It’s said that there are two drinks by which a bartender’s skill can be judged. They are a Martini and a Negroni.
The Negroni was created at the start of the 20th century for a Florentine aristocrat, Count Camillo Negroni. Bored with his usual cocktail, an Americano, the Count asked the bartender to perk it up a bit. The bartender added some gin and, from that day on, the count drank only the Negroni cocktail.
- 1 part Campari
- 1 part sweet vermouth
- 1 part gin
Fill a shaker with ice and add the three ingredients. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Serve garnished with a twist of orange.
For a long drink on a hot summer’s day, use a highball glass and top with soda.
Campari, which has been described as ‘the bitterest of bitters’, was first produced in the 1860s in Italy. Developed by Gaspare Campari, it contains more than 60 natural ingredients including cochineal, which provides the red colour, and orange, the predominant flavour.
Variants of the Negroni also exist:
- A Negroni made with bourbon instead of gin is called a Boulevardier. Most recipes call for slightly more bourbon (4:3:3 instead of 1:1:1)
- A less authentic, but also less mouth-puckering, recipe is equal measures of gin, red vermouth and white vermouth.
- In the United States, the Negroni is often served “straight up” in a martini glass, with a dash of sparkling water and lemon, rather than orange zest.
- For a hot summer day, the Negroni can be stretched into a thirst quencher with soda (see Americano).
- the Negroni Sbagliato (“Wrong” Negroni), where spumante brut is substituted for the gin. It was invented at Bar Basso in Milan. Popular in Italy.
- the Negroski, where vodka is substituted for the gin. Popular in Italy.
- the Brunosky where the vodka is Grey Goose L’Orange and is served with a splash of Schweppes bitter lemon.
- A Sparkling Negroni is a Negroni served straight up in a martini glass with champagne or prosecco added. This is usually served with an orange twist.
- A Negroni served with orange juice was named a Negroni Malato (Sick Negroni) at Bar Piccolino in Exchange Sq, London during the 2007 financial crisis, by Italian bankers employed at nearby RBS offices.