Italian Gentleman Cocktail: Despite the popularity of Negron’s throughout the 2010s, many individuals dislike Campari. Even when diluted in a drink, the digestif is simply too strong for many individuals. If that describes you, you will love The Italian Gentleman. On the other hand, I get a thrill out of straight Campari. It is like a fruity sweetness bomb followed by a bitterness tactical nuclear. If you’re a fan of this well-known but not universally adored digestif, you should try this beverage.
History of the Italian Gentleman Cocktail
The Italian Gentleman cocktail first appeared in Food and Wine in 2014. And then, it was later featured in a book by the same authors called Be Your Own Bartender. But it’s still a cocktail with a vintage feel that might have been there since the early 1900s. The Campari takes center stage, but the bourbon isn’t forgotten. And the lemon juice offers refreshing sharpness and flavor contrast.
Italian Gentleman Cocktail Recipe
In an Italian Gentleman cocktail, Campari and bourbon complement each other well. This cocktail is a variation on a whiskey sour, made with a lot of fresh lemon juice.
Most cocktails use a small amount of Campari. But bourbon is powerful enough to stand up to a generous pour of the amaro. And they complement each other nicely in this sour whiskey version.
The Italian Gentleman is a simple cocktail with only three ingredients. They are usually mixed in equal parts. It’s made with whiskey (usually bourbon or rye), Campari, and lemon juice.
Does this sound familiar? It’s a twist on the Negroni, which calls for equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari. While the Negroni is refreshing and light, the cocktail tastes deeper with bourbon as the base liquor. Without the gin, it’s a touch deeper, more complex, and less herbal. Whereas gin includes pine, flowery, and herbal aromas, bourbon includes vanilla, baking spices, and a sweet spirit base.
To prepare an Italian Gentleman cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- 3 ounces Campari
- 3 ounces bourbon
- 1 1/2 oz. lemon juice (strained)
- 1/4 oz. simple syrup
- Dash of orange bitters (optional)
- A lemon wheel for decoration
- Chill two coupe glasses with a few ice cubes.
- In a cocktail shaker, mix the ice and the remaining liquid ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
- Remove the ice from the glasses and strain the cocktail mixture into them. Serve the drinks garnished with lemon wheels. Enjoy.
Some tips for Italian Gentleman Cocktail
- I cut the amount of simple syrup called for in the original recipe in half. This makes the cocktails sweet, twice the quantity.
- To stand up to the Campari, one reviewer suggested using a “bold” bourbon. I used it and really loved it. But you might try different bourbons.
- Finally, I recommend using simple syrup instead of superfine sugar in your Italian Gentleman. It tends to spread the sweetness out more evenly.
Recommended Bar Tools
You don’t need every slick, gorgeous bar tool on the market. But I’ll recommend:
- Shaker Tin Set
- Hawthorne Strainer
- Bar spoon
- Mixing glass
You most likely already have these, but you may require these as well:
- Paring Knife
- Cutting Board
Corkscrew/Bottle Opener | The drink is usually served in a cocktail glass or coupe.