The Negroni is one of the world’s great cocktails, and as sophisticated a drink as any. Here are five things you should know about the aperitivo.
Legend has it that the Negroni was born when an Italian count by the same name walked into a cafe in Florence, in Italy, and ordered for a drink. He reportedly told the bartender that he liked the Americano but wanted something more intense. So, the bartender replaced the soda with gin, added a half-wheel of orange, and the world got the Negroni. The Negroni is, by the way, 1 part gin, 1 part Campari and 1 part sweet red vermouth. Campari is the base for many cocktails, and is obtained by infusing herbs, aromatic plants and fruit in alcohol and water, while vermouth is fortified wine.
The Negroni apparently became so popular in Italy that by the 1940s, the Negroni family was selling, according to pastemagazine.com, a premixed version of the cocktail. Negroni fans included Orson Welles, who famously said, “The bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other.”
Campari is among the main ingredients of the Negroni. Franz Conde/Flickr
If you substitute the gin in a Negroni with some prosecco, you get a Sbagliato. Sbagliato is ‘mistaken’ in Italian, which apparently is what happened when a bartender used prosecco instead of gin, unwittingly creating another popular drink.
Not surprisingly, there are many variations of the Negroni, including the Pink Negroni and Contessa. And then there’s 100 Negronis, which is on “a mission to collect 100 great recipes.”
Chef and author Michael Chiarello has this to say about the Negroni: “If I were James Bond (an Italian Bond, of course), a Negroni would be my drink. It’s a masculine drink. Not sweet but with huge flavors. It commands the question, ‘What’s that you’re drinking?'”