Calamity’s Corner: The Negroni

This week was Negroni Week! It is a time held most dear to me and some of the Minions in the Labs. An entire week to pay tribute to an amazing cocktail. Bars across the country, even the world, held special events, donating some of their profits from selling Negronis to charities of their choosing.


Where did the Negroni come from, what’s in it, and most importantly, how can YOU make one at home? All these questions will be answered, fear not.

As with pretty much any cocktail I can name the origins of this libation are shrouded in mystery. This seems to happen a lot, as bartenders the world over tell tales of how a drink came to be, so the truth tends to end up murky as a Darky and Stormy (which is another cocktail for another time!) That being said, common thought put the origins of this drink in Florence, Italy back in 1919. Legend has it that Count Camillo Negroni invented the drink by asking the bartender, a gentleman by the name of Scarselli, to make his drink a bit stiffer. A oeange peel was added as a garnish to make it different than the Amerciano cocktail it started life as. This drink proved so popular in it’s day that an entire distillery was formed to create a ready made version of the drink.  (Antico Negroni for those of you curious.)

There is an alternate theory, as there often is, that places the cocktails creation at the hands, or tastebuds of one General Pascal Olivier de Negroni, Count de Negroni. This is cited in a couple of places that I found.  “A Corse Matin” Sunday Edition article dated February 2nd, 1980, and in an article published in the New Hampshire Union leader on June 19th, 2014.  (Thank you google for the wonderful sources!)

Orson Welles was purpoted to be a fan of this delicious cocktail, saying, “The bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other.”

The recipe for this delightful concoction is simple:

1/3 part Gin

1/3 part Sweet Vermouth

1/3 part Campari

Build the drink over ice, stir and enjoy.

This cocktail is a perfect balance of the sweet, the bitter and the dry. I encourage you to try it with different kinds of gin. In addition, you can substitute the Campari with anything you have that is a bit on the bitter side. Feel free to play with the proportions a little, to suit your tastes.

If you omit the gin  and add bourbon then you have a wonderful drink called the Boulevardier. Have fun with this, twist it up, try it with rum, or scotch! Even vodka. The base is simple.  Something a little sweet, something bitter, and something a little dry.

Let’s hear about your Negroni and variations! In the meantime I’ll sip on the classic. Salud!

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