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How to make the perfect Mezcal Negroni

Negronis and mezcal are two things in the drinks world that will never go out of fashion, so it makes perfect sense that their paths now cross in a collision course set for a satisfyingly smoky twist of the classic bittersweet cocktail.

First, a quick introduction…

What is mezcal?

Mezcal is a traditional Mexican spirit distilled from the cooked and fermented sap of various species of agave plants. Unlike Tequila, which is made exclusively from blue weber agave, mezcal can be produced from over 30 varieties, offering a wide range of flavours and complexities. The process begins by harvesting the agave plants, which can take anywhere from seven to 30 years to mature. The heart of the agave, known as the piña, is cooked inside stone-lined earthen pits filled with wood and charcoal. This underground roasting gives mezcal its distinctive smoky flavour profile. After cooking, the piñas are crushed to extract the agave juice for fermentation and distillation. 

Mezcal is celebrated for its artisanal production methods, which have been passed down through generations, and its deep, smoky flavour profile that varies significantly depending on the type of agave used, the production region, and the methods of the mezcalero (mezcal producer). This spirit is deeply rooted in Mexican culture, often enjoyed neat, and is gaining popularity worldwide as a versatile and complex spirit suitable for sipping or as a base in cocktails.

What is a Negroni?

Renowned for its perfectly balanced blend of bitterness, sweetness, and botanicals, the Negroni is one of the simplest cocktails to make and one of the most satisfying to drink. With equal parts of just three ingredients: gin, bitters such as Campari, and sweet vermouth, it’s all about balance when creating this sophisticated yet straightforward serve. Balance and stirring. Never underestimate the importance of stirring. 

The Negroni is usually attributed to Count Camillo Negroni in the 1920s, who asked the bartender Forsco Scarselli at the Café Casoni in Florence to make his Americano (Campari and Italian vermouth with soda water) a little stronger. Over a century later, it continues to reign supreme as a beloved staple in bars and homes the world over.

Stirred, not shaken

The golden ratio

With such solid and simple foundations, there’s plenty of scope for experimentation when stirring up a Negroni. Most recipes call for Martini Rosso and Campari but there are dozens of different vermouth and bitter brands you could use. Gin is the traditional base spirit of choice, but it’s no surprise that with mezcal’s growing popularity, the Mezcal Negroni is now an official thing and in place of juniper and botanicals, the vibrant, herbaceous, often smoky profile of the spirit complements the cocktail’s bittersweet profile superbly.

The great thing about mezcal is that there’s a whole world of flavour in this category from pungent, smoky spirits to sweet easy-going sippers and toffee-tinged oak-aged examples. There really is a mezcal for everyone. Perhaps something from our round-up of affordable mezcals right here? If you like things zesty, Dangerous Don Mandarina Mezcal will take things to the next level!

Finally a word on ratios. Campari and vermouth both have punchy flavours. While a full-on mezcal like QuiQuiRiQui Matatlan might work brilliantly in a 1:1:1 Negroni, you might want to up the spirit quotient with smoother mezcals to 2:1:1. Fiddle around and find out how you like yours. 

How to make the perfect Mezcal Negroni


35ml Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
35ml Campari
35ml Martini Rosso vermouth


Fill a tumbler with a large cube of ice, add all the ingredients and stir until nice and cold. Express an orange twist over the top and drop it in. Could not be simpler.

The post How to make the perfect Mezcal Negroni appeared first on Master of Malt Blog.

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