Memorial Day is, for many of us, the unofficial start of summer. Here in Oregon, the weather is better than it’s been all year. The outdoor patios are open and the festivals are beginning to line up for the season.

This is always the time of year when a young(ish) man’s thoughts turn to fanciful ideas of what he’ll be drinking all summer. And this weekend, I’m going to be kicking off summer with a drink I’ve enjoyed in summers past: the Blended Negroni.

I love a Negroni. It’s one of the most versatile drinks out there, and can really stand up to being served many different ways. For instance, while we always say that spirit-driven drinks like the Negroni, Martini and Manhattan should always be stirred rather than shaken, I find that the Negroni can handle a good shake from time to time.

And, hey, while we’re at it, why don’t we just throw the whole thing in a blender and see what happens? That was my thought a few summers ago, when I wanted to whip up something fun, summery and preprandial right before a cookout at my house. We always knew that the Negoni’s bold flavors can stand up to the addition of a little orange juice, and the added texture and dilution from shaking the drink don’t have any adverse affects, so tossing it into a blender for a fun, refreshing, slightly bitter summer drink wasn’t a stretch.

The result is a drink that’s easy to make, readily scalable to larger parties, and just… fun. I’ll be firing one up this weekend.

Blended Negroni

• 1 oz gin
• 1 oz sweet vermouth
• 1 oz Campari
• Juice of 1 orange
• ¾ oz 2:1 simple syrup, or 1 oz 1:1 simple syrup
• 1½ cups cracked ice or small ice cubes

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth.