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Drink of the Week: the White Negroni

Arianna Auber
aauber@statesman.com

The Negroni has always been a playful back-and-forth between bitter and sweet, and it’s typically a deep ruby color thanks to the Campari added to it.

But what if you’d prefer to substitute Campari for something else? The liqueur has had artificial coloring added to it since 2007 to get the scarlet hue that had previously come from the dye produced by a South American insect, and for people who want more natural, full-flavored aperitifs, other options are available — in particular, Switzerland’s Gran Classico Bitter. It’s more potent and more viscous, with infusions of numerous herbs and roots, including wormwood, the ingredient that made absinthe verboten for so long. It isn’t red, but it will still help create that balance of flavors the Negroni is known for.

The 86 Co., a group of bartenders who created their own brand of spirits in 2012, played around with the classic idea of a Negroni for this recipe using their Fords Gin, a London Dry style that will help to offset the bitterness of the Gran Classico. Another difference with the White Negroni versus others is the Dolin Blanc vermouth, which isn’t quite as sweet as the vermouth usually added.

White Negroni

1¾ oz. Fords Gin

¾ oz. Gran Classico

1 oz lavender-infused Dolin Blanc vermouth (see below)

1 lemon wheel for garnish

Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass. Add large cold ice and stir for 40 revolutions. Strain over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with lemon wheel.

Lavender-Infused Dolin Blanc Vermouth

2 tbs. dry lavender

1 liter Dolin Blanc vermouth

Place lavender in a small sauce pan on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of vermouth. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Let stand until cool.

Add remaining vermouth and strain through a cheese cloth. Bottle and store at room temperature. Yields 1 liter.

— The 86 Co.