Cocktail Guess: “Make Me Something with Campari”
Where: Café Saint-Ex, 1847 14th St. NW
Bartender Response: “A Campari and soda?” We pressed for something more creative.
What We Got: A Negroni made with gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, garnished with a cherry and orange slice
How It Tasted: Surprisingly heavy on gin
Improv Points (1-5): 3. A Negroni is a standard Campari cocktail, but this concoction was half gin, instead of the usual third. A Negroni is no place to revive the 18th century Gin Craze.
Where: Bourbon, 2321 18th St. NW
Bartender Response: “Yeah, sure.”
What We Got: Broker’s gin, Cointreau, Campari, and orange bitters served up with an orange peel
How It Tasted: This drink had a megadose of citrus, but that didn’t detract from the herbal notes in the gin and Campari.
Improv Points (1-5): 4. This is quite close to a classic Negroni, but all that orange made for something fresh and unusual. And we were glad our bartender didn’t shy away from a double dose of bitters.
Where: Elisir, 427 11th St. NW
Bartender Response: “A Negroni?” When pressed for something else, he responded, “I’m not too familiar with Campari drinks.”
What We Got: A Negroni made with gin, sweet vermouth, Campari, a cherry, and a sliver of orange peel
How It Tasted: Slightly fruitier than the Saint-Ex version. Placing the orange peel in the glass enhanced the citric fragrance that complements a Campari’s subtly bitter aftertaste.
Improv Points (1-5): 3. Mixing equal parts gin, vermouth, and Campari is the right combination. Even though it’s a proper Negroni, it’s still yet another Negroni.