SRV Negroni (SRV)
Q&A: Jeff Pond of Area Four
Q&A: Deena Jalal of FoMu
Leave it to SRV, the South End’s Venetian-style “bacaro” (wine bar), to put a personal spin on that most Italian of cocktails: the Negroni. But how can anyone make a mark on a classic that consists of just three ingredients—Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth—mixed in equal proportion?
“One thing we try to hold onto is the use of Campari,” answers principal bartender John Benevides, “while using the other two components to essentially change the cocktail.”
Benevides switches things up with Alessio Vermouth Chinato and Death’s Door Gin. The former is more herbaceous and spicy than your typical vermouth, thanks to an extra helping of bitter cinchona bark and a blend of 25 herbs. The latter is a simple, London Dry-style gin with a powerful fennel kick.
“The focus is on incorporating those really great handcrafted ingredients to show how they can change a cocktail just by themselves,” says Benevides.
The Negroni produced by these ingredients is deep, dark, and rich. The tell-tale bittersweet Campari is still front and center, but it’s balanced by the complex, herbal flavors of the spirits that accompany it.
It tastes like something to sip on a wind-chilled New England night—precisely what it’s made for. At SRV, Negronis come in three seasonal renditions; this is the winter version, on offer from December until the start of patio season (pro tip: it can be requested all year-round). Once the patio opens, the Negroni turns lighter and more floral, making use of Hendrick’s Gin and Cocchi Rosa. And come fall, Cocchi Torino and Bully Boy Estate Gin (made with apple brandy) lend autumnal vibes.
The SRV Negroni is so popular that it’s served on draft. The bar team prepares it in six-liter batches, which the bacaro’s thirsty patrons gulp down in only a couple days. But it tastes just as great when concocted in a stirring glass for one.
1 ounce Death’s Door Gin
1 ounce Allessio Vermouth Chinato
1 ounce Campari
Orange peel twist, for garnish
Combine ingredients in stirring glass filled with ice. Stir until well chilled, and strain into old-fashioned glass with ice. Garnish with orange twist and serve.