By Lyre's Spirit Co
20th May 2020
As cocktails go, the negroni is as simple as they come. Stir down equal proportions of gin, Italian bitters and sweet red vermouth, then strain over ice.
Garnish with a piece of orange rind, and away you go. Sometimes the simple things really are the best.
The Negroni was invented in 1919 by the French general Count Negroni, who famously asked a bartender to add a touch of gin rather than soda to his Americano, in honour of his last trip to London.
It's an intensely aromatic cocktail, thanks to the botanicals present in all three spirit ingredients.
The sweet, vinous character of the vermouth is balanced by the assertive bitterness of the Italian liqueur, with gin adding complexity and palate weight.
In spite of its heady spirit content, it is eminently drinkable, and also looks damn fine in the glass.
But its drinkability is also dangerous. Negronis are so boozy they are liable to make or break and evening.
Fortunately, the Lyre's Non-Alcoholic Spirits range includes replica versions of all three spirits you need to make a negroni: Dry London Spirit (gin), Apéritif Rosso (vermouth) and Italian Orange (bitters).
Better yet, they are just about unrecognisable from the real thing. In fact, Lyre’s Apéritif Rosso was one of only five double gold medals presented across all categories in the recent Concours d’Spirits competition… judged blind against alcoholic vermouths by 12 world-renowned palates!
Lyre's flavour architect David Murphy says the non-alcoholic Negroni presented arguably the most difficult test for the replica spirits he created.
"There's not a lot of places to hide. There's no mixer, there's nothing else added to it beyond our products," he says.
David says he conducted extensive experiments with the Lyre's spirits to ascertain whether it would be beneficial to diverge from the proportions of a classic negroni in the non-alcoholic version.
"We were pleasantly surprised to find that the original recipe was actually the best," he says.
"When you add the garnish, it looks exactly like the real thing too. The garnish is actually really important with the Lyre's Negroni – the bitterness from the orange rind gives it a little bit of freshness."