The Italian Gin And Tonic Marries The Classic Cocktail With A Negroni

On a warm spring or summer evening, few things hit the spot quite like a refreshing cocktail. But experienced happy-hour enthusiasts or cocktail lovers may find some of the usual suspects, like the gin and tonic and the Negroni, a little stale. Take heart, because your new favorite cocktail may be right in front of you, made simply by combining elements of these two classic drinks.

It's the brainchild of Patrick Smith, beverage director for New York's Union Square Hospitality Group. Smith tells Punch he created it while crafting the menu for Maialino, an eatery inspired by authentic Roman-style trattorias. These quaint restaurants typically don't have extensive cocktail programs, forcing Smith to rely on simple ingredients. The result? The E Tonico (translated: "and tonic.")

The recipe is relatively straightforward, though it does require two less-common ingredients. The first is Italian red bitters; Smith suggests the famous Mulassano Bitter liqueur, made for Torino's Caffe Mulassano. According to Spirit Academy, Mulassano provides unique notes of Sicilian orange peel, gentian, cassia, juniper, and more. The other is saline solution, which can easily be prepared by dissolving 10 grams of kosher salt in 100 milliliters of water.

E tonico is refreshing and easy

You'll craft your E Tonico in a Collins glass. Start by combining ¾ ounce of any popular gin brand with ½ ounce of navy-strength gin and ½ ounce of dry vermouth. Then, add ¼ ounce Italian red bitters and a dash of saline solution, before filling the glass with ice. Finally, top it with tonic water and enjoy. To add some extra flair and delightful aromas, garnish your cocktail with a bay leaf.

It's easy to see how the E Tonico fills the gap between the classic G&T and a trendy Negroni, while taking advantage of the best aspects of both. The two types of gin give it an extra floral or herbaceous punch, while the bitters evoke the distinctive tastes of a Negroni. Meantime, the bubbly, refreshing nature of the drink calls to mind the best features of a gin and tonic or the lesser-known but equally delightful Negroni Sbagliato

So when you're looking for a refreshing cocktail for that al fresco happy hour in the summer months ahead, shake things up and try the E Tonico. Salute!