The Drink of the Day on February 28 is the Frozen Negroni because it’s Bredo Morstoel’s birthday. He’s not as famous as other characters we’ve profiled such as Ernest Hemingway and Winston Churchill. But he is the coolest grandfather out there. The real Iceman, not to be confused with the Iceman of Top Gun fame. And he’s a celebrity in Nederland, Colorado, a small town northwest of Denver.
Bredo Morstoel, you see, is the Frozen Dead Guy and the subject of an annual celebration, Frozen Dead Guy Days. A rather unconventional weekend festival held each March since 2002, Frozen Dead Guy Days holds marquee events like the coffin race. There’s a polar plunge, a bowling game played with frozen turkeys, a parade of hearses and a frozen dead guy lookalike contest. All in all, wholesome fun for the whole family.
We clearly need a frozen drink for this and our Editorial Board selected a Frozen Negroni. You don’t see it as often as drinks like frozen daiquiris and margaritas, so here’s another way to impress your friends and confound your enemies. It contains juice, so it’s an oddity in the family of Negroni variations.
Bredo Morstoel and the Frozen Dead Guy Festival
Bredo Morstoel was born February 28, 1900 in Isfjorden, Romsel, Norway. His grandson, Trygve Bauge, came to the US in 1980 believing it would be safe from nuclear war. Along the way Trygve determined his grandfather should have a shot at immortality and made arrangement for him to be cryogenically frozen.
When Bredo passed away in 1989 his body was shipped to the US where he was stored in liquid Nitrogen at the Trans Time cryonics facility in San Leandro, California. In 1993 Bredo was shipped on dry ice to Nederland, Colorado, where Trygve, who had been joined by his mother, planned to create a cryonics facility.
This didn’t go as planned. Trygve overstayed his visa and was deported, so his mother kept the family popsicle in a shack behind her unfinished home. She was eventually evicted for running afoul of local ordinances and In a 1995 court trial was found guilty of building use and zoning violations. The town judge ordered her to remove the body.
This was picked up by reporters and the story caused a sensation. Nederland added a new provision to its zoning law against the “keeping of bodies” but made an exception for Bredo. He was, so to speak, grandfathered in. The local Tuff Shed supplier donated a new shed and caretakers have kept Bredo on dry ice ever since. He’s still there.
The Frozen Dead Guy Days is typically held the second weekend of March. But it has become so popular that small town Nederland can’t handle the crowds of 25,000+. It’s now in Estes Park, Colorado. The buyer of the rights to the festival, John Cullen, is the owner of the famed Stanley Hotel, the one that helped inspire Steven King to write The Shining. Seems appropriate.
The Frozen Negroni
A frozen drink is clearly appropriate to celebrate a frozen grandpa. We’ve covered a few, like the Papa Doble for Fred Waring’s birthday or the Frozen Mojito for National Slurpee Day. Other cocktails that might be considered appropriate, like the Corpse Reviver No. 2, are not really good candidates to become a frozen drink. We briefly considered boozy popsicles, but our in-house counsel advised against suggesting that our readers play with liquid nitrogen.
Thus, we selected the Frozen Negroni. It’s battle proven as an drink people like and provides good reason to pull out your blender. There is, however, an entire constellation of recipes floating about. It’s not quite so simple as gin, sweet vermouth and Campari over an ice cube.
When you add enough ice to blend a drink it’s important to consider what it will become. Some drinks, like a Daiquiri, have the sweet and sour components that make it work without adjusting the recipe. But do the same with a spirts-only drink, like the classic Negroni, and it will become dilute and insipid.
We need something different, and we turn to a version from well-regarded bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler. He adds orange juice and simple syrup, both complementary to the Campari. As he puts it, “Purists will tell you this isn’t a Negroni and they’re correct…..but they’re still wrong. The Blended Negroni epitomizes everything that a Negroni stands for: it’s refreshing, it’s bitter, and it’s perfect before or after dinner.” That works for us.
- Add all ingredients to your trusty blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Pour into highball or other tall glass.
- Garnish with orange wedge.