The Negroni has had a big resurgence in the last few years and with good reason. In a sea of overly sweet and formulaic cocktails, the Negroni is a staple whose bittersweet notes hit the spot while even the most junior of bartenders find it hard to get it wrong. It’s also a cocktail which lends itself well to a myriad of variations, like this Szechuan Pepper Negroni.
The Szechuan Pepper Negroni follows the classic proportions – equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth (in this case Carpano Antica Formula) but the drink is pre-mixed in batches and cooked at a low temperature (52C) using a Nomiku immersion circulator with a good helping of fresh, citrusy Szechuan pepper. Using the Nomiku in a water bath helps meld the flavours in a harmonious way, rather like a rapid barrel-aging process, but in this case it takes an hour or so rather than months.
The classic tongue-tingling anaesthetic effect of the Szechuan pepper on the tip of the tongue that feels rather like French kissing a AA battery (so I’m informed), survives in all it’s glory and adds an interesting new dimension to this fabulous cocktail.