The Ultimate Aperitif Cocktail
Photo from Imbibe Magazine

The Ultimate Aperitif Cocktail

A Brief History of the Negroni

Long an industry favorite, the Negroni has emerged these last few years as one of the country’s most popular cocktails. Ready to drink Negronis, such as St. Agrestis in Brooklyn, have popped up in retail stores. Restaurants are pouring them on tap. Top bars are experimenting with barrel aging. It has really become a fixture in cocktail culture. What is it about this cocktail that has people so enthralled? Well first a little history.

St. Agrestis bottled Negroni. Made in Brooklyn
St. Agrestis bottled Negroni. Made in BrooklynFrom

History of the Negroni:

Most beverage scholars believe the cocktails origins to be from Florence, Italy, and first made in 1919. Legend has it that a man named Camillo Negroni asked the bartender at his local watering hole to strengthen up his favorite cocktail: an Americano. An Americano is a mixture of Campari, sweet vermouth, and club soda. So basically, he said “get that damn water out of my drink and replace it with gin!” And thus, the Negroni was born. Pretty soon people came in droves to this bar to order the cocktail. Its popularity grew so much that the Negroni family was able to capitalize on their name and opened the Negroni Distillery which, to this day, still sells a bottled and ready-to-drink version of the eponymous cocktail.

Camillo Negroni
Camillo NegroniFrom

What is a Negroni?

A Negroni is basically equal parts (1 oz) of gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari; garnished with an orange twist. Very simple to make, and very delicious. The best way to make a Negroni is the classic stirring method. Add the wet ingredients into your mixing vessel first, then add ice and stir until properly chilled/diluted. Strain into your glass and serve on a large ice cube if available. Add your twist and you’re done!

Why Do We Love Them?

Negroni’s are great because they are just as boozy as they are refreshing. The bitterness of the Campari and florality of the gin make for a great way to start a meal and get your palate primed. They are also incredibly versatile and can really be made to fit just about anybody’s tastes. Prefer bourbon? Swap it with the gin and you get a Boulevardier! Not a huge fan of Campari? Use Suze or Lillet instead and you get a fun White Negroni. Don’t like sweet? Order an Old Pal and you’ll get rye and dry vermouth instead of gin and sweet vermouth. The adaptations are endless. So go grab some Campari and get mixing!

White Negroni
White Negroni

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