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Bar Classics: The Negroni Cocktail

In the world of exceptional cocktails, the Negroni is an enduring classic and everything a great cocktail should be: bright, balanced, and unforgettable. And while it has been a winning blend for over a century, the Negroni is surely more acclaimed today than ever before.

History

Image Credit: Josh Hild from Pexels

Though the specifics have been lost to history, the Negroni’s origins have been traced to Florence, Italy. There, legend has it that, in 1919, Italian aristocrat Count Camillo Negroni and bartender Fosco Scarselli at Caffè Casoni crafted the cocktail with the intention of improving upon the Americano. Desiring a stronger drink with a more potent note of citrus, they replaced the aperitivo’s traditional soda water with gin, garnished it with an orange slice, and, voilà, the Negroni was born. 

How to Make One

The Negroni is a study in simplicity. A traditional Negroni is crafted by blending one part gin, one part sweet red vermouth, and one part Campari. Stir well, pour over ice into an Old Fashioned glass, and garnish with an orange slice. It’s elegant, uncomplicated, and the whole far exceeds the sum of its parts. 

The Negroni Family of Cocktails

Perhaps the greatest testament to the Negroni’s staying power on cocktail menus around the world is the number of variations the cocktail has inspired. If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then the Negroni is deserving of mixology’s loftiest honors. Over the years, the drink has served as a base recipe for countless adaptations, including its beloved Parisian cousin, the Boulevardier. Swapping whiskey for gin, the Boulevardier is a rich, oaky counterpart to the original and a bright star of its own. 

The Negroni Today

Image Credit: Flickr user gpeters

In addition to Negroni variations that have become cocktail menu mainstays in their own right, like the Boulevardier, the contemporary cocktail renaissance has seen a new generation of bartenders make the Negroni into something brand new. Bars like Death & Co—known for their innovations in mixology—have developed many cocktails that pay tribute to the Negroni, while being distinctive in their own right. Once such cocktail, the House of Payne, does this by marrying complementary flavors of Campari and raspberries with sloe gin for a match made in cocktail heaven. 

The variations on a classic Negroni are endless. Bubbly lovers will favor the Negroni sbagliato, an effervescent spin on the classic Negroni that substitutes prosecco for gin. For a northern twist on the traditional recipe, give the Dutch Negroni a try. This version uses a juniper liqueur native to the Netherlands in favor of its distilled English relative. Another favorite blend is the tequila-based Tegroni; this drink is a great opportunity to let the bold flavor of a robust, aged tequila shine in a cocktail—one that we can’t wait to try. 

Recommendations

Sweet vermouth – Carpano Antica Formula

Campari – Campari 

Gin – Beefeater Gin

Recipe

Equal parts Sweet Vermouth, Campari, and Gin. Start with 1 oz of each and scale up from there. Stir vigorously, then pour over ice and garnish with fresh orange peel.

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