1 oz gin <Boodles>
1 oz Becherovka
1 oz sweet vermouth <Dolin>
Few dashes orange bitters <Regan’s>
Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass
I took my 4 year old (4 3/4 if you asked her) to her first NHL game last weekend. It was a matinee affair with the Bruins taking on the Panthers. I’d rather it was a Ranger game, but such is the life of a New York sports fan living in Boston. Regardless, we both had a blast. Halfway through the first period I noticed a number 68 sweater heading to the bench. It was none other than the ageless wonder himself, Jaromir Jagr (turns 43 this Feb, for those scoring at home). So when I got home, I decided to mix up a Negroni variation I made a few months back that I named after him. Plus, it gives me an excuse to post a picture of him, circa 1991, rocking one of the all-time great mullets in hockey history.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Negroni, it’s a simple drink with complex flavors. Campari gives it its identity, and is a great introduction into the world of bitter liqueurs found in many classic and modern cocktails. In the Jagroni I employed Becherovka instead, which is a Czech herbal bitters. I first encountered it in the Meadowlands from Brick in Mortar in Cambridge, and had a few other drinks with it around town before I finally bought a bottle for myself. The Jagroni is one of the more successful drinks I’ve come up with using it. And since Jagr is from the Czech Republic, naming it was a no-brainer.
Where the Campari is more of a citrusy bitters with grapefruit notes upfront, Becherovka tends towards the spice side of things with a strong cinnamon flavor, slightly reminiscent of red hots. The Jagroni transforms a normally bright, bracingly bitter Negroni into something a little smoother and warmer. The gin and sweet vermouth help to round things out a bit, taking just enough bite off the cinnamon without masking all of it. These flavors make it a perfect drink for the holiday season.