White Negroni

suze to use.jpg

A refreshing variation on an old standby

I often carry on about how much I love the classics, and I’m usually skeptical of variations on a standard recipe. The original Negroni is certainly one of those classics. This simple 1:1:1 combination of gin, Campari and sweet vermouth results in a complex flavor profile that has been soothing the tired and thirsty for more than a century. So, why mess with success?
Well, now and then, it’s a good idea to do exactly that. The White Negroni is just such a case. Light and refreshing with a sweet-bitter taste that’s perfect for hot weather.
Based on gin – always a good place to start! – and using Lillet Blanc instead of sweet vermouth, we then use a substitute for the Campari. There are lots of recipes out there, and in the spirit of public service, I have tried all I could find. I’ve settled on proportions, but have come to an impasse on the Campari substitute. 
So, I offer you both: two wonderful French aperitifs – Suze and Salers – neither of which I’d ever tried before. Both are a bit sweeter and less bitter than Campari, and both are lovely in this cocktail or to just sip on the rocks. 
So try both in the recipe below. After a couple, I guarantee you won’t much care – about which you use, or the hot weather, or anything. Did I say this was a good cocktail?

White Negroni

  • 2 ounces gin

  • 1 ounce Lillet Blanc

  • 1 ounce Suze or Salers Aperitif (by all means try them both!)

  • Dash of grapefruit bitters for spice, if you have them on hand (but no sweat if you don't)

Combine all the ingredients and shake ‘til it’s good and cold. You can serve it straight up, the way I like it, or over ice in a rocks glass. Great either way!