Negronis with the O.G. Homies

By Lisa Elbert


Lisa Elbert
Eben Freeman making his Camparinette at ICC 2015.
Eben Freeman making his Camparinette at ICC 2015.

“For those of you who are here for an informative session, I'm sorry. That's not what this is,” said Eben Freemen of AvroKO Hospitality Group as he swirled the contents of the Gallone mixing glass, his wrist flicking on fleek. Freeman brought together a gang of the good time guys and gals, the O.G. homies, and their protégées for good measure. Jim Meehan, Toby Maloney, and Katie Stipe, Nacho Jimenez, Jeff Bell, James Beck, and Natasha David joined Freeman to mix it up and spread the negroni love at ICC this year.

“There's a lot of discussion, debate, and inquiry into this drink. It very well may be the most popular cocktail,” Freeman explained. The reason? “It's a safe drink to order. As long as the bartender's vermouth isn't too old, most of them can figure out how to make a decent negroni.”

Freeman's negroni, the Camparinette, is seemingly straightforward: 1 ounce Campari, 1 ounce Carpano Antica Formula vermouth (remember, not too old), 1½ ounce Tanqueray gin, and a flaming orange coin. In the Gallone mixing glass, Freeman combined all ingredients, swirled for 20 seconds, and then strained the drink into a coupe. 

“I played with it, and I found what I like,” said Freeman. Eschewing the standard equal parts recipe, Freeman explained his reasoning for each ingredient, and the role it plays in elevating his take on the classic. “Vermouth is strong with its vanilla notes, and the Campari with its bitter notes, so it's those two that are the most cloying. And I love the juniper notes in Tanqueray (no, I do not work for them), but I feel that by adding an extra half ounce of it, it's very well balanced.”

And then, there was fire. “I'm also going to try to flame an orange twist, which is the stupidest thing to do in front of 40 people, but I like the flavor of the char on the finish.” So do we, and there's nothing wrong with a little show to enhance a good gin buzz. 


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