Tag: gin

A Twist on the Negroni

As a devoted fan of the citrusy, slightly bitter taste of Campari, I’m naturally a proponent of the Negroni cocktail as well.  One part Campari, one part gin (another spirit I’ve grown particularly fond of lately), and one part vermouth; the Negroni is fairly simple to make.  I had the pleasure of sipping a cedar infused version of this cocktail recently, which only augmented my admiration for the drink.  Then, as luck would have it, Negroni Week came along (sponsored both by  Campari and Imbibe Magazine to raise funds for charitable organizations).  At first, I was over the moon.  This enthusiasm quickly turned to mania in an effort to create my own twist on a Negroni that–I hoped–would be every bit as clever and delicious as that cedar-scented incarnation.     twist on a negroni 1

As I mentioned, I’ve been a big fan of gin lately and, to that end, I had already set about infusing gin with bay leaves and peppercorns.  It seemed I was fated to use this concoction in my Negroni.  I was pleased with the results of the infusion.  It took that herbaceous quality of the gin and enhanced with a certain earthiness and spice.

However, when I added the Campari and vermouth to my new and improved gin, the bay leaves got a little lost due to the strong flavors of the other players in the trio.  Instead, the mixture became medicinal and perhaps too intense.  I decided it needed some sweetness to balance the other forces.

motley negroni 5

After a great deal of contemplation and experimentation, I finally developed a plan, using these…


  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz bay leaf, peppercorn infused gin
  • 1 oz dry vermouth
  • 5 grapes, cut in half and charred with a culinary blow torch
  • Ice


Muddle 4 of the 5 grapes with the Campari, gin, and vermouth in a cocktail shaker.  Add ice and shake.  Drain into a short glass.  Slide the 2 charred grape halves onto a cocktail pick for garnish.  Enjoy!

negroni cocktail for negroni week 4

As noted earlier, my dilemma was how to add sweetness to this drink.  Some kind of citrus would have been the obvious answer to play off of the Campari’s notes.  Instead, I looked to grapes, the fruit from which vermouth is distilled.  To make it a little more interesting and marry with the more intense, savory flavors of the spirits, I decided to char the grapes, imparting a subtle taste of charcoal into the mix.

The end result had the balance I was hoping to achieve.  Citrus and sweetness are balanced by bitter herbs and a peppery, cinder finish.  It’s a little more complex than the classic Negroni.  Was it as good as the cedar Negroni?  That’s tough to say.  I guess I’ll have to revisit that one.

negroni on motley decor 3

Happy (end of) Negroni Week!  Cheers!

A Cocktail with a Certain Gin e Sais Quoi

My husband and I went nuts recently when our neighbors left a huge bag of kumquats on our doorstep.  For several nights, we punctuated our dinners by feverishly devouring the orange gems like they were popcorn.  However, we soon had to face reality…we would never be able to eat them all before they started to go bad.  Panicking, my mind immediately went to one place: cocktails!

Some of the kumquats were used to infuse vodka, which gave birth the Kumquat Fennel Vodka Soda.  The remaining fruit was distilled into kumquat simple syrup and underwent several rounds of imbibing experimentation.  Of all of the would-be kumquat cocktails, one recipe involving gin, the essence of rose petals, and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice rose to the top.  You might say it had a certain “gene gin e sais quoi”.  And so it was named.

Here’s the recipe…

A Cocktail with a Certain Gin e Sais Quoi on MotleyDecor.com | Gin, Kumquat & Rose Cocktail Recipe


2 oz gin

1 oz kumquat simple syrup (recipe below)

1 oz freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

2 spritzes rosewater

Rose petals for garnish


Combine gin, kumquat simple syrup, and grapefruit juice in a cocktail shaker with a couple of ice cubes and shake.  Drain (strain) into a champagne coupe.  Spritz twice with rosewater and garnish with a floating rose petal.  Enjoy with your pinky high in the air, because you’re classy like that.

Kumquat Simple Syrup Recipe:

Boil water, stirring in an equal volume of sugar.  Shut off heat and let cool for a couple of minutes once the sugar is completely dissolved.  Add a handful of chopped kumquats, stirring occasionally.  Let the mixture sit for several minutes, tasting it from time to time.  When the syrup has enough kumquat  flavor for your liking, strain the mixture and transfer it to a sealed container.  Store your kumquat simple syrup in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.  This may mean you will have to make a lot of kumquat cocktails in a two week period, but such is life.

A Cocktail with a Certain Gin e Sais Quoi on MotleyDecor.com | Gin, Kumquat & Rose Cocktail Recipe

Happy Friday!

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