By Annalisa D’Alessio
A cocktail that has recently boomed in popularity, the Negroni is—essentially—an apéritif made of equal parts gin, red vermouth and Campari. Refreshing, bitter and complex, this vermillion-coloured drink has captured the hearts of drink connoisseurs and regular punters alike.
Although its origins are unknown, the drink was first mixed in Florence, Italy. Count Camillo Negroni asked a bartender at the Florentine Caffè Casoni to strengthen his Americano cocktail by adding gin instead of soda water. The drink became so popular that the Count founded the Negroni Distillery in Treviso, Italy, and began manufacturing a ready-made version—called Antico Negroni 1919. The distillery still exists today.
Over the last few years, the Negroni has enjoyed somewhat of a revival, its simplicity counteracting the craft cocktail mania characterised by exotic ingredients and glasses.
2013 saw the introduction of the popular Negroni week, a seven-day celebration during which bars across the country are encouraged to create and serve their take of the ever-popular tipple. The annual national Negroni week falls in June every year, this year it will take place from 1 to 7 June.
Classic Negroni recipe
If you’re looking for the perfect pre-dinner tipple, make this super quick and easy Negroni recipe. The trick here is to use good ingredients and quality ice.
- 3cl gin
- 3cl sweet red vermouth
- 3cl Campari
- Orange peel or slice, to garnish
Using old-fashioned cocktail drinkware, stir all ingredients into a glass over ice. Garnish with an orange peel and serve immediately.
If you’re after a more citrusy boost, drop a whole slice of orange for extra flavour. Add a slice of cucumber and pepper or flame your twist if you’re feeling adventurous. As this is a drink free of any mixers, it doesn’t need to be shaken; shaking will dilute the drink and alter its flavour.
Serve with a bowl of marinated olives, a platter of charcuterie, herby focaccia, crisps or bite-sized bruschetta with your choice of toppings.
Variations of the original Negroni recipe
For some creative variations, try using gins infused with different botanicals, or get rid of gin altogether by replacing it with sparkling white wine or prosecco—the latter known as Negroni ‘Sbagliato’, meaning mistaken.