Boozy and bitter. No, I’m not describing anyone in particular, but rather one of my favorite cocktails, the Negroni. The classic recipe for this cocktail is equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari. While a truly perfect cocktail as is, the Negroni also lends itself beautifully to variations. 
Lately I’ve become enamored of barrel aged gin, which sounds like a terrible idea but done with restraint, it’s actually terrific. You get the sharper botanicals and citrus notes but with a mellower edge. A good barrel aged gin retains freshness that is so key to gin, but picks up nuances of spice from the barrel. Watershed Distillery takes their Four Peel gin, which contains lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit peel along with juniper, cinnamon, allspice and coriander, and they age it in bourbon barrels for at least a year.   
On a recent trip to Columbus, Ohio I met Alex Chien, one of the top bartenders in the Midwest and something of a gin aficionado. He’s also the bartender for Watershed Distillery and the one who introduced me to their bourbon barrel aged gin, so I asked if he could help with my annual Thanksgiving drink—a play on a Negroni. In his Negroni variation, Chien replaces London dry gin with Watershed’s bourbon barrel gin and swaps Lustau sherry for the traditional vermouth.  As he explained to me, “Watershed Distillery’s Bourbon Barrel Gin is perfect for Negronis because the time spent in barrels has brought out an earthier grit and a touch of sweetness which contrasts well with Campari’s bitter orange tones.” Like I said, boozy and bitter. 
Happy Thanksgiving! 
East of Jerez
Courtesy of Alex Chien
1 ounce Watershed Bourbon Barrel Gin
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce Lustau East India Sherry
Orange peel
Because the Negroni is all liquor, there’s no need to shake it, just pour and stir and serve over ice, though you may want to add a tiny splash of water. Garnish with orange peel.


Disclaimer: My thanks to Alex Chien for the recipe and advice, and to both Watershed Distillery for providing a bottle of their bourbon barrel gin and to Campari for the Campari (for which there is never any substitute). 


DISCLAIMER: This image is provided only for personal use. If you found any images copyrighted to yours, please contact us and we will remove it. We don't intend to display any copyright protected images.

Leave a Reply

Walnut Crusted Chicken Breast – It’s all About the Nut Glue

I almost never order a nut-crusted entrée in a restaurant, since they usually use a sugary glaze to hold them on, and/or feature a too sweet nut, like pecan, or macadamia. That’s not an issue here; since we’re going with buttery, subtly bitter walnuts, held on with a very savory […]

Cheddar, Potato & SPAM® Soup

Cheddar, Potato & SPAM® Soup A hearty, comforting and autumnal warming soup!  Perfect soup for all the family!  SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham is the perfect quick and easy meat for a soup.  Serves 4-6 Prep time:  5 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes Ingredients 450g potatoes, peeled & diced 150g carrots, […]

5-Minute Fisherman’s Stew – Give or Take

Of course this Fisherman’s Stew takes more than five minutes to make, and I’m actually referring to the approximate cooking time once the seafood hits the pan, but as they say, it’s only false advertising if someone else does it. Besides, one taste and I’m sure you’ll forgive any temporal […]

Pear Clafoutis – Almost as Good as it Looks

It sounds odd to say that a recipe’s biggest problem is that it looks too good, but that’s sort of the case with this pear clafoutis. Through no fault of its own, this crust-less, custard fruit tart looks a lot sweeter, and richer than it actually is. So, please be […]

Bloody Mary Burrata – An Experiment in Liquefying Salads

I don’t think there’s actually a difference between a liquid salad, and a cold vegetable soup, but if there is, I’d like this Bloody Mary Burrata recipe to be considered the former. Especially since I already posted a gazpacho this summer. But regardless of what you call this strange hybrid, […]

Crispy Butcher’s Nuggets – Parts is Parts

While our homemade butcher’s nuggets won’t feature the same diversity of meat parts as the butcher shop, at least they won’t feature the same diversity of meat parts. Seriously, those folks will put anything into a sausage or meatball. All kidding aside, these crispy fried meatballs will have you wondering […]

Skippy® Peanut Butter & Jelly Pancakes

Skippy® Peanut Butter & Jelly Pancakes These light and fluffy peanut butter pancakes drizzled with peanut butter and jelly taste absolutely delicious.  The favourite, classic sandwich turned into the tastiest breakfast treat! Serves 4 Prep time:  10 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes Ingredients For the pancakes 200g plain flour 30g caster […]

Chorizo, Red Pepper & Stilton Quiche

Chorizo, Red Pepper & Stilton Quiche This quiche is so easy to make and always goes down well, delicious served hot or cold. If blue cheese doesn’t take your fancy then you can use cheddar or any other hard cheese. Serves 8 Prep time:  10 minutes, Cooking time: 45-50 minutes Ingredients 225g […]

Baked Philly Cheesesteak Sliders – Go Giants!

The Philly Cheesesteak is a simple sandwich to make, as long as you’re making them in a restaurant. To make a proper one, you need a professional meat slicer, and a very hot flattop grill, which aren’t things most people have at home.  That’s why I loved this baked slider […]


strawberries and cream matcha chiffon layer cake HAPPY SUMMER!  There’s nothing like fresh local strawberries in the summer! I created this unique sky-high matcha cake recipe to celebrate my best friend’s birthday as she’s a matcha lover.   I am entering this original recipe I developed for BCEgg (a non-profit organization […]