The drink’s origins and how best to prepare a drink that is over a century old.

Cocktails Cocktail of the Week Brian Webb

This article was published on July 31st, 2020

As one of the more popular cocktails around today, the Negroni is preferred because of its perfect balance of the bitter and the sweet – the perfect aperitivo that any bartender worth his salt knows the ins and outs of. HomoCulture breaks down the drink’s origins and how best to prepare a drink that is over a century old. 

The Negroni Dates Back to 1919

According to widely circulated accounts, the Negroni was born in 1919 in Florence, Italy at Caffe Casoni when Count Camillo Negroni requested that his bartender friend Forsco Scarselli add more kick to his favorite drink – the Americano – by substituting the soda water with gin. Scarselli rose to the occasion by adding an orange garnish and the drink promptly became a favorite in the area, with the locals coming into the bar and ordering a Negroni. As a worldwide traveller, Camillo Negroni took his favored drink and its recipe everywhere with him, from America to the United Kingdom, where it thrived around a vibrant gin culture. The popularity of the drink led to the Negroni family founding the Negroni Distillery in 1919 in Treviso, Italy where it remains in business to this very day. 

The Taste of the Negroni

The ruby red cocktail has returned to the forefront of the cocktail world in recent years, and although it may look sweet and innocent, connoisseurs respect the power of this cocktail that is layers of gin, vermouth, and bitters that pack quite the punch. This classic cocktail is simple to make, however, and works at the bar or at home. 

  • 1 ounce of gin
  • 1 ounce of Campari 
  • 1 ounce of sweet vermouth 

In a mixing glass filled with ice, add all ingredients and then stir. Next, strain contents into a rocks glass filled with ice and then garnish with a fresh orange peel. For those making a Negroni at home, you can use anything to measure all the ingredients as they are all equal parts – from a shot glass to an egg cup – and then stir with your finger. As long as you’ve got the quantities set up, you’re good to go.

To avoid a Negroni that is too bitter, use a bitter Aperol and a rosé vermouth instead. Play around with the perfect mix that works for you, and then share your results with your closest companions.

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