I finally know what to do with that bottle of Campari sitting on the shelf

It's not always about wine. Sometimes, it's about gin.

Gin is just divine. And a few years ago when the gin-based Negroni was all the rage, I was sure I'd love the cocktail. I was wrong. Not only did I not love it, I hated it. For a drink that is equal parts Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth, it lacks balance. I find it harsh, bitter and unpleasant all around.

And so a bottle of Campari sat on my shelf for over two years, looking forlorn as bottles of gin came and went, until two weeks ago when I saw a mention of the Jasmine cocktail. It uses both Campari and gin, but it's heavy on the gin, light on the Campari. Out came my shaker.

The bitterness of the Campari is still there, but it's not overwhelming. In place of the sweet vermouth is Cointreau or triple sec, along with some fresh squeezed lemon that makes the flavor bright. It's all thrown together in a shaker that's filled with ice and shaken vigorously creating a frothy, light pink cocktail that's poured into a martini glass or coupe, straight up.

I add my ingredients in the shaker before the ice so the drink isn't dilluted too much. I also never make cocktails before hand and letting them sit in the shaker, allowing them to get watered down. I only make as much as I need for the first round and make a fresh second round if needed. Or if I want to make a big batch, I'll bring out my retro cocktail pitcher that has a column for ice in the center that helps keep the cocktail chilled but doesn't allow the ice to melt into the drink.

Jasmine cocktail ingredients

  • 1.5 to 2 oz of gin

  • 3/4 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

  • .25 oz Campari

  • .25 Cointreau or triple sec

This is definitely going to be THE spring cocktail served at my home this year.

Image: Mike Neustadt/Flickr

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