It’s Friday! Woohoo! Work is finished for the week (hopefully) so grab a gin and tonic and take a seat. I’ve got something interesting to share with you…
As much as I love the gin renaissance (or ginaissance) that is happening up and down the UK, I can’t help but hark back to times gone by when gin was the drink of choice for the well to do men and women of the early 20th Century. I love all the glitz and glamour of the Gatsby era and if it wasn’t for the small fact that women had very few rights (let’s not get all feminist here…) I would have loved to be a part of it. With that in mind, I’ve been trying to mix together some more classic gin cocktails.
You may have seen my Limoncello Gin Fizz, the Sour Cherry Gin Sling or even my Blood Orange Gin Fizz. But what I’m currently enjoying are classics like the Martini, Gimlet or the White Lady. My favourite classic cocktail of all, however, is the Negroni.
There’s no official story behind the creation of the negroni but there is one thing that most people agree on and that’s how to make it.
Negronis are made from one part gin, one part vermouth rosso (red, semi-sweet), and one part Campari, garnished with orange peel. It is considered an aperitif. The only issue is that not everyone has vermouth or Campari lying about in their drinks cupboard (that’s if you have a drinks cupboard at all!)
While Jon and I pride ourselves in having a ridiculously large alcohol collection it just doesn’t include vermouth or Campari so to get my Negroni fix I’ve moved on to something a little different, a high end pre-mixed version of the cocktail.
Vintage Cocktails from the Handmade Cocktail Company
The Handmade Cocktail Company is part of Maverick Drinks the same people who have brought us the likes of Professor Cornelius Ampleforth, St. George Spirits, That Boutique-Y Whisky Company and The Blended Whisky Company. I am a huge fan of Professor Cornelius Ampleforth gins with the Navy Strength Bath Tub gin and more recently a bottle of Old Tom taking pride of place in my drinks crate. (Yes I’m classy, I have a gin crate – Jon has a whisky hamper haha!)
The idea behind their Vintage Cocktail range is pretty simple – beyond just taking money from lazy folk like me – you get all of the taste of a high end, classic cocktail as if it has been mixed by a master mixologist with minimal effort. All you have to do is open the bottle, pour over ice, stir and then garnish with a twirl of fresh orange peel.
To make this pre-mixed Negroni the Handmade Cocktail Company have used a meticulously calculated blend of English copper pot-still gin, sweet vermouth and bitters. It’s clear that they have used only the best ingredients.
Cask Aged Negroni (4 months) tasting notes
So you’ve bought yourself a bottle of the Cask Aged Negroni (4 months). What does it taste like?
There’s no right or wrong when it comes to tasting a drink. The other half is more in tune to tasting whiskies so what he could taste was a little different to what I could. I’m not sure if his palate was more sensitive or whether mine was just more accustomed to gin but there were some points we could agree on. The following are some of my thoughts when smelling and tasting the Cask Aged Negroni (4 months) from the Handmade Cocktail Company.
On the nose: warm winter spices (vanilla, cinnamon), rich / stewed berries, plums, damson, sloes.
On the tongue: quite spicy / peppery, thick and oily, more like a sloe gin or red wine, well rounded and smooth.
At the end: long, soft fruity note, figs, plums, vanilla.
Overall this is really quite a mouthful! It’s very well rounded and has a soft, smooth finish.
Where to buy
So how much do you pay for a drink of this quality? On Master of Malt (my favourite website for all things alcoholic) they stock the full range of Vintage Cocktails from The Handmade Cocktail Company. The following is a price list for the different variations:
Negroni: £33.95 for a 70cl bottle
Cask-Aged Negroni (4 months): £14.95 for a 20cl bottle
Cask-Aged Negroni (12 months): £59.95 for a 20cl bottle
Antique Negroni – Batch 3 (1970s/early 1980s): £47.95 for a 20cl bottle
They are all quite different so it’s hard to say which one you should plump for. Personally, I think the Cask-Aged Negroni (4 months) is awesome, and at £14.95 (albeit for a small bottle) you can afford to give it a go and see what you think.
If you’ve tried one of the Negronis or any other cocktails from the Handmade Cocktail Company I’d love to hear what you thought! Perhaps we can compare notes?! Happy Friday everyone!
*Disclosure (of sorts): yet again I bring this review to you out of the goodness of my heart. At no point have I been contacted by the Handmade Cocktail Company or Master of Malt and either asked, or paid to say good things about them. I bought the Cask Aged Negroni (4 months) myself and loved it so much I just had to share – cheers!