I’m the first to admit that I’m not a huge drinker; I’m more of a glass of wine and cheese kind of girl (thanks Italy), but since visiting Brazil, I’ll admit I’ll admit that a cocktail or two have snuck into the equation. What cocktail do I drink? I’ve become a fan of the Negroni. Why? The history of the 3 simple ingredients intrigued me and today on the blog, I share my findings.
FULL DISCLAIMER: I’M NOT A DOCTOR, nor is this in any way shape or form a medical opinion, more “folklore”/fun facts and my personal opinion – DRINK RESPONSIBLY
What are the ingredients of a Negroni?
A Classic Negroni consists of the following ingredients:
- 1 part Campari
- 1 part Sweet Vermouth
- 1 part Gin
- Ice and Fresh Orange
Way back when Campari first hit the market, the original recipe was entirely natural, flavoured with 68 different fruits, herbs and spices, including quinine, rhubarb, ginseng, the peel of bitter oranges, which were combined and macerated in a blend of distilled water and alcohol. It was then considered an aperitif by the Italians, where many believed it was a digestive tonic.
Way back then, the distinctive red colour of Campari was attained by the addition of a dye naturally produced by the South American cochineal insect. Unfortunately, some people were allergic to cochineal colouring and post 2007, the official recipe changed to include artificial colouring. Bummer! So what do we do now? When researching this piece/my cocktail, a number of blogs suggested switching Campari for Gran Classico Bitter. It’s made from a maceration of 25 aromatic herbs and roots including wormwood, gentian, bitter orange peel, rhubarb, and hyssop and skips the artificial colouring. I haven’t been able to find it since arriving home (Dan Murphy’s was sold out) but on all accounts, it’s apparently better tasting.
What’s Sweet Vermouth?
The second ingredient, Sweet Vermouth is a fortified wine that has spices, seeds, roots, bark and herbs, sugar (sometimes from beets, sometimes not), and alcohol is added to it before ageing. The word “vermouth” comes from the German word for wormwood, a plant with powerful medicinal qualities that has been ingested for centuries to treat varying ailments however it’s true claim to fame is an aperitif (another stimulant to digestion). HOWEVER, as you can imagine, medical journal’s are less inclined to dive into the medicinal properties of alcohol and as such, there isn’t much science (if any) to prove these claims.
The main ingredient in gin (Juniper Berries) is taken by many people as a daily supplement due to it’s “medicinal” properties. It has been known to combat infection, renal insufficiency, bad coughs and lung congestion traditionally. However, the science fails to define whether or not these benefits translating all the way across to gin; however a little ancient medicinal wisdom, whether it is fact or fiction, intrigued me.
So why did I post this?
If you love a little ancient wisdom or traditional medicine, these three ingredients combined may also intrigue you. It’s also a cocktail without any added sugar and in some cultures these liquors are still used as digestive tonics. Not only that, these alcohols are made using a range of medicinal herbs and spices, something that really blew my mind. It got me thinking, is it that all alcohol is bad or is it that when we consume it in excess, we create a number of problems? Yes, it all still has to be detoxified by the liver, but when consumed sparingly, in a relaxed and present state, could alcohol have it’s place as an aperitif or is it complete fiction? A lot of questions raised, and not a lot of answers, but a topic for discussion nonetheless.
Again, FULL DISCLAIMER, I am not a doctor, nor do I encourage, recommend or suggest anyone takes up drinking any of these liquors for their unsubstantiated “medicinal” qualities. This is merely a piece discussing the origins and ingredients of these liquors. Always DRINK RESPONSIBLY.