The Negroni’s appeal has endured since its purported origins in Florence in 1919. Count Camillo Negroni is said to have asked the bartender at the Caffè Casoni to swap out the soda water in his Americano for gin, and the rest is (unverifiable) history. So, it’s little surprise that a cocktail which began its life as a riff lends itself so well to new iterations.
Such is the feeling of Jean Paul “JP” Sabatier, one of three owners (including Drew Porterfield and Ralph Brabham) of Jane Jane in Washington, D.C. “The enduring appeal of a Negroni lies in its balance of flavors, as well as its unique simplicity,” says Sabatier, which “makes it a versatile drink that appeals to a wide range of palates.” The bar offers 45 classic cocktails plus a short list of house drinks, which almost always includes a Negroni riff. And this summer’s big hit? The Coconut and Strawberry Negroni.
A creation of manager Sherra Kurtz, she was inspired by Julie Reiner’s Kula Negroni, which features strawberry-infused Campari. Kutz expanded on that, with summer nights in mind, by incorporating coconut oil to fat-wash the gin, giving the end result a more silky mouthfeel. “Fat-washing is very on trend right now,” says Sabatier. “We sous vide both of these spirits which is an easy process but it also amplifies the flavors even more.” But will drinkers ever tire of Negroni riffs? “It’s hard to say. It has been enjoyed for over a century, and its enduring popularity suggests that its appeal will likely persist.”
Coconut and Strawberry Negroni Selling Points
- Sabatier calls out the burst of fruit from the strawberry-infused Campari and the hint of coconut for this variation’s appeal. “The combination of these two flavors along with the unique mouth feel makes for a delightful and refreshing variation on the classic,” he says.
- This riff is much lighter than the traditional Negroni, offering something for guests who might want less of an intense flavor experience.
- “With the resurgence of Aperitivo hour, it’s a great early evening cocktail,” says Sabatier.
Coconut and Strawberry Negroni Recipe
- 1 oz. strawberry-infused Campari *
- 1 oz. coconut fat-washed gin **
- 1 oz. Dolin Vermouth de Chambery Blanc
Method: Pour all the ingredients into a stirring glass. Add ice and stir for 45 seconds to a minute. Pour mixture into a rocks glass with fresh ice and garnish with a strawberry.
* Strawberry-infused Campari: Clean and cut the stems off one pint of strawberries. Pour them into a vacuum seal bag with a 750-milliliter bottle of Campari and seal. Place it in a circulator (sous vide machine) and sous vide for two hours at 70 degrees Celsius. Allow it to cool in the refrigerator overnight and then strain.
**Coconut fat-washed gin: Place a 750-milliliter bottle of Rieger’s gin and two-ounces of coconut oil into a vacuum seal bag and seal. Place in a circulator and sous vide for two hours at 70 degrees Celsius. Place the bag into a freezer and leave overnight. Strain the mix into a new container and remove the solidified fat.
Tyler Wetherall is the senior editor for SevenFifty Daily and the Beverage Media Group publications. Her drinks journalism has appeared in publications including Punch, The Guardian, Condé Nast Traveler, Thrillist, and The Spirits Business, which awarded her the Alan Lodge Young International Drinks Writer of the Year. Tyler is also the author of No Way Home: A Memoir of Life on the Run. Follow her on Instagram at @tylerwrites.