How to make a cocktail: The Boutique Negroni
When it comes to quitting time after a hard night of service, a favourite order for many of the city's bartenders (aside from a massive pint of beer) is the classic Negroni cocktail. Refreshing, bittersweet, and containing plenty of booze, this drink has been soothing shattered nerves for years.
It is said to have been invented in the early 1900's by Italian aristocrat Count Camillo Negroni. As a regular customer at his local bar, his usual tipple was the hugely popular Americano (campari, vermouth and soda). After one day requesting that his bartender substitute his soda for gin, customers starting asking for the cocktail "the Negroni way."
Traditionally the Negroni is made with Campari, a bitter aperitif made by another Italian, Gaspare Campari. He created a formula that includes over 60 herbs and plants. The actual recipe is a closely guarded secret, although the drink is known for its flavour of bitter orange peel, rhubarb and quinine (a white powder from the Cinchona tree, also known for lending bitterness to tonic).
At Boutique Bar, in the Village, French-born owner Julien Salomone has decided to use another aperitif in the Campari family for his version of the Negroni: Aperol. It has a dark orange colour, with aromas of spice and herbs, and a taste of rhubarb and sweet orange. Unlike Campari, it has only 11% ABV and a markedly less bitter finish. He then adds Beefeater gin and, in place of the sweet vermouth, Dubonnet (a wine based aperitif, also flavoured with herbs, plants bitter orange and quinine).
Alongside modern twists on classic drinks, Boutique Bar also creates originals, such as the St. Germain.
The St.-Germain is a 'martini' made with an Elderflower liqueur of the same name. Made with handpicked Elderflower blossoms grown in the French alps, it has a pale golden colour, and flavours of peach, pear, lemon, grapefruit and orange. Julien shakes it with lemon juice and Beefeater gin and tops the mixture with cava before being garnished with a lemon twist.
As with many of the bars in the Village, Julien's cocktails are designed to be made quickly and easily for serving the throngs that pack his place every night, making them great for replicating at home.
The Boutique Negroni
3/4 oz of Aperol
3/4 oz of Dubonnet
3/4 of Beefeater Gin
Stir over ice
The St. Germain
3/4oz of St. Gemain Liquer
1oz of Beefeater Gin
1/2oz of Lemon Juice
Shake over ice, double strain into a chilled martini glass.
Top with cava and garnish with a lemon twist
Photos by Morris Lum