"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Negroni from Gourmet Today

Since I (now) work as a copywriter, I have an especial fondness for copy written well. Both of the Gourmet cookbooks satisfy on this count, and the head notes for Negroni are a perfect example.

As Italian as a Vespa but with more bracing zip, the Negroni is not for the faint of heart.

This is a perfect sentence. In only 19 words it gives you the pedigree of the drink, a little frisson of danger--AND it manages to be snarky (but only if you're experienced enough with scooters to get the joke.)

Anonymous Gourmet copywriters, wherever you now are--thank you. You've added an extra layer of pleasure to this awesome, self-appointed cook-through task of mine.

A Negroni is made up of gin, Campari and sweet vermouth in equal parts--which makes it super easy to remember and scale up or down as your needs dictate. If you are in the cocktail-drinking set, you're probably familiar with gin and possibly sweet vermouth (read an excellent article on vermouth here), but not too many folks seem to know exactly what Campari is, or what you might use it for.

You can use it to turn into a fairy:

A modern-day Ethel Merman:

A clown:

or a lover:

Doesn't it make you want to run right out and buy a bottle of the stuff? All well and good but be warned: our anonymous copywriter was correct--this stuff is NOT for the faint of heart. It's unbelievably bitter (maybe more so for me since I'm a SUPERTASTER) and needs moderating agents.

What's in it? According to Wikipedia it's an infusion of herbs and fruit--the red color comes (or used to come) from carmine, a dye made from crushed cochineal insects. Another tidbit from the interwebs--the inventor of this strange brew, Gaspare Campari, was a master drink maker at a bar in Turin by the age of 14. Take that, MCAS.

Why drink it? Well, why black coffee, hoppy beer, or 80% dark chocolate? A little bit of torture and even more pleasure.

This is the only recipe in the book that uses campari (though there's a recipe for Campari and grapefruit granita in the yellow book) but rest assured there are plenty more if you spring for a bottle--everything from a Malaria Killer to Fancy Nancy.

How is the Negroni? Well, it's bitter! But not unbearably so--I like these and have added them to my cocktail repertoire.

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