Working as the bar manager for ARC's Masquerage for five years, Jägermeiste and I became friends. As a welcome drink sponsor, I had to play with the liqueur for a cocktail that did not seem like a punishment to the people coming to have a great time that night. Looking through the web at the time, and a variety of books, there were not too many drinks made with Jägermeister that fit that bill. So I started playing with it. It had a great bite that was mollified with some sweet or tart elements. I was always a fan of the spices, but that is not how Americans enjoyed it. Actually, we endure aperitifs and bitters more than we enjoy their herbal notes.
The Negroni seems to be one of the few exceptions to that rule. The gin helps to balance out the Campari, leaving the orange notes in the bitter Italian spirit to slip out. The 1:1:1 ratio of the cocktail has inspired dozens of other cocktails, from slight variations to wild reinterpretations (Pizza Negroni anyone?). One of the many variations that I became fascinated with was the White Negroni. Maybe it is the designer in me. To balance it out, I decided to use Jägermeister, stay close to the original, and create a black version.
1 oz./ 30 mL Old Tom gin
1 oz./ 30 mL Jägermeister
1 oz./30 mL sweet vermouth
Build the cocktail in the rocks glass over ice. Stir for 10 seconds, then serve.
As much as I wanted to stick to the original gin, my gut instinct to reach for the black strap rum would have been better. The gin and spices in the Jägermeister fought in the glass, and the sweet vermouth did what it could to mediate between the two. The proportions are what I want to stick to, not necessarily the ingredients. This one will be revisited later, with a little more thought put into the final mix. It is not bad, but I know it can be better.