I am blessed with four wonderful niblings, two nieces and nephews. My brothers kids all predated Liam, so Laura and I got to make a practice run at parenthood with them. When they were little we drug all three of them, in their time, all over the place with us. Actually when Laura and I met, she thought that Mason might be my kid, since we spent so much time together. When the time came for us to have our own live-in offspring, Mason, Tori and Andrew all stepped up to help us out. A year after Liam came along Laura’s brother and wife introduced us to Annelise, my littlest niece, who I also adore and wish I got to see more often. The point is I love being an uncle and I am damned good at it. Don’t believe me? It’s true, ask around. That said, I try to set a good example for the younglings, while still being honest with them, shooting straight and admitting my many shortcomings. So, in that spirit, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Drunk Uncle.

This drink is a riff on the Negroni, which I have historically not been fond of, in spite of my many attempts. I just haven’t ever been able to come to some sort of practical arrangement with Campari. However, this one should be right up my alley. It has my favorite base spirit in the world and my preferred red amaro, so maybe we will find happiness in a Negroni riff, finally.

Grab your mixing pitcher and toss in 1 1/2 ounces of a good Islay Scotch, I chose Laphroaig Quarter Cask, one of the finest alcohols, in the world. To that add 3/4 of an ounce of that lovely artichoke based amaro, Cynar and 3/4 of an ounce of white vermouth, I chose Noilly Prat. Add ice and stir to the beat of Sting’s “All This Time”, cause we are all going crazy in congregations, but we will only get better, one by one, allegedly. Strain over one big artisanal ice cube in a rocks glass and garnish with an expressed orange peel.

Yep, that suits me just fine. Smoky as fuck and unapologetic about it. The Cynar tries to bitter things up a bit, but the Laphroaig just kicks it in the teeth and sets it shirt on fire as an example to the vermouth, who quietly slinks off into the corner. To be fair, though this is smoky, islay scotch forward, the other ingredients bring a nice counterpoint. The scotch shouts it down like a politician afraid someone is going to tell the truth, but I feel we are all made better by the less present ingredients attempt to bring some additional flavor to the party. All in all very nice, in a mean-spirited sort of way.

I will make this one again, maybe roll it out when someone gets to talking about Anthony Bourdain. Throw in some comments about how the classic Negroni was his favorite drink, but I prefer the smoky scotch version. Then I will do that thing where you act sort of casually superior, like you are a guy who knows things and that, in itself, is no big deal. A fella of your experience and sophistication, should know things. That’s sort of how I have been playing uncle all these years. Trying to impart some questionable wisdom, when honestly, I often have only figured things out for myself moments before trying to help them make their way through the world. That’s ok, I have, mostly, stayed a few minutes ahead of them and when I did not know what to do, I just admitted that and we worked to figure things out together. Drunk or sober, being an uncle is pretty awesome, well it is for me, I have awesome nieces and nephews, your mileage may vary, of course. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.