This weekend, with plenty of sunshine but nowhere to go (the socially distanced barbecues don’t start until Monday gents), we’re going to need something a little stronger than ginger beer – and the larger than life Big Mamma Group has created just the thing. Its all-singing, all-dancing trattorias Gloria and Circolo Popolare swept Londoners up in a frenzy of Campari and stracciatella when they launched last year, offering a happy atmosphere of Italian conviviality which seems a million miles away now. Thankfully, the team behind its cocktails have shared a lockdown-friendly recipe to bring a taste of that Italian magic to our own back gardens.
The Negronight Call is the negroni we know and love – strong, bittersweet, strangely addictive – with an extra Mexican je ne sais quoi. Alongside red vermouth, bitter Campari and classic dry gin, comes the addition of mezcal. The national spirit of Mexico takes its smoky flavour from a production process which sees the hearts of agave plants smoked in pits to release their flavours – and adds an intriguing depth and sophistication to this serve.
And, while it may sound complicated, this negroni twist is designed to be made at home – with ingredients you’ll use again and again – and no cocktail shaker required. Gloria’s head mixologist suggests using Bruxo X Mezcal, a post-distillation blend which claims to have notes of citrus peel, chamomile and honey. At 40% ABV, it packs quite a punch. For the vermouth, we’ve recently discovered Asterly Brother’s Estate English Vermouth – made in the Italian ‘rosso’ style but also infusing 31 botanicals with English pinot noir – but whatever is available in your local supermarket will do.
Of course, not everyone fancies themselves a mixologist. While we fully advocate stocking up on negroni essentials (the drink should be in everyone’s repertoire), those who don’t fancy trawling the supermarket for spirits do have other options. For anyone living within reach of Fitzrovia or Old Street, Big Mamma’s will deliver its cocktails straight to your door via Deliveroo while booze delivery services Rebellious Goods and Cocktail Porter are offering pre-mixed negronis and make-at-home kits big enough to last you all weekend.
Whatever your plans, put a negroni on the menu this summer.
30 ml red vermouth
30 ml Campari
30 ml gin
10 ml mezcal
50 ml chilled earl grey tea
A twist of orange peel
2 or 3 large ice cubes
Old Fashioned glass
- Start by making the tea. Infuse 1g loose leaf Earl Grey tea in 50ml of water until it tastes like regular strength tea, then strain and let it chill.
- Put 2-3 ice cubes in your sexiest Old Fashioned glass (a short tumbler will do if you don’t have all the gear at home).
- Pour the Campari, vermouth, gin and mezcal into the glass and stir.
- Take a piece of orange peel, twist slightly to release the essential oils, and place it on top for garnish.
Become a Gentleman’s Journal member. Find out more here.