Negroni week: Gin that's made for negroni cocktails

13 September 2022 by
Negroni week: Gin that's made for negroni cocktails

As we enter Negroni Week, Jimbob Phillips, co-founder and director of Yorkshire-based Stuzzi restaurants, talks about creating his own gin for use in the classic cocktail

Where did the idea for Stuzzi Per Negroni Gin came from?

The negroni is something both our restaurants have sold a lot of and we've been obsessed with them for a long time. We've always incorporated negronis into our restaurant menus – like negroni marmalade with pâté, negroni-cured salmon – so it's always been close to our hearts.

When lockdown came around in 2020, we didn't want to rest on our laurels so we were thinking of ways of diversifying to make some revenue. At the same time, our friends at Hedonist Drinks in Leeds, who also have a distillery, got in touch looking for Amalfi lemons. We helped them out and we got talking and came to the conclusion that we should come up with a collaboration.

Why a gin based on negronis and what botanicals does it include?

We didn't want to make another London dry gin, we wanted to create one that made the ultimate negroni – that was the mission statement from the off. We started meeting up on a weekly basis and tasting different flavours until we got to the end product, but that took a lot longer than we expected.

We were inspired by the main flavour profiles so we wanted to take those different profiles and amplify each one. The lead botanical is orange – for me, every negroni should be garnished with an orange – so we tried loads of different ways of putting orange in, from orange peel to orange essence, but none were really hitting the mark. One day we tried some candied Sicilian oranges and it was the perfect essence of what we wanted. We also wanted to amplify the notes in vermouth, so you'll find liquorice and orris root from Italy, angelica root and we also added a touch of cinnamon.

A couple of other botanicals that lent themselves were bergamot, a southern Italian citrus fruit which is super-perfumed, and lavender too.

As a restaurant what does having your own gin add to your offering and brand?

I think before Covid came along we would have branched out and moved into something in some shape or form, so now it is here it is all about making the most of it. If we can get the gin brand on a larger platform the more people will venture to the restaurants. It is an extension of our brand and if people taste it and agree on the quality, they will trust that the restaurant is quality too.

Part of the beauty of the negroni is in the craft of it

Why a gin and not bottled negronis?

For me, part of the beauty of the negroni is in the craft. Yes, you can buy pre-batched negronis already and some of them are made with dilution already done, but I think you need the theatre and romance of having it made to order. I know there is the expectation that negronis should be made with a classic London dry gin, but our gin still has juniper as one of the leading botanicals.

How do you work with other on-trade businesses in selling your gin?

At the moment there are a handful of bars in Harrogate that use it, places that have likeminded business owners and friends that trust what we do as a restaurant and know our reputation as purveyors of quality. We always try to do something as best as we can, so hopefully we will entice other venues that are just purveyors of the negroni drink themselves and want to try it.

Any plans for future Stuzzi spirits?

It's not official yet, but we have developed the recipe for our own apéritif that can be mixed into a spritz. Once the gin is off the ground, we'll be bringing that to market.

Seasonal food and drink pairing: Picpoul de Pinet 2021 Saint-Peyre + tomatoes

Tomatoes are having a bit of a moment and whether you're serving them as a sauce, a salad or even in a simple tomato sandwich, a crisp Picpoul de Pinet is a clever match for its acidity. This one is saline, citrussy and mineral with a light/medium body and will match even the beefiest of tomatoes.

Continue reading

You need to be a premium member to view this. Subscribe from just 99p per week.

Already subscribed?

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking