I know two things to be true: lockdown is lingering, and the end is nigh for shaking up cocktails myself as a fun activity. (Vale spicy Margs.) Despite having more time than ever before to devote to mixology, I now want minimum input, maximum output. I want Negronis. But here’s the problem: every one I’ve ever made has tasted like rocket fuel.
Forgetting that, when I spied a handsome new bottle of the ready-to-pour stuff at my local bottle-O – the latest release from star Sydney distiller Poor Toms – my first thought was: why? I can combine gin, vermouth and Campari, right? Wrong.
“Lately, we’ve been obsessed with the Negroni,” Sean McGuire, head of new products and drinks at Poor Toms, tells Broadsheet. “Last Christmas we turned it into a spiced-butter Christmas pudding in our Xmas Negroni. Then we added sparkling and turned it into a Negroni Spritz, and now we’ve gone back to the classic. We wanted to focus on an all-Australian product that paid homage to its traditional form.”
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The cleverly named Negroni Australiano is, as the label reads, “a dazzling hodgepodge of 45 fruits, herbs, tinctures and distillates”. It’s a coming together of two Poor Toms products – the OG, heavy-on-the-juniper Sydney Dry Gin and the Imbroglio, a herbaceous, bittersweet amaro – with unfiltered Maidenii sweet vermouth. The result? Effortlessly bright and bitter, with all the bar-quality balance I’m incapable of recreating at home.
The blend also includes four kinds of citrus (Seville and navel orange, mandarin, blood orange and grapefruit, plus the citrus-fragrant lemon myrtle), as well as river mint and strawberry gum. And while “subtle” isn’t a word I’d usually use to describe a Negroni, those underlying native notes do their best to creep up on your every sip.
“If you enjoy making your own cocktails, that’s fantastic,” Poor Toms co-founder Jesse Kennedy adds. “But we also wanted to give people the option to enjoy our spirits the way we like to drink them … We thought we’d take out all the hard work and just give the people what they want: a bang-on, ready-to-pour Negroni.”
Those 14 standard drinks can be divvied up any way you see fit, but proceed with caution. When all that stands between you and a weeknight Negroni is a free pour over ice and orange, you might find yourself Negroaning at your WFH desk the next morning. Poor Tom(a)s.
Negroni Australiano is available online for $69.