Monday, April 7, 2014

Artichoke Negroni

If you've been a reader of Gastronomista for a while, you probably know that I love the Negroni.  It's a modern classic and it has everything I'm looking for in a cocktail: sweet, bitter, and strong, not to discount that seductive red hue. 

But sometimes, a girl must build on the classics.  This spring I've been inspired by complex Amaros and all the gorgeous produce that has started to show up at the market.  I found these gorgeous little artichokes, and I thought that they would be not only fantastic garnishes, but a delicious addition to a cocktail.  The Italian bitter Cynar (CHEE-nar) is made predominantly from artichokes, but doesn't really taste like artichokes.  So naturally, I wanted to make my own artichoke infusion.

But here's the problem, all of the vegetal infusions I've done have turned out disgustingly bitter.  I've read into it a bit, and it can be blamed on oxidization.  Bah!

I recently received a Sous Vide Supreme, which is opening my mind and inspiring me in more ways than any appliance has ever inspired a lady!  I became interested in a Sous Vide after this summer's Tales of the Cocktail, where I was introduced to the method of Sous Vide for making "barrel aged" cocktails.  Instead of leaving the cocktail to age in a barrel for 6 months, the Sous Vide rapidly ages the cocktail and also eliminates any extra oxygen from the process.  Barrel aged cocktails that use vermouth should be aged in a Sous Vide instead of a barrel because the nature of the barrel aging process causes the vermouth to oxidize, thus making the cocktail extra bitter and slightly "off" tasting.  I figured the method could be used for vegetable infusions as well.  

Experiments in the Sous Vide
Baby Artichokes & Gin
Those sweet perfect baby artichokes got chopped up, and put in a vacuum bag with some gin, and I put it in the sous vide for 1 hour at 140 degrees Fahrenheit.  The result was a gorgeous bright green artichoke gin, that tasted perfectly of fresh artichokes and juniper!  Brilliant!

Artichoke Gin!
Naturally, I wanted to pair it up with Cynar, doubling down on the artichoke.  But as the handsome man in my life put it: "you've set yourself up for a Negroni".  Two spirits with artichoke flavor is a lot of bitterness, so I used Cocchi Bianco for the vermouth to add just a bit more sweetness.

So dear readers, behold: The Artichoke Negroni.

The Artichoke Negroni benefits from the trifecta of sweet, bitter, and strong, and a squeeze of grapefruit peel does a magnificent job of brightening up the vegetal flavors.  I garnished it with a quarter of a baby purple artichoke and a grapefruit peel flower, skewered together and rested on the surface of the cocktail.

I hope you enjoy this cocktail as much as I do.

Artichoke Gin

3 Mini Artichokes, Halved
2 c. Gin

Seal in a vacuum pouch and submerge in the Sous Vide for 1 hour at 140 degrees Ferenheit.

Equipment: Sous Vide Supreme, vacuum sealer, & vacuum pouches.

Pro Tip: Use the seal function only, do not use the vacuum function when preparing liquids. 

Artichoke Negroni

1.5 oz Artichoke Gin
1.5 oz Cocchi Americano Bianco
1 oz Cynar

Squeeze grapefruit peel over cocktail, and swipe the rim of the glass.  Fold into a petal, skewer with a quarter of a fresh baby artichoke, and float on the surface of the cocktail. 


-This post is part of a series for Sous Vide Supreme-


  1. Who knew artichokes could be so beautiful? Great pictures!

    I had no idea you could infuse and age in a sous vide. That's mind blowing. Of course, sous vide is mind blowing by itself. My friend who owns Urban Chef introduced me to it a few years ago, and it seemed like a weird kind of druidic magic. I see all kinds of possibilities...

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. @Stay at Home Cocktails - Thank you so much! I agree, it turned out to be a very handsome cocktail, and quite delicious if I might say so myself.

    The sous vide has endless potential! I'm really excited about using it and it seems I have a different idea every day! And it's great for day to day cooking, our favorite are sea scallops with butter and lemon zest. So simple!

    Thanks for reading!



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