A different type of cocktail - The Negroni at Cilantro

>> Sunday, April 20, 2014

Being a wine drinker I’ve always found certain cocktails, especially the fruity ones, to be a bit too sugary. So I’ve tended to shy away from the cocktails list except for a couple ceasars or mojitos every now and again. However there seems to be a cocktail revolution lately and traditional drinks like the Manhattan or Old Fashion are starting to make a comeback on restaurant menus. I definitely find them more enjoyable because they’re drinks you sip and savour, due to the use of bourbon they pack quite the punch and the flavours tend to linger long after the sip.

My usual go to spirit is gin. I was pretty excited to hear that Cliantro has created a list of cocktails they’ve referred to as ‘Negronis’ which uses gin for the base flavour profile. A lot of individuals I’ve spoken to in the past find that gin is acquired taste, but I personally find gin smoother than vodka when mixed with the right proportions. So it wasn’t a surprise that I quite enjoyed the Negronis. One of my favorites from the list being the Count Negroni, made with equal parts gin, carpano antico vermouth, campari and a dash of orange bitters. It reminded me of a manhattan or old fashion but without the bitter bourbon aftertaste. This drink transports me to a time when characters like Don Draper from Mad Men would be real. I can see a group of business men congregating at a round table smoking cigars and drinking glasses of the Count Negroni (doesn’t mean women weren’t drinking it too).

Next on the list was the No Speak Americano. A mix of Black tea and star anise syrup with Punte e Mes vermouth, aperol and rhubarb bitters. Like a long island iced tea, it’s light and refreshing, something that is perfect for the summer patio season. It reminds me a lot of a long island iced tea, but with more of a kick. I can definitely see this being my go to during a sunny hot day. They’re so drinkable it’s dangerous.

The Crime in Vatican City Negroni isn’t what you’d expect. Contrastingly different from the other cocktails on the list, this particular negroni has lighter notes of vermouth, cointreau and gin. When it arrived I noticed how pretty it was. Served in a martini glass and topped with fragrant spices, it’s a very unique concoction. I was surprised to taste the creaminess in the drink due to the use of egg whites giving it a unique texture. There are very slight hints of each liquor making it a nice negroni to start a meal or the evening.

I found the “Pop Shoppe” Negroni the most fun to drink, reminding me of the 1950s era and introduction of diners to North America. Made with gin, campari and vermouth with blood orange, ginger, dandelion bitters and sparkling water to give it that pop, this negroni reminded me of a soda, bubbly and fun to drink. I was surprised to find that it wasn’t overly too sweet, which is easy to do in a soda like drink. I really enjoyed the presentation with it arriving at the table in a beautiful glass bottle reminiscent of old soda bottles. Pour it out and enjoy the taste and savour the moment.

I didn’t quite make it down the whole list, two of the negronis eluding me that evening, Poseidon’s Trident, a combination of aquavit, cynar and manzanilla sherry with peach bitters and the Di Dieri, a champagne cocktail with hints of campari and cinzano. I was told that the Poseidon’s Trident is true to its name and the strongest one on the list and the Di Dieri sounds very intriguing with the use of cinzano (I love cinnamon anything). I know it’s only a matter of time before I head back to Cilantro to try them as well.

I highly recommend a few small bites if you’re going to be sampling the negronis, gin is known to sneak up on a person. I found the Smoked Salmon platter to be perfect. The salmon itself was a nice salty contrast to the sweet and bitterness of the drinks. My favorite was the vanilla citrus cream, instead of the use of plain cream cheese, couple it with the pickled onions on a pumpernickel crotini and you have a winning combination. Another great sharing dish is the Mussels, cooked in a chorizo clam broth. The brininess of the broth coupled with the spicy sausage again complimented the taste of the cocktails. I enjoyed dipping the crostinis in to the broth just to sop up all the extra flavour.

No longer is the cocktail just a sweet syrupy drink, it is more stylish and much more refined. With all the amazing cocktails to choose from, I might just have to venture outside my wine comfort zone and see what other types of libations are being created (starting with the other two negronis!).

338 17 Ave SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 229-1177
Website: www.crmr.com/cilantro/

Cilantro on Urbanspoon


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