Mention a Negroni to me, and I'll try to get out of whatever I'm doing and meet you for one. I'm not alone on this obsession; there's even an entire week dedicated to this Italian classic cocktail. Equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, the Negroni is a serious cocktail that carefully balances slightly sweet with boldly bitter.
A traditional Negroni is stirred and served either "up" in a chilled coupe or on the rocks, but I've decided to give it a springtime twist: Negroni, meet blender.
First up in this series of blended cocktails is the Negroni. It isn't the tamest of cocktails in the first place, so I opted to add a little freshly squeezed blood orange juice to round out the flavor profile. Many times, when I'm making a frozen version of a cocktail, I will add just a little simple syrup or juice to bring balance. Simply blending heavier spirits with a lot of ice makes for an imbalanced frozen drink. Here, that little pop of sweetness from the fresh blood orange juice really ties the various components of a frozen drink together.
If you're wondering which style of gin to use, opt for a dry gin with more pronounced, complementary citrus notes. I usually go for Tanqueray or Boodles. Both are London dry gins and are easy to find. Regarding sweet vermouth, either Carpano Antica Formula or La Quintinye Rouge is a good call; they're both complex and not too sweet.
Frozen Blood Orange Negroni
For the cocktail: 1 ounce gin (I used Boodles)
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth (I used La Quintinye Rouge)
3 ounces freshly squeezed blood orange juice (about 1 1/2 blood oranges)
1 1/2 to 2 cups ice, preferably crushed
Fresh thyme sprigs, for garnish
For the cocktail: In a blender, combine the gin, Campari, sweet vermouth, and blood orange juice. Add ice and blend, starting on the lowest setting and increasing to the highest setting. Add more ice if you desire a thicker consistency. Pour the frozen Negroni into chilled glasses and garnish with a sprig of thyme or an orange wheel.
If you can, use crushed ice. Your cocktail will blend easier and make a smoother drink. If you can't find crushed ice, make your own by wrapping ice cubes in a kitchen towel and smashing them with a meat tenderizer or mallet.
Take the time to pre-chill your spirits and juice, so that the ice remains cold and doesn't quickly dilute the drink when you mix it.
Prefer a less boozy version? Simply add a touch more ice and a splash more blood orange juice.
Blood oranges not in season? Oranges or ruby red grapefruits make a great substitution.