There are few cocktails more classic and effortless than the negroni. The traditionally equal-parts drink is visually striking on its own (thanks to the formerly bug-laced Campari), but San Francisco's Wildhawk just upped the ante on negroni aesthetics with its very kawaii Breakfast Negroni.
The nostalgia-inspiring cocktail starts off according to normal negroni plan with gin and Campari. Once you get to the vermouth, that's when your childhood comes crashing into your booze-hounding adulthood.
Jacques Bezuidenhout, an award-winning bartender and one of Wildhawk's owners, infuses Gran Lusso vermouth with Cocoa Puffs. Not a fine dining interpretation of chocolate-flavored puffed grain cereal, but literally the General Mills orbs for which kids allegedly go cuckoo.
RECIPE: Breakfast Negroni
"Obviously with Campari and negronis, chocolate or coffee works really well with that kind of bitter orange, so it's just something that stuck in my head and I thought, Let's see what happens," said Bezuidenhout, who came to the US from South Africa in the late 90s.
Bezuidenhout batches the negronis without dilution in a Cambro in the bar's basement, then pours in the Cocoa Puffs to soak for about a day to yield hints of chocolate and milky creaminess. For an edge, he finishes the drink with chocolate salt bitters that he used to purchase locally from Dandelion Chocolate, but now makes in-house.
The final product is garnished with whimsically shaped orange peel discs, because what breakfast cereal-inspired cocktail destined for Instagram fame doesn't?
At the end of the day, you're not slurping on a cocktail that tastes like sugary children's cereal. The Cocoa Puffs element is subtle, adding just a little something special—which is perfect, considering the negroni doesn't necessarily need fixing to begin with.