In honour of one of the best weeks of the year – that would be Negroni Week, coming up on 6-12 June – we’re delving into the history of this most exquisite of sips.
A perfectly made Negroni: romantically Italian in origin, mouth-puckeringly bitter, red as a ripe cherry – and currently one of the world’s most popular cocktails. Wander into virtually any cocktail bar, and it’s impossible to deny that this classic recipe has enjoyed a stunning revival in recent years.
Though many first-time sippers might quail at the Negroni’s bitterness, courtesy of a more-than-healthy glug of Campari, another sip or three and most are converted. It helps that this bracing, refreshing serve goes splendidly with sunshine, and is an excellent precursor to an evening feast. And for the Sipsmith set, it especially helps that it has gin at its heart.
In fact, it’s gin that truly makes the Negroni. Precursors of the cocktail – including the Americano (a combination of Campari, sweet vermouth, and club soda) and the Milano-Torino (a mix of Campari and Punt e Mes) – were both popular serves, but they were missing that little, extra-boozy je ne sais quoi.
Traditionally served on the rocks, people are experimenting with new ways of serving.
Or at least Count Camillo Negroni thought so. The story goes that the Italian Count (who had previously worked as a rodeo clown in the United States and, naturally, came to favour strong spirits in the process) marched into Florence’s Caffè Casoni in 1919 and ordered an Americano – but sans soda, and plus gin. Though the new serve almost certainly raised eyebrows at the time, it quickly grew in popularity, and local patrons began to order it simply as “The Negroni.” The rest, as they say, is history.
So the Negroni is bold, flavourful, and has an amusing back story; even better, though, is the fact that the Negroni is incredibly easy to make at home, given that the classic recipe requires a 1:1:1 ratio of gin, Campari, and vermouth. That means it’s ideal stuff for home bartenders in search of a simple, easy-to-memorise, crowd-pleasing recipe.
Begin with the below recipe for a taste of the Negroni at its most traditional. And once you’ve sampled the original, feel free to explore by using different vermouths, switching out your gins (we do love a V.J.O.P. Negroni), and fiddling with the ratios to suite your tastes.
Be sure as well to set aside 6-12 June for some proper tippling, as Negroni Week is too festive to miss. Founded just three years ago, the event will see celebrations held across London – and we’ll be joining in the fun. Salute!
The Negroni: romantically Italian in origin, mouth-puckeringly bitter and red as a ripe cherry.
30ml sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica, Cinzano Rosso, or Punt e Mes)
In a mixing glass, give all three ingredients a few quick turns over very cold ice until blended. Strain into a rocks glass over a large ice block or sphere and garnish with an orange twist.