aging container, combine Gin, Campari, Angostura Bitters and Sweet Vermouth.
- Seal the barrel or container and let it age for at least 2 weeks, up to 3-6 months.
- To serve, strain the aged mixture into a bottle, or multiple bottles.
- When ready to serve, pour into a chilled rocks glass and add one large ice cube, with an orange peel to garnish.
Please keep in mind that aging time may vary depending on the size of the barrel or container and the desired level of aging. Also aging for too long might lead to off flavours, so adjust the time according to your preference. The measurements are 1:1:1 based between each ingredient.
Barrel Aged Negroni History
The Negroni is a classic cocktail that has been enjoyed for over a century. It was created in the early 1900s by Count Camillo Negroni, who was said to have asked a bartender in Florence, Italy to strengthen his favorite cocktail, the Americano, by adding gin instead of soda water. The result was a delicious, bitter-sweet cocktail that quickly gained popularity.
The concept of aging a Negroni in a barrel is relatively new, and likely started in the last two decades. This is because barrel aging cocktails is a recent trend, with many bars and mixologists experimenting with different methods and ingredients to create new flavors and depth. Aging a negroni in a barrel allows the flavors to meld together and for the drink to take on new notes and complexity from the wood, such as vanilla, caramel or toasted oak.
It’s important to note that not all Negroni variations need to be aged, it’s a matter of preference, and different variation can have different ageing times and results.
Barrel Aged Negroni Variations
he classic recipe. Here are a few examples:
- Classic Barrel-Aged Negroni: This variation is made by aging the traditional Negroni recipe (gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth) in a small barrel for at least a month. The aging process allows the flavors to meld together and for the drink to take on new notes and complexity from the wood.
- Smoked Barrel-Aged Negroni: This variation is made by smoking the ingredients (usually the gin) before aging the mixture. The smoky flavor adds an interesting twist to the classic recipe.
- Spiced Barrel-Aged Negroni: This variation is made by adding spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves to the mixture before aging. The spices infuse the drink with a warming, autumnal flavor.
- Coffee Barrel-Aged Negroni: This variation is made by aging the ingredients with coffee beans, which add a rich, roasty flavor to the drink.
- Sherry Barrel-Aged Negroni: This variation is made by aging the ingredients in sherry cask, which imparts nutty, fruity and complex notes.
- Maple Barrel-Aged Negroni: This variation is made by using maple as sweetener instead of Sweet vermouth, and aged in a barrel. This give a slightly sweet and floral notes to the drink.
You can also experiment with different types of barrels, gins, and aging times to create your own unique spin on the classic recipe.
Best Gin for a Barrel Aged Negroni
hat work well in a barrel-aged Negroni:
- London Dry Gin: This is a classic style of gin that is known for its dry, juniper-forward flavor. It works well in a barrel-aged Negroni because it can stand up to the bold, bitter flavors of the Campari and sweet vermouth.
- Old Tom Gin: This is a sweeter style of gin that was popular in the 19th century. Old Tom gin works well in a barrel-aged Negroni because it adds a touch of sweetness to balance out the bitter flavours.
- New Western Gin: This is a more recent style of gin that features a wider variety of botanicals than London dry gin. New Western gin works well in a barrel-aged Negroni because it can add complex, nuanced flavours to the drink.
- Genever: This is a style of gin that is made with a base of malt wine, which gives it a malty and lightly oaky flavour, making it a great option to add complexity to the barrel aged negroni
- Navy strength gin: This is a high proof gin, 57-60%, and works well in a barrel-aged negroni because the high alcohol can help with the extraction of flavours from the barrel.
Ultimately, the choice of gin will depend on your personal preferences and the flavours you want to achieve. It’s recommended trying different gins, experiment and see which one works best for you.
There are many gin brands that work well in a barrel-aged Negroni, but here are a few that are particularly well-suited to the task:
- Beefeater: This London dry gin is known for its bold, juniper-forward flavour that can stand up to the bitterness of Campari.
- Tanqueray: Another London dry gin, this one has a little more citrus notes and with a balanced mix of botanicals
- Plymouth: A unique style of gin that is protected by geographical indication, with a slightly sweeter and rounder profile, it works great in a barrel-aged Negroni.
- Ransom Old Tom Gin: This gin made with a traditional recipe and with a sweeter profile, it’s considered a favorite among many bartenders for barrel aged negronis.
- Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength: This gin uses a high percentage of angelica root and high-quality water to give it a great balance and a smoothness that works well in a barrel-aged Negroni.
- Bols Genever: a traditional Dutch gin, has a rich and malty profile, it’s a great choice for adding complexity and depth to a barrel-aged Negroni.
As I previously mentioned, the best gin for a barrel aged negroni depends on the preferences and what you want to achieve on the final flavour, so experimenting with different gin brands is a good way to find the perfect fit for you.
Featured Image by CocktailChef. For those who like whisky, try this Barrel Aged Boulevardier recipe.