Gin was the first hard liquor I fell in love with. I started slow with gimlets and G&Ts as I worked my way up to dry martinis and, of course, Negronis. I don’t know how my infatuation with gin started, but it happened fast and as early as 21 I was saving up for bottles of Hendrick’s and Blue Coat so I could have something to savor for months. Top shelf gin was my designer shoes. I even enjoy it on the rocks–cannot get enough juniper.

So it seemed only fitting that the first cocktail of the month be gin-based. And being that I’ve recently begun a love affair with bitters (more on that later), the Negroni was the clear choice.

Negronis are a perfect before or after dinner cocktail because they act as a digestif. The bitterness of the Campari stimulates digestion and either kickstarts your appetite or settles your stomach after a large meal. They’re also boozy, delicious, and incredibly simple to make.

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You’ll need:

1 oz Campari
1 oz of your favorite gin
1 oz sweet vermouth
A fresh orange peel

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and top with equal parts Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth.
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Stir until chilled through, then strain into a rocks glass over a large rock. Ice spheres and oversized cubes are perfect for negronis.

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Express an orange peel by gently bending it length-wise by the lip of the glass and spritzing the essential oils over brim.

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Give the brim a quick swipe with the peel, coax it into a twist, and garnish.

Ta-da! Negroni.

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