A gin Negroni is called a Negroni, and a bourbon negroni is called a Boulevardier. So why doesn’t the mezcal Negroni have a name (other than Mezcal Negroni)? It should, seeing as how it’s arguably better than both of those other drinks. And, no, we’re not just doing that cute thing where we introduce a new cocktail by saying, “It’s one of the best drinks out there!” This is, very much, one of the best drinks out there. A Mezcal Negroni is also very easy to make, and it’s reminiscent of a late summer night near a bonfire.
How It Tastes: Bitter & Smoky
The Mezcal Negroni
- Rocks glass
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- 1 ounce Campari
- 1.25 ounce mezcal
Step One: Sweet Vermouth
People often ask us what sweet vermouth they should buy, and our default answer is Carpano Antica Formula. It’s rich and complex, you could easily drink it on its own, and it’s been around for several hundred years. But if you have something else, don’t sweat it. This cocktail is going to be delicious either way (as long as you keep your vermouth in the fridge). Add 1 ounce sweet vermouth to your mixing glass.
Step Two: Campari
A negroni without Campari is sort of like a Jurassic Park installment without Jeff Goldblum. It just doesn’t make sense. Put 1 ounce Campari in your mixing glass.
Step Three: Mezcal
A Negroni traditionally has equal amounts of sweet vermouth, Campari, and base spirit, but we’re bumping up the spirit because A) we like strong drinks, and B) sweet vermouth and Campari are both pretty thick and overwhelming. And if you’re wondering which mezcal you should buy, the simple answer is any mezcal. The mezcal market in the United States is growing fast, but it still isn’t anywhere near vodka or tequila, so manufacturers haven’t bothered to flood the market with cheap, bad stuff. That’s our theory at least. Pour 1.25 ounces of an inevitably good mezcal in your mixing glass.
Step Four: Stir
Yes, you’re eventually going to pour this drink over ice, but you need to stir it with some different ice first. That might seem strange and redundant - but this way, your Mezcal Negroni will be properly chilled and diluted when you pour it into your glass, and that first sip is going to taste like the beverage equivalent of a perfectly folded stack of fresh laundry. So go ahead and add a handful of ice (about 6 cubes) to your mixing glass, and stir for 20 seconds.
Next, pour your Mezcal Negroni over ice (we like one big cube) in a rocks glass (ideally, one that’s been sitting in your freezer chilling), garnish with an orange twist, and take that first sip. If this isn’t your new favorite cocktail by the end of the week, we’ll quit our jobs and attend a meditation retreat like Don Draper in the season finale of Mad Men. Maybe.