Campari, gin and red vermouth: these are the three ingredients for one of the cocktail more appreciated ever. A ideally triad that make Negroni the king of the Italian aperitif since 100 years. Not just one of the favorite drinks throughout Italy, though. Indeed, in 2016 Negroni won the silver medal among the best-loved drinks in the world, according to the prestigious cocktail magazine “Drinks International“. It came second only to the classic Old Fashioned.
Well, in the occasion of its birthday, I feel that we need to celebrate it at the best! So, let’s discover something more about this perfect mix of boozes. Here, some history and curious facts about our favorite cocktail. Grab a Negroni and read on!
We can say that its history is as interesting as its flavour. It is born one day between 1917 and 1920 at Bar Casoni, an elegant bar in Florence’s town center. The Count Camillo Negroni (from here the name), perhaps the coolest mate for a pub crawl that you can find, was bored about his usual drink, an Americano, since he was looking for something strongest. Yeah, man! Therefore, he asked for a variation: he suggested to use gin instead of soda. Not so random as choice though. In fact, the Count was used to travel a lot in England and he was a real lover of the British juniper-infused spirit. As all the winning trends, “an Americano in the manner of Count Negroni” didn’t take too much time to became viral. And the rest, it’s history!
The coolest thing about Negroni is based on its simplicity. Indeed, it’s easy to prepare, to remember and to order in many languages. It consists of three equal part of Bitter Campari, red vermouth and gin. The method of preparation can vary from a more classic building way directly in the glass to a more sophisticated stir methodology. A glass, lot of ice, slice of orange or orange peel as garnish and voilà: your Negroni is ready to be drunk! For add a pinch of style and spread out its flavour, combine to the mixture a couple of drops of orange bitters and garnish with some rosemary branch too. Cheers!
Even if something is just so perfect, creativity and desire to experiment are the driven elements of the mixology world. So, in these 100 years we have seen lots of Negroni’s reinterpretations. Let’s have a look to the most famous.
Cardinale: Lighter than a normal Negroni, it born in 1950 in Rome from the idea of a barman at the Excelsoir Hotel who decided to dedicate a cocktail to a cardinal used to go there for his aperitivo. Inspired by the color of his suit, he substituted red vermouth with the white dry counterpart.
Negroni Sbagliato: Born during the ’70s in Milan at the iconic Bar Basso, it seems to be the result of a busy bartender that mistook a bottle of gin with one of Prosecco. Indeed, the word “sbagliato” means “messed up” or “mistaken”. This happy accident became soon a trendy lighter variation of our beloved cocktail.
Negroski and Western Style Negroni: These two reinterpretations are for who don’t like gin, but they don’t want to renounce to the winning combination Campari and red vermouth. In the Negroski the gin is replaced with vodka, while the Western Style, or Boulevardier, is for bourbon lovers. Add some drops of bitter chocolate in this last variation for increasing the taste.
Who knows if our dear alcohol connoisseur, the Count Negroni, would be happy with these!
4. Why we love it, always more!
If Italian aperitif warriors never missed a glass of Negroni to start their night out, in the latest years it has resurfaced as a new favorite among bartenders and alcohol enthusiasts around the world. The reason of its renaissance is partially due to a new cult of gin, which is now being produced everywhere as an high qualitative craft product, with infinite combinations of botanicals and flavours. On top of that, the current scenario sees a new appreciation for quality rather than quantity. In this way, less long-drinks where sugar and watery taste hide the alcohol texture, in favour of simple blends where it’s possible fully appreciate the taste of the spirit itself. Long life to Negroni, then!