The Tale of the Negroni

The Classic Negroni.

The Classic Negroni.

If you have yet to know the pleasures of the Negroni – fix this condition immediately.

This drink is so simple to prepare and requires just three ingredients: Campari, Sweet Vermouth, and Gin. These are three Spirits that you need in your home bar at all times so a Negroni is always a minute away.

Bartenders have been heavy supporters of this classic cocktail for a decade now but this has led to some tinkering. While I’m all in favor of tweaking a classic cocktail now and again I must say that the Negroni is one to leave alone.

The origins of this great cocktail are in some debate but I feel that the most credible story points to Florence, Italy. As the tale goes, Count Camillo Negroni in Florence, Italy invented the cocktail in 1919 at Café Casoni. Count Negroni asked the bartender to alter the Americano (Campari & Sweet Vermouth with soda) by swapping Gin for the soda. As they say, the rest is history. The story is well documented in the book Sulle Tracce del Conte: La Vera Storia del Cocktail Negroni, which was written by Lucca Picchi, head bartender at Caffe Rivoire in Florence, Italy.

While the Negroni seems to have been invented in Florence it has become something of an institution in the capitol city, Rome. In Rome the classic garnish of orange slice or peel is often augmented with a lime wedge and even a green olive or two.

The Negroni
Equal portions of Campari, Sweet Vermouth, and Gin (I like 1.5 ounces of each) into a mixing glass with a wide strip of fresh orange peel. Add ice and stir well for 10 seconds. Strain into ice filled Old Fashioned glasses and serve with a orange peel.

I have seen some bartenders strain the drink into a chilled cocktail glass but I believe that a proper Negroni should be served on ice.

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