Neil, Eating isn't Cheating Tuesday, December 23, 2014
So when I was asked by Waitrose if I would like to come up with a winter cocktail using Hendrick's Gin, it was the first thing that came to mind.
Of course, 'tis the festive season and this isn't just any old Negroni I'll be making - This is my Christmas Spiced Clementine Negroni, something that I first made last year and which I'm sure will be a staple for years to come. I love it.
Personally I like to make a batch big enough for four people. That's a lie. I like to make a batch big enough for two people to have two, or one person to have four. It's Christmas, let your hair down.
Ingredients (makes four short, strong cocktails)
- 100ml Campari
- 100ml Martini Rosso (sweet vermouth)
- 100ml Good quality gin (I used Hendrick's)
- 4 cloves (plus more for garnish if wished)
- Stick of cinnamon
Start by very gently warming the vermouth and Campari in a pan with the spices and juice of one clementine (don't throw it away as we need the peel) for around 5 minutes - do not let this simmer, it should just warm on a medium-low heat or you will burn off all the alcohol. Remove to one side and allow to cool completely (around half an hour).
Next add a couple of handfuls of ice to a large jug and pour in the cooled mulled mixture, followed by the gin. Stir well for a minute or so, until well combined and the ice has broken down just a little bit.
Set out four old fashioned tumblers and half fill with ice (or use an ice ball as I like to), before pouring in the cocktail mix through a fine strainer, holding back the ice.
NB - The main thing is to stop the spices ending up in the glass, so no problem if you don't have a strainer - just hold the ice back extra carefully with your hand or a slotted spoon.
Finally slice four pieces of peel from the clementine, trying to get as little of the white pith as possible, and rub around each glass' rim before adding a cut and garnishing the side of the glass. Add a couple of cloves to the peel if you're feeling fancy.
This is really, really worth making. A fantastically spicy, Christmassy, classy cocktail that is bitter and aromatic yet has a beautiful background sweetness most Negroni's don't, thanks to the clementine juice. It tastes decadent and smooth, but the Campari keeps the sweetness in check.