I fancy a few words for a fine creation. Nicholas Phillips is a furniture maker and woodworker from Silver Springs, Maryland, who produces lovely wooden boxes and chests under his “Affine Creations” moniker. Nicholas has a fine appreciation for the spirited life as well, and let me know that he enjoys an Aperol Negroni. If you have been following me you will have seen quite a few Negroni variations here in the past, and a few tales of its storied history. It’s a cocktail which lends itself particularly well to experimentation due to its equal proportions of distinct spirits.

Classically made with gin, sweet vermouth and Campari, any and all components can and have been swapped for other options within each category. Aperol, for example, can easily replace the Campari in the “bitter liqueur” category. Both are Italian Amari, created with plants, herbs and flowers indigenous to the region of Italy from where they originate. Aperol has a lighter and more grapefruit flavor compared to Campari and is a wonderful introduction to Amari.


I’m using it here in the “Toffee Negroni”, a fantastic negroni variation by … featured in Kara Newman’s new book, “Shake. Stir. Sip.” which includes only equal parts cocktails – so easy! In the Toffee Negroni, the vermouth is replaced with Amontillado sherry, and the gin is replaced with aged rum. Notice, there is no actual toffee or sweetener at all, but the combination of these perfect ingredients does all the magic.

Toffee Negroni
- Kara Newman

1 oz aged rum
1 oz Amontillado sherry
1 oz Aperol

Combine in a rocks glass over ice; stir until chilled. Garnish with an orange peel.

I’m using something particularly special for the rum – the Don Pancho Origenes 18. Francisco Jose Fernandez Perez “Don Pancho” is a legendary rum master schooled in the traditions of Cuban rum making who has developed many product lines over the past 50 years. He has recently released his life’s work, his own “origins” series, blended from his personal barrels which he has been aging patiently for decades. The rum is so good you should really sip it neat, like a fine cognac or scotch, but I couldn’t resist using it for this negroni as well. One fine creation deserves another, don’t you think? Here’s to fine creations everywhere. Cheers!


For more information about this stunning puzzle box from Nicholas Phillips see:

Boxes and Booze: Fine Creations

For prior Negronis and variations see:

Down for the Count

Triple Play

Red White and Blue