Christmas Spiced Clementine Negroni

The Negroni is my favourite cocktail. Bitter, strong, pungent and aromatic - it is an assault on the senses that is very much an acquired taste.

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
  • Clementine
Method

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.

Wonderful!

 

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