The continental cocktail, the Negroni, is iconically Italian, conjuring up images of sun-dappled verandas and summertime rides on a cute Vespa. It is said that the Negroni originated at Caffè Casoni in Florence around the year 1919, when Count Camillo Negroni, inspired by London’s then-prevalent gin scene, decided to order a new spin on his usual Americano—a cocktail composed of Campari, sweet vermouth and club soda—and requested it with a touch of gin instead of soda.
The bartender was pleased to honor his request and added an orange garnish rather than the lemon wedge of the Americano to signify the strong new drink he had created. In Florence, the Count’s “usual” became known as Count Negroni’s Americano, and eventually, the Negroni, adopted by the Italians as a pre-dinner aperitif or a palate-cleanser.
Today, the Negroni is one of the most famous contemporary cocktails and its official recipe of equal parts Campari, gin and sweet red vermouth is recognized in the Singapore-based International Bartenders Association (IBA) Drink List.
During this year's annual Negroni Week, mixologists all over the U.S. have taken it upon themselves to shake up some creative interpretations of this classic cocktail.
At Dante in New York City, a.k.a Negroni heaven, they made a chocolate version with Fords Gin, Campari, Punt e Mes, crème de cacao, chocolate bitters and Valrhona. The Fat Radish in Manhattan's Lower East Side offered a barrel-aged version with sherry barrel-aged wine, Lo-Fi vermouth, Fords Gin, and Campari. Ophelia's signature iteration, dubbed Tonk Tonk, features Tanqeuray No. 10 Gin, Martini & Rosso Bitters, Cocchi di Torino Vermouth infused with tonka bean, chocolate bitters, cocoa powder and salt along the rim of the glass, and a dehydrated orange slice for garnish.
If you can't make it to any of the aforementioned bars, here's how to make the classic at home:
Classic Negroni According to the official IBA Drink List
3cl Campari 3cl Gin 3cl Sweet Red Vermouth
1. Pour all the ingredients directly into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice.