A Night of Negroni at Fifteen

The lovely people at Fifteen Cornwall invited me to attend this event on Thursday 2nd March 2017, of course I said yes and it took very little persuasion for Ian (husband) to agree to accompany me.

I’ve only ever drunk a Negroni once and remember it being a rather lethal mix of several spirits on ice which I didn’t exactly find pleasant. I was therefore slightly hesitant about how Fifteen could make a whole night of it. However, in true Fifteen style they did us proud!

I’ve dined at Fifteen Cornwall a few times over the years. We’ve had the full tasting menu with wine, which is quite an experience and have also savoured their slightly simpler, more manageable menu which is equally delicious. The home made pasta is the best I’ve ever sampled.

However my favourite way to experience Fifteen has always been to sit at the bar and drink cocktails accompanied by carefully selected Antipasti with good friends. They make a delicious Cosmopolitan, a punchy Margarita and their arancini (little balls of fried risotto with a gooey mozarella centre) are a delight.

Onto Negroni’s, I didn’t really know what to expect as I didn’t know the cocktail all that well but I knew I was in for a treat! On arrival the bar was full with fellow Negroni drinkers, they eased us in with a long drink topped up with soda water, a refreshing way to start the evening, accompanied by their signature olives (large, green and unbelievably tasty), a plate of salami and a plate of marinated fennel – simple and just right.

Then onto the Classic Negroni, it is one of a few cocktails that has a traceable history back to the 20th Century. It originates from the Caffe Rivoire in Florence, Italy and was created by Lucca Picchi – head bartender. Suddenly I perk up and listen, picturing myself in this bar in a bustling street in the centre of Florence!

The orange peel is really key as it gives it a zesty twist and makes it refreshing with a punch – the combination of all the ingredients is perfectly balanced. I must admit that I did have a mild panic attack realising that we were going to taste (actually drink) several versions of this Classic Negroni during the evening, would I fall off my bar stool?!

We moved onto a Cherry Negroni, a Dirty Negroni, a classic Gin and Tonic and a Coffee Negroni, all equally delicious, subtly different and accompanied by carefully paired little plates of antipasti.

My favourite of all was the ‘Dirty Negroni’. It had an infusion of black olives fermented in red wine and herbs which gave it a really subtle rich, earthy flavour. This makes it taste really savoury, which I prefer, and was served with Oysters in the shell alongside a slice of orange, amazingly smoky artichokes and the most delicious slow cooked rabbit on bruschetta dotted with parmesan shavings. A perfectly balanced meal in itself and if I had just been given this, I would’ve gone home happy and fulfilled!

Other highlights were the Tarquin’s Gin, baby gin and tonic macaroons, the salted caramel truffles and the tiny doughnuts with a dark chocolate dipping sauce, all washed down with a Coffee Negroni – a classic Negroni mix infused with coffee beans for 24 hours! I almost think this could be my new late night drink – could it replace my love for Espresso Martinis? Maybe not, but it’s definitely a contender!!

Amazingly, I didn’t feel overly tipsy and had a clear head in the morning! I think there’s a case for drinking good quality, well-executed cocktails, small but perfectly put together plates of food and not mixing my drinks too much. I shall definitely be back, in fact, I’ve already put the next cocktail evening in my diary – Thursday 25th May, Espresso Martini Night. Now, this is an evening not to be missed!

Thank you Fifteen for inviting me to share this experience with you – I will be back and next time, maybe I’ll order a Negroni rather than my go to Cosmopolitan – I think I’m converted!

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