I’ll be entirely honest with everyone out there, I love it when people request a Negroni from me while I bartend. Yes, because it is easy, simple and we always have the means to make it, but also because it is one of my favorite cocktails ever.
The Negroni is a 3-part cocktail, composed into equal parts, employing gin, sweet vermouth and Campari. The cocktail is the archetypal aperitif, and yet, it is also very refreshing as well.
The drink was invented in Florence, Italy in 1919. The credit for the cocktail belongs to a Count Camillo Negroni. The Count walked into a small cafe and requested from the bartender, Fosco Scarselli, an Americano, a cocktail using Campari and sweet vermouth with the addition of soda water. The Count requested his drink replace the soda water with a hearty gin, and substitute an orange instead of a lemon. Enter the Negroni.
The cocktail has remained unchanged for nearly 100 years after its birth. Although it is likely the gin of 1919 was vastly different from the commonly used London dry style gin of today. The Count most likely enjoyed a style similar to Old Tom gin which is sweeter and possibly even barrel-aged.
The Negroni is deceiving in its composition. Alone, the ingredients are divisive and often grimaced at. Together, however, the spirits are enchanting. Sweet, bitter and rich, the Negroni is a drink to savor and become’s more pleasing after each sip. I enjoy mine with Plymouth gin, a softer English gin, over one large cube of ice.
1 oz Plymouth gin 1 oz Cinzano Rosso 1 oz Campari Stir well with ice in a mixing glass (30 to 60 revolutions), strain into a large rocks glass over a large cube of ice. Garnish with a wide orange twist.
Try one before a meal to whet the appetite. If your palate leans away from gin and more for whiskey, try a Boulevardier, a variation that uses bourbon instead of gin.