My Favorite Cocktail

My fave Negroni, with a big orange twist.
My fave Negroni, with a big orange twist.

In my household, there is no argument as to what our most favored cocktail is.

But there is disagreement over whose drink of choice it was first.

Let’s just say that I’m convinced I chose the Negroni way before my husband did.

After all, he can’t even tell you why he likes it. But I can. It’s all about that delightful bitter orange taste that does it for me, like that of the prized rind of Seville oranges in marmalade.

So when a review copy of the new “San Francisco Cocktails” (Cider Mill Press) landed on my porch, it was the perfect excuse to make at home the satisfying sip I usually order out.

This fun book is by my friend and colleague Trevor Felch, a Bay Area food and drinks writer who has assembled 100 San Francisco cocktail recipes and the stories behind them. Holy moly, just imagine the tipsy time testing all of those.

The drinks are arranged by San Francisco neighborhoods. There are even some from the other parts of the Bay, too.

Whether you like the simple, such as the three-ingredient “Bee’s Knees” made with gin or the creative, such as Trick Dog’s spicy “Sam Flores” made with homemade pear cardamom horchata or the dramatic, such as the “Lavender Dreams” topped with foamy “Lavender Bubbles” made by frothing a homemade lavender syrup, you’re sure to find an old or new favorite.

As Felch notes, the Negroni may have been invented in Italy, but it has definitely proved a crowd-pleaser in San Francisco. Maybe it’s because we in the Bay Area love Italian food so much, Felch muses. After all, San Franciscans can’t get enough of Negroni Week, the promotion in which bars all across the city come up with their riffs on the classic to support charities.

This particular version of the Negroni comes from Tony Dilorio, longtime bartender at Poggio in Sausalito. It’s just three ingredients, and takes no time at all to make.

It’s the perfect sip while you get dinner on the table, especially if that meal includes anything with citrusy shrimp or pasta.

Don’t be surprised if the Negroni wins you over, too.

Getting ready to shake things up.
Getting ready to shake things up.

Tony Negroni

(Makes 1 cocktail)

1 ounce Bombay Sapphire Gin

1 ounce Campari

1 ounce Carpano Antica Vermouth

Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with cracked ice, shake vigorously, and strain into a chilled rocks glass or over cubed ice.

Garnish with orange peel twist or orange slice, depending on how you choose to serve the drink.

From “San Francisco Cocktails” by Trevor Felch

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  • Our best friends love a Negroni so I keep all the ingredients stocked but I don’t drink them myself. As often as I have tried, I don’t care for Campari.

  • +1. I like the Boulevardier variant, which uses bourbon instead of gin.

  • Hi Karen: I had to learn to love Campari, too. In my 20s, I think I was all about the tropical, fruity cocktails. But now that I’m older, I so appreciate a cocktail with a nice bitter edge.

  • Hi Moe: I am definitely going to have to try that, as I can see how the sweet smokiness of bourbon would be ideal with that orange-rind edge of Campari. Sounds super delicious!

  • And what’s so special about this, it is the standard recipe Gin, Campari & Sweet Vermouth equal parts, so does shaking makes it Tony’s version.

    But why the shaking? I am still not following, why mess up something that is just perfect.

  • Hi Count Negroni: That is a good question that wasn’t necessarily answered in the book. I know the shaking of a Negroni can be rather controversial, so that might be what sets Tony’s version apart. Plus perhaps his choice of gin and vermouth brands. In any event, I’ll drink to that. 😉

  • I love a good Negroni. It’s a good drink any time of the year but I always ask it light with the Vermouth.

  • Hi Pascale: Ooh, I’m going to have to try it with less vermouth to see how that changes it up. I’m glad you are such a big Negroni fan, too. Cheers!

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