Daily Mail

Is it just ME

Or does a ready-made negroni take the joy out of cocktails?

- By Mark Palmer

WHEN is a ‘cocktail’ not a cocktail? I would say when it comes in a tin or ready mixed in a pretty bottle with a trendy label designed by thrusting young creatives operating out of a warehouse in nowheresv i l l e but pretending they’re in San Francisco.

And, yet , they ’ re everywhere. Even Marks & Spencer has a whole range of alcoholic mixed drinks devised by — heaven help us — ‘The Marksologi­st’.

There’s an £18, 50cl bottle of ‘Verdita Margarita’, for example, with all sorts of suspicious things in it, including ‘ coriander flavouring’. Worse is the horribly- named ‘ Sloegroni’, described as a ‘wintry twist on the classic negroni’ but sounding more like a perverted betrayal.

‘Just pour over ice and enjoy,’ they say. But where’s the theatre? The romance?

Where’s the romance in a pre-mixed cocktail? Making one should be a performanc­e.

Making a cocktail requires double measures of effort, a dash of daring and a twist of individual­ity. It’s a performanc­e, a skill.

Take the negroni — a holy trinity with equal measures of Campari, gin and sweet vermouth. Make it at home and it’s like conducting a three-part harmony. Want a little more kick? Up the gin quota. Looking for sweetness? Add extra vermouth.

You can’t do that with a ready- made version. There’s no ritual in pouring a pre-mixed cocktail into a glass.

Waitrose is getting in on the act, too, promoting a ready mixed daiquiri made by a company called Tails. Rightly, it’s made with a rum base but the lime juice is, obviously, from concentrat­e not fresh and there’s no mention of syrup.

So let’s can the horrid pre-mixed cocktail. Go to a bar or Google a recipe — and let the thrusting creatives find something else to ruin.

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