Simple, fantastic, and undeniably classic, the Negroni Cocktail is exactly what the doctor ordered. It contains just three ingredients, and all of them are alcohol. Yet its flavor profile is a lovely journey: a melange of citrus, wine, and cherry, lend an air of intrigue by the bitter notes accompanying it.
Is it an acquired taste? Sure. But like most acquired tastes, once you get it, you don’t lose it.
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The Origins of the Negroni
Cocktails have a common trend: it’s hard to pin down exactly where and when they were invented. However, there’s a pretty commonly accepted story for the Negroni.
If legend is to be believed, the Negroni came to be in the Year Of Our Lord 1919 in Florence, Italy’s Caffé Casoni. It seems that a bespectacled and mustachioed fellow with the singular name of Count Camillo Negroni made a particular request of his friend behind the bar: could he add a bit of character to his favorite cocktail, the Americano, by subbing out the soda water with gin?
The bartender, one Fosco Scarselli, indulged his faithful customer and even added an orange peel for garnish. This was a deviation from the normal use of a lemon peel with the Americano. Well, the drink appears to have been a hit. The count’s name stuck to it, too; everyone who asked for the new drink called it a “negroni.”
The Curious Tale of Count Camillo Negroni
We’d be depriving you if we didn’t tell you the story of Negroni himself.
This man was a true Americaphile. In his twenties, he wandered the dusty trails of the United States’ Wild Wild West and appears to have taken up work as a cowboy for a while. He arrived in 1892 on the Fulda, a steamship bound for Ellis Island. Throughout his travels, he may have lived various lives as a riverboat gambler, banker, and various other occupations. Eventually, he also lived in London, where he may have developed a taste for gin.
Did he actually invent his eponymous drink? Well, maybe. He sure seemed to think so.
His family could spot an opportunity when one came, and when the drink took off in 1919, they opened the Negroni Distillery. This distillery was located in Treviso, Italy, and produced a bottled, ready-to-drink version of the drink.
You can still buy bottles from this very same distillery today.
The Legacy of the Negroni
You’d be hard-pressed to find a Top 5 Cocktails list that didn’t include the Negroni. It’s up there with the Manhattan and the martini as one of the most iconic drinks on earth.
It’s also provided an inspiring canvas for experimentation through the decades. In the 100+ years since its inception, the 1:1:1 recipe has provided a launchpad for mixologists to leave their trademark signatures on new versions.
There are moves such as subbing out the bourbon for gin, which creates the Boulevardier cocktail. Different substitutions include replacing Campari and sweet vermouth with mezcal and rum. The only rule appears to be that there are no rules.
But to experiment freely, you have to nail the basics. That’s why we’ve provided the classic negroni recipe for you to enjoy.
- Prep Time 4 Minutes
- Cook Time 1 Minutes
- Total Time 5 Minutes
- Serves 1 People
- Calories 195 kcal
- 1 fl. oz. gin
- 1 fl. oz. Campari
- 1 fl. oz. sweet vermouth
- Garnish: orange peel
- Start by filling a mixing glass with ice and adding the 3 alcohols.
- Stir that bad boy until it’s properly chilled.
- Strain the mixture into your favorite rocks glass, filled to the top with large ice cubes.
- For fun and profit, garnish it with an orange peel. Enjoy.