Welcome to Imbibe Magazine's between-issues look at liquid culture with drink recipes, news and more. From coffee to cocktails, Imbibe celebrates your world in a glass.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Negroni Week Spotlight: Douglas Derrick

Negroni Week is in full swing, and celebrations are happening coast to coast. As the beverage director at Portland, Oregon’s Nostrana restaurant, Douglas Derrick knows a good Negroni (his cocktail menu has featured close to three dozen different “Negroni of the Month” variations). And in 2010, he spun his love for the alluring Italian sipper into the Negroni Social, the annual after-hours cocktail party (and our inspiration for Negroni Week) that mixes up Nostrana’s veritable calendar of Negronis while raising money for Portland non-profit Outside In. Today, in the midst of Negroni Week and as Derrick preps for this year’s Social (taking place on June 3) he chats with us about whether it was love at first sip, what he loves most about the Negroni and how he mixes his at home.

My first Negroni … was horrible. I shook it and used horribly oxidized sweet vermouth. I didn't believe the customer that ordered it had the ingredients right. I had a lot to learn back in '04.  

In a word, the Negroni is … quintessential.  

I take my Negroni … on the rocks, well diluted. Water is a commonly forgotten part of a Negroni.  

I most love the Negroni … because of its simplicity.

My favorite Negroni variation is … Nostrana’s “Negroni of the Month” from November 2011. I put three months of work, tons of burnt Campari and a whole book of studies into nailing it. It was the idea of our VP and co-creator of the Negroni Social, Nicholas Suhor. He joked that we should do a cocktail named “The Blonde Redhead” after one of his favorite bands. The band’s made up of Italian twins and a Japanese female, so, I set out to use two related Italian products and one Japanese beauty. I ended up reading all of Kazu Uyeda's book Cocktail Techniques and employing Japanese technique by floating a large ice cube in the martini shell. I dehydrated Campari and orange peels and burred them up in a spice grinder as a “redhead” for the rim of the cocktail. I never want one to end. A Sbagliato is damn delicious too.  

The Blonde Redhead
1 1/4 oz. Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
3/4 oz. Yamazaki 12-year Japanese whisky
½ oz. Barolo chinato
Tools: mixing glass, barspoon, strainer
Glass: coupe
Garnish: dehydrated Campari and orange peel dust

Rim a glass 3/4 of the way with dehydrated Campari and orange peel dust. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and add about 6 large ice cubes. Stir until cold, then remove one ice cube and place it in the coupe. Strain the cocktail over the ice cube and serve.