This beet negroni sour is an elegant Halloween cocktail with a vibrantly deep purple and a wonderful mix of flavors. It's that bit more complex and sophisticated, yet near enough a blood color to fit in perfectly with any seasonal festivities.
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I'll be honest, I'm not one of those people who goes all out over Halloween. It wasn't such a big thing where I grew up and I'm more likely to groan trying to plan a costume than get excited about it.
But funny enough, the kids love it and I do appreciate the sense of community as people trick or treat around our neighborhood. Plus some Halloween treats can fun, like by chocolate pretzel spiders, or you can extend the theme a little with pumpkin treats, both sweet and savory (like pumpkin empanadas and pumpkin arancini).
Let's not forget the drinks, either, and it's a great excuse to get a little creative on the cocktail front. This one is a riff on a riff, and while it might seem unusual, it's both a magnificent color and tastes great too.
What's the story behind the Negroni?
This cocktail is a variation on the Negroni which is in fact generally accepted to be a variation in itself. The story goes that in 1919, one day Count Negroni asked the bartender at one of the places he often visited in Florence, Caffe Casoni, to make his favorite Americano cocktail that bit stronger.
So, instead of being campari, sweet vermouth and soda, the bartender replaced the soda with gin. The rest, you could say, is history, with it now being a highly popular cocktail (more so than the Americano these days) that has many variations, like the unusual negroni, white negroni and many more.
What makes cocktail a sour?
This variation of the negroni is a sour, which simply means adding a sour, usually citrus, element into the mix. You usually offset this with a little sweetness, usually simple syrup, but not so much it takes away from the tartness.
Personally, I'm a big fan, as you may have noticed if you've looked around (a few ideas below!) as I love that they are less sweet and I love citrus.
Where this one gets a little weird, or as I like to think, creative, is that you then also add in beet juice. Adding juice into a negroni or sour isn't that unusual, but beet is certainly far from typical.
It's not that easy to find, but you can buy beet juice. However you can also make it with either a juicer or by blending chunks of peeled raw beet with a little water then straining through a cheesecloth and fine strainer. It's perfect for adding a Halloween-esque color and I think the slightly earthy flavor is also pretty fitting.
Don't worry, the drink doesn't taste like dirt, or iron-y as can be a criticism of beets. But it does add a certain something that really works well with the other flavors.
What proportions should you use?
So a negroni is classically equal parts of gin, campari and vermouth, usually made with an ounce of each though you can vary. A sour is typically four parts spirit, two parts citrus and one part sweetener (simple syrup). The spirit part is typically two ounces.
I've seen a few variations on a negroni sour using either one ounce each of the main spirits and then either the same of citrus, or a little more or less. Others use ¾ ounce of the spirits to an ounce of citrus, being closer to the usual sour ratio.
Really, it's all personal preference I think. Here I went with equal parts of everything but the simple syrup as it's both easy and I think works well. But really, you can play around a little to get the flavor that you like best. Similarly, you can tweak the type of vermouth (blanco is also worth trying), or try a mix of orange and lemon juice.
You don't have to use egg white, but it does help give a lovely foam top to the drink which sets it off nicely, plus the texture is great, too. And whether you dry shake or reverse shake is also up to your preference (it can be hotly debated, as in this punch article!)
This beet negroni sour might not be your typical Halloween cocktail, but it's definitely one to give a try. It has a vibrant, deep red-purple color, and a great mix of bitter, sour, and a touch of sweet. So cheers!
Try these other sour cocktails:
- Calvados sour (another one perfect for this time of year, with calvados, apple brandy)
- Hibiscus mezcal sour (also with a bright color, but with a mix of fruitiness and smokiness)
- Pumpkin spice whiskey sour (another fit for the season, with wonderful spice flavors)
- Plus get more cocktail recipes in the archives.
Beet negroni sour - a Halloween cocktail
- 1 oz gin recommend dry and aromatic eg Hendricks, 30ml
- 1 oz campari 30ml
- 1 oz red vermouth 30ml (also called sweet, traditionally martini rosso but I used a Spanish one)
- 1 oz beet juice 30ml
- 1 oz lemon juice 30ml
- ½ oz simple syrup 15ml (equal parts water to sugar)
- ½ oz egg white 15ml/1tbsp (optional)
- Place all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, cover and shake for a minute or two to combine and mix the ingredients well (and start to foam up the egg white).
- Add a few pieces of ice, shake again, then double strain into a glass - recommend a coupe glass.
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