The name of the drink may be a pun, but it is an apt description of life lately. When I’m away from the computer and the cocktail shaker, I spend most of my time gardening or cooking. My little empire of dirt takes up most of my time, as I start all my vegetables from seed, and have recently begun trying my hand at other forms of propagation. Any gardener can tell you that seedlings require time and attention, so most of my day is spent in various planting, pruning and fertilizing efforts—efforts which unfortunately are best done in daylight, leaving me little time for photographing cocktails.
Happily, my wee plants are all getting big and strong (at least the ones that can be at this time of the season), so we snipped some fresh thyme from the garden and made use of our delicious fresh batch of homemade limoncello (thanks, Maria!). We found the Precious Thyme in the pages of The Essential Bartender’s Guide, on the hunt for a limoncello cocktail. The drink is a variation on a Negroni put together by Francesco Lafranconi; the limoncello subs for gin and the drink is topped off with club soda for a light, refreshing highball. If you really want to gild the lily a few dashes of lemon or orange bitters would be tasty, and subbing Aperol for the Campari would be a nice variation here too.
1 oz Campari
1¼ oz limoncello
1 oz sweet vermouth
2 oz club soda
sprig of fresh thyme
Build all ingredients (except thyme) over ice in a highball glass. Stir, garnish with the fresh thyme and a wheel of lemon and orange, and serve.
Though Francesco kept the 1:1:1 proportions of the Negroni in this, we found that the Campari overwhelmed our limoncello. I’d recommend starting with 1 oz and adding more if you find the flavor of the limoncello being drowned out by the bitterness of the Campari. Overall this drink is very pleasant—light, refreshing and bright. I’d recommend bruising the thyme lightly before garnishing the drink to bring out the full aroma, but all together this makes a lovely, easy drink.