The Negroni is one of those drinks – along with the bloody Mary – that I think sounds and looks amazing, yet tastes vile. We’ll talk about bloody Mary another time, but for now, let’s talk about the Negroni. It’s a sexy-looking, solid drink: like a molten sunset in a glass. It contains gin. It sounds nostalgic and exotic. And yet, I’ve never managed a whole one without grimacing. And I’ve identified the reason: Campari.
Before you write me off entirely – and I realise I’m in a minority here, especially with the people I drink with – let me assure you that I am working on it. I’d like to become a seasoned Campari drinker, who can nonchantly chug a Negroni on a warm summer’s evening and the wonder idly about having an Americano next. I’d mostly like not to be beaten by it.
So I decided to take the bull by the horns this week, but gently. And the vehicle for this Campari Aversion Therapy experiment? A Negroni-inspired granita. And before you get excited, I omitted the gin a genuine Negroni would contain on purpose, to keep the freezing-unfriendly alcohol content down.
Do you know what? It was pretty bloody good. I might even add more Campari next time.
- 400ml water
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 2 large oranges
- slug of sweet vermouth
- slug of Campari
Heat the water in a pan, adding the sugar and bubbling til it’s reduced by about a third. Chuck in a sliver of orange zest at this stage, if you like.
Let the syrup cool a little and then stir in the juice of the two oranges (a few pithless chunks of the flesh won’t hurt either) and a slug each of sweet vermouth and Campari. Taste and see whether you think it needs more.
Pour into a ceramic or glass freezer-proof bowl and freeze. After a few hours, take out and scrape at the surface with a fork, roughly breaking up the ice. Re-freeze and repeat this after another few hours. When you want to serve it, take the granita out of the freezer about 5 minutes before and scrape / bash it up with a fork once again. Campari officionados might like this with an extra shot poured over.