Kingston Negroni with Candied Grapefruit Peel
Summer is winding down. I put on a jacket this morning, and not just as a fashion statement which is so often the case here in SoCal. This morning I needed warmth.
Summer drinks have been daiquiris for me of late. All prompted by a good friend that searches the globe for good daiquiris. In New Orleans, he was met with "you know all daiquiris are blended right?"...and yet he persevered. I've had plenty of good rum, lime, sugar daiquiris (shaken, not blended) this summer. But now, now it's time for a little warmer flavors. Something not to refresh you, but to warm your innards a little...yet nothing as heavy handed as a Hot Toddy.
And that's where my friend comes in again. Kingston Negronis. Not only does he love them, he made them for me the first time I experienced them. He also inspired me to learn more about making candied grapefruit peel, after talking about a time he had the confection in a Negroni and how lovely it was. He and I, we eat and drink often...he has some influence on my life. See those lovely glasses, he bought those for my house last year after realizing there was a need for real Kingston Negroni glasses in our house...where we seem to have Friday night dinners often...and a regular cocktail glass just won't do. These glasses are fashioned after the glasses used in the late, great Four Season's bar in New York City. Not the hotel chain, the Four Seasons, but the restaurant and bar that opened in 1959 on Park Avenue...recently closed and hopefully relocating sometime next year. I treasure the glassware a bit.
Being able to bring them out to drink in again, as the days get shorter and colder, has been uplifting. Getting to make a lovely drink that oozes warmth and sunshine, even better.
A normal Negroni is made with whiskey. I think I've hinted before that I'm not the biggest fan of whiskey. If I haven't, well, now you know. Kingston Negronis are made with rum (sensing a theme with my friend's drinks?). I like rum.
There are all sorts of recipes out there for these drinks. Most of them follow this recipe pretty closely...some calling for a different brand or a slightly different mix of liquor quantities. I normally go about like this:
1 part rum
1 part sweet vermouth (though I've been known to use whatever vermouth I have in the cabinet)
1 part Campari (that I don't change up)
As many parts as I decide of Candied Grapefruit Peel
So this recipe is for one drink. But I prefer to drink with friends so normally I'll do 4x this recipe.
To get started, I pull out the trusty shaker my husband prefers. We have all kinds of shakers around the house, mostly because my husband was on the search for the perfect one...the one that doesn't stick together, doesn't spill as you're shaking and doesn't freeze your hands as you are using it. This one won.
I like to fill my shaker with ice, about half full. This allows for plenty of liquid but still makes sure you're able to cool all the ingredients quickly.
Now, add your liquids...in this case I did 4 oz rum, 4 oz Campari, 4 oz vermouth. The color is amazing isn't it?
Shake, shake, shake...then pour, pour pour. It's that easy.
Now is when you pull out those pieces of candied grapefruit peel, consider dunking one in your drink and then letting it hang along the side as a lovely conversation piece. Or do as we do...and open the jar, take out a few pieces and start to eat...then sip, then eat...then sip. I admit, I like my drinks with a little more peel than just garnish. Let's call it a drink with a snack.
Keep in mind as you sit, sipping...this drink is more like a martini...only alcohols were mixed to make it. These can pack a punch! I learned this the hard way one time as we were making drinks and enjoying our new glassware. One drink is nice...three becomes a problem! But that color and the flavor and the candied confections to go with it...so hard to resist!