Using genever in place of gin when making a Negroni not only brings the juniper, but also a bodied maltiness to the cocktail classic. For those unfamiliar, genever is essentially the Dutch grandfather of gin. Made from malted grain and flavored with juniper, this age-old spirit is known for its earthy, nutty qualities. New York City bartender and beverage consultant Paula Lukas elaborates: “Replacing the traditional gin in a Negroni with genever gives it a mellow, malty flavor. Genever tastes very similar to unaged whisky, and brings a certain warmth to the cocktail.”
Christopher M. Gonzalez, a bartender at the Jonathan Club in Los Angeles, California, shares his perspective on genever as a Negroni base: “Genever will take you to a new place of refreshingly sweet smoothness. In combination with [smaller proportions of] Campari and sweet vermouth, you are allowing the genever to come forward and blend magically in true form,” he says. “If you want the best experience, choose your sweet vermouth wisely, and try different brands closest to your liking—there are many great classic versions and some great craft spirit brands coming out.”
All in all, the use of genever here brings a roundness to this classic drink that helps to offset the signature bitterness of Campari, making the Dutch Negroni an excellent alternative for those who love this style of drink but feel it could use some softening. Here’s how to make the perfect one at home.
- 1 1/2 ounces genever
- 1 ounce Campari
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- Garnish: orange half-wheel or orange twist
Add the genever, Campari and sweet vermouth into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a chilled rocks glass filled with fresh ice.
Garnish with an orange half-wheel or a large orange twist.