And how’s that test going? Karraker wouldn’t say. If it goes well, though, it might be easier to find a bottle. Now, it’s available in only a few markets (California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York City, South Florida, Washington, Chicago, New Jersey and Connecticut).
How’s it taste? As a Negroni devotee, I must say right off that in this case, freshly made is better. But also, bottled is pretty good. The vermouth is a bit too prominent, but otherwise a good drink.
Why would you buy it? You don’t want to stock a bottle of each spirit to make a Negroni from scratch at home. You want a drink easier to mix than the proper 1-to-1-to-1 ratio. (Maybe that sounds ridiculous, but I admit to coming home late on a worknight and being grateful that I could just open the bottle — one bottle, not three — and pour.) A convenient all-in-one-bottle drink is also easy to transport on vacation, as we did last summer. This pre-dated Campari’s ready-to-drink Negroni, but we mixed our own batch, pouring it into a screw-top bottle. The ease of it was much appreciated in our little cabin in the Ontario woods.
It’s not so odd, really, to pre-mix a Negroni. Indeed, batch cocktails and aging (in bottle or barrel) of those batches has been another recent bartending trend, now spilling over into the home. The Negroni is a leading go-to drink for such experimentation, largely because it is all spirits, meaning there is little to degrade in bottle.
And those aficionados will tell you, in bottle or barrel, a Negroni gets better. After six weeks or so, you’ve got a smoother, more integrated drink, as Gary Regan describes in his most excellent book, “The Negroni.”
If the Negroni does well, will Campari try selling more pre-made drinks? Karraker, the man who put sbagliato (a Negroni with prosecco instead of gin) in cans for a giveaway at a New York City cocktail event three years ago (and got soundly chastised by HQ: “How dare you can Campari!”), was noncommital. In Italy you already can buy bottled Campari and soda, as well as a bottled Aperol spritz (Aperol being another Campari-owned brand). Maybe those will be imported? Or the Americano (the precursor to Negroni, made with soda water instead of gin), he mused, maybe it would do well here.