Smoking is a great way to add dimension and balance flavors, however, sometimes it can overwhelm delicate nuances in a cocktail, according to VinePair. Luckily, a bit of haziness can also be introduced by using smoky spirits like mezcal or — better yet — a smoky garnish. For just a whisper of char in your next Negroni, roll the rim of a rocks glass in barbecue rub. While it might sound crazy, hear us out.
Since a Negroni has such a bold and bitter profile, Nio explains that it needs to be paired with equally strong flavors, specifically ones that emphasize salt and umami in big ways. Because dry rubs include savory and earthy ingredients like salt, paprika, garlic, and pepper, these flavors can impart some smoky aromas and flavors, and even complement the earthy, spiciness of the vermouth. Likewise, the delicate dose of sugar in barbecue rubs also offsets some of the bitterness of the Campari.
However, if a glass isn’t properly coated with seasoning, it could detract from the Negroni’s punchiness. For the optimal rim, Thrillist recommends holding a glass at a 45-degree angle and dipping it in a liquid of your choice, making sure to wet a quarter-inch of the outer edge all around the glass. Repeat the process with the dry seasoning, tapping off any excess to ensure no seasoning falls into the glass. Alternatively, if you find the barbecue flavor is too intense, simply rim half the glass.