For our final column of the year, we’re looking at a truly seasonal cocktail. The Winter Negroni incorporates the wonderful sloe gin and whether you choose to make your own from an earlier seasonal harvest or buy off the shelf, this is a perfect drink for Christmas.
Evidence suggests that the gradual enclosure of the countryside to farmland in the late 16th century, resulted in the increasing use of the blackthorn bush (the plant that produces sloes) as its rigorous growth and thorns kept trespassers out and cattle in. This widespread use of the blackthorn in hedges dramatically increased the availability of sloes. Finding the berry too bitter to eat, the solution was to soak them in alcohol and sugar, with the drink of choice at the time being gin. Our modern day take on this classic cocktail is to replace the gin with campari for a slightly drier taste and its glorious deep red colour will add that festive appeal to any gathering. Take a sprig of rosemary and bruise a little with a pestle and mortar to ensure it remains intact but it is still able to release its flavours. Add one shot Campari, one shot sloe gin over a short glass filled with ice. Add the sprig of rosemary down the side of the glass and serve. Cheers and a happy Christmas from all at Cocktailmaker.