Mix Up, Drink Down: the Frozen Negroni from New York City’s Bocce USQ
Few things refresh the palate and the mind like an icy tipple on a hot summer afternoon and while we’ve all been enjoying our ride on the Millennial Pink frozé train for a few steamy seasons now, some of us long to transfer from the low-key local to something a bit more, express.
Introducing: the Fregroni.
The Negroni is having a real moment, and it’s easy to taste why—equal parts gin, Campari, and vermouth, the in-a-pinch aperitif is meant to be enjoyed before a meal to help awaken the appetite. It’s herbaceous and playfully smacks your mouth a bit when you sip it so when we heard Bocce USQ in Manhattan’s Union Square had concocted a frozen version, we knew just what we’d be serving poolside and on our rooftop for the rest of the season.
“This is an adaption of our recipe and it’s a unique technique that comes close to replicating the consistency of what a professional frozen drink machine will produce,” explained Chris Johnson, general manager of the adorable Italian spot and kind enabler of our penchant for frozen drinks. Here’s how to replicate Bocce’s Fregroni for your next festa estiva:
Fregroni | Bocce USQ (Yields 5 cocktails)
4.5 oz. gin
4.5 oz. Campari
4.5 oz. sweet vermouth
1.66 oz. (vol) sugar
6.66 oz. orange juice
10.5 oz. water
Combine gin, Campari, sweet vermouth, and sugar at room temperature in a large measuring glass or other 16 oz. containers. Stir until sugar is incorporated. Seal container and then freeze for 24 hours.
Combine orange juice and water. Pour into a 1x1 in. ice cube tray, cover tray with plastic wrap and freeze for 24 hours. Combine frozen ingredients in a 64 oz. blender. Start on low and gradually turn up the speed until it reaches high. Blend until a smooth texture is reached. Be careful not to over blend as the friction from the blender will cause the ice to melt. Pour into serving glasses. Garnish with an orange wedge.
- Use a gin that is quality but neutral in flavor profile. Johnson normally prefers Plymouth to integrate well with the orange. Don’t reach for anything too expensive as the bitter ingredients of the Campari and vermouth can mask it.
- Vermouth is not where you want to save money in this recipe. Johnson recommends the Cinzano 1757 as it brings a nice fruit without being too heavy. The balanced bitterness comes through even when in a frozen drink.
- It is important to use a blender that is much larger than the volume of the liquid before being blended. The 64 Vitamix is a good choice for a home blender, but if your blender is smaller you can make this recipe in smaller batches.
- For large gatherings, multiply the ingredients for a bigger batch.