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NEGRONI INSPIRED DRINK MENU

NEGRONI INSPIRED DRINK MENU

The annual seven-day stretch (sponsored by Imbibe Magazine and Campari) honors the classic cocktail and raises money for charity. Although we’re not licensed to sell alcohol, we found inspiration by Negroni Week and curated three unique variations using our coffee and tea.

One of the things that a classic cocktail, such as a negroni, achieves is the creation of a drink that pairs ingredients well, allowing each to have its say while being part of a larger experience. We don’t often see coffee being conceived of in this way. Rather, the prevailing view seems to be in favor of championing a “pure” coffee experience. It makes sense, as consistently making a coffee taste delicious can be hard enough.

What we stand to gain by championing coffee as an ingredient outweighs the risks and effort it takes to incorporate it into a delicious drink. This is one of the ideas animating our Featured Friday menu, as well as our Seasonal Drink menu — to recast coffee in a different light, to celebrate a coffee’s unique flavors by designing a whole drink around them. Suggestive, while also being delicious. Negroni Week serves as a perfect platform for us to showcase those ideas, have some fun, raise money for charity, and serve some very tasty drinks.

For the uninitiated, a negroni consists of equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari. The ingredients are stirred with ice, strained into a glass, and typically garnished with an orange peel. The drink is bittersweet and very complex, it has a heavy mouthfeel and a range of light and heavy flavors — citrus, roots, and botanicals are all on display. Because of it’s makeup, the negroni lends itself very well to variations, which makes it a great ideological starting point for a coffee-based negroni riff.

The Bogota Sunrise started with the idea that we could use strong, brewed coffee as a base for a drink that people could make at home without an espresso machine. The coffee from Luis Reinoso, with its clean citrus character, made for a great starting point. We settled on the aeropress as an effective brew method, and created a super-strong coffee using about the 4x the regular coffee dose. A very fine grind and lots of pressure in the aeropress allowed us to extract sweetness and acidity from the coffee. From there we looked for ingredients to play off the Luis’ coffee, and to interact with it in a negroni-like way. Grapefruit juice made a lot of sense, bringing bitterness and tartness, while tonic syrup would bring a big herbal, quinic bitterness and sweetness. From there, as it often does, the process shifted to recipe variations, finding the proportions of ingredients that worked the best together. Using 10 parts of Luis’ coffee ensured that coffee would be the major vehicle in this drink, the crux of it’s flavor and soul. This is a drink that I’m pretty proud of — capturing the best of Luis coffee alongside elements of the negroni, while being just plain tasty.

The Bogota Sunrise Negroni

The Negroni Bianco was the inspiration for the second drink, called Negro Bianco. We stole the name for this drink as we wanted to play off it’s clean citrus flavor and it’s nice drying finish. In building this beverage, we used the Huang Meigui white tea from Song tea. This tea is a smooth base to the drink, with its clean, juicy, body and its floral, honey, sweetness. To highlight the natural bitterness of the negroni we over-steeped the tea to recreate that enjoyable dry finish. Next, we added warming spices to help capture herbal sweetness and to add some complexity to the drink. Finally, we topped it off with some fresh squeezed grapefruit juice to open up the drink and add a final bitter fresh pucker to the drink. The result is a chilled and refreshing beverage that captures the cleanliness of the original, Negroni Bianco, yet stands alone as a unique spin on a classic cocktail using fresh new ingredients.

The final drink was inspired by the predominate syrupy, cherry flavors of the original negroni. We call our drink, Té and Caffé Amaro. Now as you might know, coffee beans are the seeds of a fruit. To preserve the beans they must be removed from the skin of this fruit. The discarded peels of these fruits can be dried, resembling dehydrated fruit skin, and this is often called cascara. Because the cascara that we get from Santa Lucia in Costa Rica is dehydrated, it’s crunchy, like dried tea. When brewed as tea, it tastes of honey and cherry fruit. We then take the brewed cascara and reduce it down with lemon and orange peel. The result is a syrupy sweet cherry reduction with clean citrus notes, that pairs perfectly with our Third Coast espresso which has notes of black cherry and orange. Next, we chill the espresso which brings out a bit more of the positive bitter in the espresso. Then, we mix one part cascara reduction to two parts chilled espresso. The drink tastes like fruit loops and is perfectly balanced with a citrus pop and a pleasant syrupy body.

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