This post may be a little squiffy – the opportunity to try negronis (my favourite cocktail) in various formats made me more than a little bit merry. Luckily I took some notes… although they are not the most thorough.
Weber and Tring’s is a gorgeous shop up the Christmas steps, where Sarah Weber and Richard Tring have created a space to encourage discovery and experimentation with booze. They provide everything you need to host the perfect cocktail evening at home; not just the spirits (including more unusual hard-to-find options), you can also find beautiful antique glassware, bar equipment and cocktail books. You could get lost in this shop for a while!
Upstairs, their tasting room provides the perfect setting for fulfilling the wish to explore. They offer regular and varied tasting evenings, from gin blending, diverse spirits and monthly whisky clubs. The lush décor reflects the quality of the drinks on offer – I want the wallpaper and Chartreuse lamp in my home!
We sat down with a Negroni in hand, ready to learn. It looked pretty serious: pipette, measuring glass, notepad… Time to play!
Negroni apparently originated as a variation of the Americano (a refreshing aperitif of vermouth, campari & soda). One day someone wanted something a little stronger and tried swapping the soda for Gin. Negroni was born.
It’s designed to be a sipping drink, drank round food, chatting with friends. It is becoming increasingly popular as trends are changing and people are becoming more interested in drinking less, but higher quality beverages.
Various spirits were provided for us to mix up different combinations and flavour notes and create the perfect Negroni to match our taste buds – tasting little samples using the pipettes first to identify our favourites. Variations of gin, vermouth and Campari were to be mixed up in equal measures over ice. Nice and easy.
- Vermouth = Italian for wormwood – the main botanical! We were tasting Cinzano dry and Rosso options.
- Compare – a herby and fruity liqueur that provides the bitter taste of the negroni:
“You can’t make a negroni without campari”
- Aperol liqueur has flavours of bitter orange and rhubarb and can be swapped in for a sweeter, perhaps easier to drink version of the negroni.
- “Averna” – a sweet and intense Sicilian liqueur with chocolate flavours.
- Bulldog gin, one of the fastest growing premium gins, made using the London dry gin process.
- Sacred pink grapefruit gin – a delicious sippable gin with zesty notes of pink grapefruit
Jo and I tasted several combos, trying to compare the sweeter ingredients against the dry and bitter options. I tend to like drinks on the bitter side; consequently, my favourite combo was on the dryer side of the flavour notes:
- Sacred gin
- Dry Cinzano vermouth
- Garnished with a slice of grapefruit
Perfect pressie, or an opportunity for a bit of a different night out. Also recommend a wander round the shop – mix up your home bar a little bit.
Keep an eye on their website for upcoming tasting events: http://www.weberandtrings.co.uk/