The Kingston Negroni for Negroni Week

Your cocktail calendar entry for: September
15
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Today we return for another Negroni Week episode of The Drunkard’s Almanac and turn to the Caribbean to explore the Kingston Negroni.

Onward to our Drink of the Day.  Considering we’re nearing the end of summer and all its tropical dreams we’re going to declare a rum-based concoction, the Kingston Negroni as today’s choice.  Why not?  A very tasty beverage, it’s also simple: Mr. Potato Head only needs to substitute one ingredient – the base spirit – much as we did in the Boulevardier yesterday.

So what spirit invokes Kingston, the capital of Jamaica?  Well, rum of course.  And not just any old rum, now we’re talking Jamaican rum.

History of Rum

Rum was born when seafaring European powers were busy occupying various islands in the Caribbean and parts of Central and South America.  Somebody saw a vat of sugar cane juice bubbling, realized it was fermenting, distillation was already a well-developed process and the rest is history.  The term “rum” itself was first used in Barbados in the 1620s to describe the potent drink.  While the exact origin of the name is not definitive it likely comes from “rumbullion”.  That meant something like “good soup” or “great tumult” in English at the time.

Sugar cane was planted across Caribbean islands and rum is made by fermenting and distilling sugar cane products.  Sugar cane requires intense heat and moisture, so the Caribbean was a natural home for growing it.

How you take sugar cane and turn it into rum makes a lot of difference.  You can make it from sugarcane juice, sugarcane syrup, sugarcane molasses (the thick, sticky mess that’s left after you crystallize sugar through boiling the juice) or other sugarcane byproducts.  Most rum is made from the molasses.  So at the end of the day we have a noble use for an industrial byproduct.  Think of consuming rum as one of your contributions to a green planet.

But it doesn’t end there.  How you distill it also counts.  You get a different product depending upon whether you employ a pot still, a column still or a combination thereof.  And in Jamaica they love the funky esters and don’t mind receiving the blunt end of all that funk in the bottle.  They may also ferment for longer than other locations, leave some of the old batch in the fermentation tank when starting the next, or other sausage-works types of techniques.

Fortunately, that scenario plays very well with vermouth and Campari.  So onward to mixing:

Kingston Negroni

Kingston Negroni

Jamaican rum is unique in using pot stills, and the blunt end of all the funk that process produces will be right in the bottle. They may ferment for longer than other locations, leave some of the old batch in the fermentation tank when starting the next, or other sausage-works types of techniques. Fortunately, that scenario plays very well with vermouth and Campari in this recipe.
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Equipment

  • Mixing glass

Ingredients
  

  • 1 oz Rum Hey, this is a Kingston Negroni so you've got to use Jamaican rum. Take your choice of brands, but go for Smith & Cross if you want major funk. It’s the winner on that front.
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 oz Campari
  • Garnish: orange twist

Instructions
 

  • Add ingredients and stir over ice in your trusty mixing glass
  • Strain over a large ice cube in an Old Fashioned glass
  • Garnish with orange peel twist. Please forgive your correspondent, he’s out of oranges. Almost out of Campari too, a looming household emergency, but that will be remedied tomorrow.
  • Drink.
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The White Negroni

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