Process: First, we did 5 rounds of 5, keeping the gin constant and doing 5 different vermouths. Victoria and I silently rated them, then shared when we were done. Then, we did 5 more rounds, keeping the vermouth constant and doing 5 different gins. By the end, every one of the 25 possible combinations was tasted twice in two different heats. Points were given based on our respective ratings (we didn’t always agree, of course).
The way I like to assess the results is to count the amount of times each ingredient earned a 1st-place ranking. Every ingredient had its own heat, so at one point or another, they all got at least 2 first-place prizes, one from each of us. The winners? Tanqueray garnered six first-place rankings and Cocchi Vermouth di Torino seven.
Another way to sort the data is individual Negroni scores. We tasted every combination twice and both of us ranked them 1–5 each time. This was also how we did the final round.
The final combined results, with my ranking and Victoria’s ranking for reference:
- 6th: Carpano and Aviation | #6 and #5
- 5th: Plymouth N.S. and Cocchi | #5 and #3
- 4th: Beefeater and Carpano | #4 and #4
- 3rd: Hendrick’s and Punt e Mes | #2 and #6
- 2nd: Tanqueray and Dolin | #3 and #2
- 1st: Tanqueray and Cocchi | #1 and #1
Not even close. We both, independently, liked Tanqueray and Cocchi best by a significant margin. It tasted the most like the ideal Negroni. No hair out of place. As close to perfect as I can imagine. In fact, of the 6 times Tanqueray and Cocchi was rated, there is only once where it wasn’t #1.
The Best Negroni*
- 1oz Tanqueray
- 1oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
- 1oz Campari.
- Stir on ice. Garnish with an orange peel. Drink. Melt.
*This was, admittedly, a very limited experiment featuring two people and ten products. But, Tanqueray and Cocchi is now my champion.
Tanqueray: The bars I’ve worked at have always carried Beefeater instead of Tanqueray so I’ve never been too familiar with its nuances. But I’m finding the more of these experiments I do, the more I find Tanqueray still standing at the end. I’m beginning to realize what an incredible gin this really is.
Beefeater: Great product, great for Negronis. Most cocktail bartenders I polled before starting this said Beefeater and Carpano are the best, and indeed, it’s great. Carpano was too sweet, too much vanilla for most gins, but Beefeater handles it admirably.
Plymouth Navy Strength: I really thought the strength would counter the sweetness of the cocktail, but it just made most of them kinda flat, like a dampener.
Hendrick’s: Performed better than I would’ve thought. I figured it didn’t have the backbone for this and only included it as a reference point, but it did well. Its floral nature is absorbed by the cocktail and doesn’t stick out. I’ll drink Hendrick’s & Punt e Mes Negronis all day.
Aviation: I love Aviation gin. It won my Martini Experiments, after all, but the sarsaparilla note comes through as wintergreen and has no place in a Negroni.
Cocchi Vermouth di Torino: Performed incredibly well. Mixes with Campari like a dream.
Carpano Antica: Great vermouth, but most of the Negronis, especially against peers, were too sweet with too much vanilla. It’s like a vanilla Negroni as opposed to just a Negroni.
Punt e Mes: I like Punt e Mes Negronis a lot, but Victoria doesn’t much. It really shouldn’t have been in this experiment because it’s like a spin-off of a Negroni. It’s too different. Sometimes I’m in the mood for a cherry/chocolate Negroni with Punt e Mes, but if I just want a normal one, Punt e Mes is not the answer.
Dolin Rouge: Too weak. All the Negronis with Dolin tasted flat & dull.
Martini and Rossi: Terrible. The worst performer of the whole experience. It tastes like an herb shop. The only time this was best was when it ran unopposed.
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Title: Drinks and Drinking | Post Title: What’s the best gin and vermouth for a Negroni? Part II | Post Date: August 4, 2015 | Author: Jason O’Bryan | From: Normal Heights | Blogging since: 2012