Gung Hay Fat Choy to you all! It’s Chinese New Year! Growing up in the SF Bay Area meant many a fun trip to Chinatown for New Year festivities and I totally loved the parades! My darling girlfriend is Chinese American and so this celebration has taken on a whole new meaning for me! I’ve noticed that no other culture wishes that everyone has Luck as much as the Chinese culture. So to you all I say, “May you be prosperous and full of luck!”
Trivia? Which drink goes perfectly with the rich and varied flavours of Chinese food cause it cuts right through the mix? NEGRONI! Bing, Bing, Bing! You did it! The citrus and bitter notes of a Negroni pair well with the heavy foods in a traditional Chinese New Year dinner and Red is the color of the celebration.
This is not just any Negroni though, this is An Improved Negroni. You may be thinking, “this bitch, why does she think she can ‘improve’ a Negroni?” But I’m not such a crazy bitch! “Improved Cocktails” are actually a category of drink. If you look back on the grand history of cocktails, the original ones were in an Old Fashioned format. The “improvements” meant adding things like a dash of Absinthe or two dashes of Maraschino.
My improvements are: adjusting the ratios, adding Maraschino and using Blood Orange peel in the drink for added Citrusness. Sun Ye Fai Lok!
An Improved Negroni
- 1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin
- 3/4 oz Campari
- 3/4 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth
- 2 dashes Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
- Garnish: Blood Orange Peel
Combine ingredients and stir over ice until proper dilution has been achived. Strain into rocks glass with ice. Express Blood Orange Peel and Garnish.
An Improved Negroni in the wild at Chinese New Year 2014. I have switched vermouth since then y’all!
Let’s just look at this drink again. Campari, you make me turn red all over. Remember #EveryWeekIsNegroniWeek
So, it’s the week of Valentines, or as I like to call it, Valenspoons. I have no idea why I started calling it Valenspoons, perhaps it was because I like the way it sounds, it’s a silly sounding word. Perhaps I changed the name during one of those years when I did not have a sweetheart and was frustrated that this holiday even existed! Perhaps it was to mock the notion that there should be a Hallmark Holiday which encourages people to hit one another up on Tinder and have a dinner date + some Hanky Panky.
Speaking of Hanky Panky…
Do you all love Fernet-Branca as much as I do? Do you get that “Bartender’s Handshake” after a long night out? Do you drink Fernet-Branca after meals to savour the incredibly complex flavours and help settle your tummy? Do you think the Toronto is the best Manhattan Variation? Cause I do!
The Hanky Panky is one of my fave classic Gin cocktails, right up there with a Martinez, French 75 and Martini. Bonus: this drink was invented by a lady! Wooooo! Laaaaady! Ada Coleman was the head bartender at the Savoy American Bar in the early 20th C and the story goes that she created this cocktail for Sir Charles Hawtrey. When he had his first sip, he drained the whole glass and said, “By Jove! That is the real hanky-panky!”
- 1 1/2 oz Hayman’s Old Tom Gin or London Dry Gin
- 1 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
- 2 dashes Fernet-Branca
- Garnish: Orange peel
Combine ingredients and stir with ice. Strain into coupe, express Orange peel and garnish.
And since it’s Valenspoons, I’ve got a little variation for y’all! I decided to dry it out with Plymouth Gin, different specs, swap out the Orange peel for a Blood Orange peel and add some Scrappy’s Chocolate Bitters. Totes a Valenspoons drink now y’all! Fire up the Tindering!
Dirty Puzzle (Hanky Panky variation)
Combine ingredients and stir with ice. Strain into coupe, express Blood Orange peel and garnish.
Luv u Fernet-Branca. Luv y’all. Happy Valentimes.
Thanks to The Baddish Group for giving the opportunity to make these delicious drinks!