Having followed Manhatten Cocktail Classic through blogs, mail and updates from a friend who participated I found myself attracted to the concept of a Lavender Negroni.
It certainly looks pretty and I find the idea of the very umami taste of a Negroni mixed with the very floral taste of lavender intriguing. And I'm not the only one.
So I looked for the recipe - and checked my bitters cabinet for lavender bitter. I have a lovely bottle of Scrappy's that I picked up at Tales of the Cocktail last year I believe.
On closer inspection: I've not used it before - the bottle was unopened, but tasting it in a glass of water to figure out what else it could be used for I fell in love with the taste. It really does taste like sitting on my patio on a summer evening with the smell of lavender on the air, as cats and the wind agitates the plants.
And after cutting onions or handling smoked fish nothing is more effective than running your clean hands through the plants.
A little more research on Scrappy's let me to Bartender Journey - a treasure trove of great podcasts - where founder Miles Thomas talked about his bitters and bitters in general.
(If you have the time you should also listen to the interview with Jörg Meyer - the proprietor of my favorite bar in the world Le Lion and another bar in Hamburg.)
Meyer has some very interesting points about hiring bartenders for their kindness and social skill - and of course absolutely expect them to mix excellent cocktails. His point is, that you can train a smart person to make excellent cocktails but you can't train a person to be kind or socially skilled.
That approach to bar management is what sets Le Lion apart for me. And why I can't wait to make a second visit.
So I had the bitters, vermouth and Campari was chilling in the fridge. Now for the gin. Recently I bought a new British gin, distilled in Cornwall: Tarquin's Gin made by Southwestern Distillery. It's leaning towards the floral spectrum of gins without loosing the basic juniper taste that is the key to a good Negroni. Tarquin's taste like a labour of love, and judging by this little film it is.
So off to mix....
- 5 cl gin - I used Tarquin's
- 5 cl red vermouth - I used Martini Rosso
- 5 cl Campari
- Lavender Bitter - I used Scrappy's
Spray a little bitter across the top of the drink too and garnish with a sprig of lavender.
As my lavender is not yet in bloom (remember I live on the 56th parallel) I used the only little purple flower I could find: A sprig of chives cheerfully blooming between my neglected patio stones. My garden seems to run on this principle: Whatever I plant dies, whatever plants itself thrives.
But since I'm happy to report, that this is a winner, I'm sure I'll get to garnish a Lavender Negroni with lavender at a later date. Can't wait and I'll make it with Tarquin's again it works very well.