Summer Sip Upgrade: Wild Blackberry Negroni
The story goes that this classic cocktail was invented in Florence by a guy with the last name of Negroni. It was originally served in Italy as an aperitivo — a beverage, typically something bitter, taken before supper both to socialize and to stimulate hunger. Equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari, the Negroni is all at once bitter, sweet and smooth.
And as you might surmise from the short, yet potent ingredient list, it’s no shrinking violet.
This Sunday 21 June is both Father’s Day and the official start of summer — the longest day of the year. I won’t get to spend it with my own dad, or my husband or his dad for that matter. Still, a virtual clink is in order, and while all three are particularly appreciative of a well-made G&T, I’m offering a kickier twist: Wild Blackberry Negroni.
This version of the classic Italian cocktail offers a little something extra with fresh blackberries and sage. If other ripe fresh fruit and herbs sound better, go with your instinct and try those. Plump black cherries are hitting the markets here, and would go well in this drink. If you’re a classicist, a simple twist of orange is the way to go.
What’s in it for me?
Moderate intake* of alcohol may increase HDL (the “good”) cholesterol, lower LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol, and may reduce the risk of blood clotting. It has also been linked to a lower incidence of gallstones, reduced risk of some cancers, and decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. Bitter aperitivos specifically, like the Negroni, are taken to stimulate appetite by promoting production of digestive juices and enzymes, and were historically used to lessen symptoms of gastrointestinal issues.
Herbs used in the making of gin, vermouth and Campari have plentiful vitamins and minerals — potassium, calcium, and vitamins A and C to name a few — as well as antioxidants, that protect against disease and inflammation. Other compounds in herbs offer anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Made from a variety of red and white wine grapes, vermouth has some of the same health benefits of its less alcoholic cousins, like resveratrol and procyanidins, both of which may help prevent heart disease by improving cholesterol levels and protecting against artery damage.
Blackberries provide folic acid, fiber, and vitamin C. They also have one of the highest antioxidant contents per serving of any food tested, including phytonutrients like anthocyanin, associated with prevention of certain cancers, heart disease, and the age-related loss of cognitive function.
Take your beverage game up a notch with a Wild Blackberry Negroni — the perfect drink to toast a new season and linger over on the patio as you honor the wise and wonderful gentlemen in your life. Sante!
[If you prefer bubbles, try my equally as summery Fresh Thyme-Ginger Cava Cocktail!]
Tell me… What are your plans for this Father’s Day/Summer Solstice?
- 2 ounces dry gin
- 2 ounces Campari
- 2 ounces sweet/red vermouth
- 1 cup ice cubes
- Fresh blackberries, orange twists and/or fresh sage leaves, to garnish (optional)
- Combine the gin, Campari and vermouth to a glass and mix with a stir stick or spoon. Divide the mixture between two glasses. Serve on the rocks garnished with a few fresh blackberries, a twist of orange, and a decorative leaf or sprig of sage, if desired.
Recipe adapted from The Forest Feast.
*Please drink in moderation, and only if medically and legally able to do so. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate alcohol consumption is defined as “up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men.”
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