Not all cocktails have an intriguing backstory, but whole books have been written about this one. The abridged version is that it was invented by Count Camillo Negroni in 1919. Cocktail historians say that Count Negroni, a gambler and a bit of a rogue, liked to frequent the Caffé Casoni in Florence, Italy, and drink Americanos — apéritifs made with Campari, sweet vermouth, and club soda. Perhaps the drink was too fizzy and light: One night, he asked the bartender, Fosco Scarselli, to irrobustire, or fortify, the drink by swapping out the club soda for gin, and just like that, the Negroni was born.
According to Scarselli, Count Negroni was excessively fond of his invention and would drink up to 40 Negronis a day. We wouldn’t go that far, but the Negroni is definitely right up there with the Old Fashioned as a classic go-to cocktail. It’s a booze-forward drink for sure, but that’s what makes it so layered and well-balanced. Just when the bitter-sweet blood orange flavor of the Campari seems a bit much, mellow vermouth and gin are there to smooth things out — it’s a little sweet and very bright and aromatic.
This is a classy, grown-up drink. Bartenders will always give you mad props if you order it, and so will your friends when you serve it at a cocktail party. It’s a beautiful drink, so this might be the time to splurge on an elegant set of glasses — and, perhaps, a colossal ice cube mold.
Our tip: One of the things we love about this recipe is that it’s a simple 1:1 of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, which makes it really easy to batch. For parties, we’d make a small pitcher of Negronis, chill it completely in the fridge, and pour it into ice-filled glasses.
1 oz gin
1 oz Campari
1 oz sweet vermouth
1 colossal ice cube
Orange twist, for garnish
Optional special equipment: colossal ice cube tray
In a mixing glass filled with ice, stir all the ingredients together.
Strain the cocktail into a lowball glass filled with ice and garnish with an orange twist.
Recipe source: Imbibe Magazine