Friday, June 17, 2011

The Latin Negroni: The Agavoni

One of the things that I've been seeing crop up more and more in both cocktail bars and in the cocktail nerd community is the mixing of geographically disparate spirits to make unconventional cocktails.  Although cocktails have always combined spirits from different places (think gin and vermouth or absinthe and rhy) for certain spirits, there seems to be a limited amount of geographic diversity.  I don't see too many Northern European spirits like genever gin mixed with rum for instance.  Sometimes there is a good reason for that because the flavors just don't work out but other times I think some creativity is rewarded.  That brings up a drink I made last night, the Agavoni, courtesy of Bastian Heuser editor of the German magazine, Mixology.

As the name somewhat implies, this drink combines agave, the primary ingredient of tequila, with the Negroni, an Italian cocktail that includes gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth.

The Agavoni

0.75 ounce of blanco tequila (Tres Generations)
0.75 ounce of Campari
0.75 ounces of sweet vermouth (Dolin)
2 dashes of orange bitters

Fill an old fashioned glass with ice cubes.  Add ingredients and stir gently.  Garnish with a grapefruit peal.

I thought that, while sharing the Negroni's bitter interplay between the vermouth and the Campari, the Agavoni, felt a little more accessible, even with the orange bitters.  The tequila created a smooth, almost herbal background when combined with the bitters and grapefruit peal oils.  All and all, this makes a nice sister drink the Negroni.  It is not as clean as the Negroni, but the added complexity is coherent and purposeful.

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