“Frosé is light, refreshing and fun, and everyone knows it,” says Matt Friedlander, the beverage director and general manager at Sweetwater Social in New York City. “But a frozen Negroni is also light, refreshing and fun, and packs a lot more booze into one drink.” You can’t argue with that.
Frozen cocktails have their place, and that place is usually in your hand on a particularly hot day. Frosé, Frozen Margaritas and other ice-cold drinks can certainly get the job done, but there’s something genteel—and even a bit illicit—about sipping on a frozen Negroni.
The classic Negroni (gin, Campari and sweet vermouth) is a cocktail aficionado’s favorite, and something you’ll find at every cocktail bar under the sun. Its assertive bitterness isn’t for everyone, and that’s part of the drink’s appeal. But blend it up with a couple tweaks, and you’ve got a prime candidate for a patio sipper all summer long.
To make his frozen Negroni, Friedlander starts with Caorunn, a small-batch Scottish gin that includes apples and berries in its botanical makeup. He eschews the typical equal parts ratio, instead opting to use two times the gin as his other primary ingredients. From there, he replaces the Campari with Aperol, which makes for a more citrusy and less bitter cocktail, and chooses Carpano Antica Formula, a rich, well-rounded Italian vermouth. He also adds a few drops of grapefruit bitters to complement the gin and Aperol, as well as a pinch of salt which, just like in cooking, helps tie all the flavors together.
Blended with ice, the end result may look like a guilty pleasure you’d drink on the beach, but it provides the familiar Negroni flavors you want, with just the right amount of creative license to bring something new to the table.
Add all the ingredients to a blender with a handful of pebble ice.
Blend until well-incorporated, then pour into a double rocks glass.
Garnish with one peel each of orange and grapefruit, placed in the shape of an X in honor of Scotland’s flag.