Friday Cocktails: Twists on the Negroni

Zoe Schaeffer

Earlier this week, as the workday lapsed into cocktail hour, I got a hankering for a Negroni. A few other editors shared my interest in a cocktail, so I figured I'd mix up a whole batch with a bit of a twist: I swapped out the sweet vermouth for my favorite apéritif, the light, orangey Lillet Blanc. Brightened by a squeeze of lemon, a few dashes of bitters, and an herbaceous sprig of tarragon, the cocktail was delicious. But, alas, I only had enough Campari to make drinks for three of us, and there were another three editors' thirsts to slake. The next best thing on the shelf was Aperol, but it's sweeter than Campari and would have overwhelmed the drink's balance. So, instead, I decided to bump up the bitterness with a shot of Braulio, a strongly herbal Italian amaro. The results were beautiful; the Alpine-scented Braulio turned the second batch of drinks a rich amber hue, and gave the cocktail a pleasingly astringent edge. Tarragon seemed too subtle a garnish for such a bold cocktail, so I rolled with the drink's sharpness and used a sprig of rosemary. Sitting next to each other on the counter, the pair of drinks looked lovely together, siblings born of the same mother, related and yet distinct.