Negroni Cocktail

By Robert Hess

Sometime during the year 1919, or perhaps early 1920, the "Negroni" cocktail was invented when Cammillo Luigi Manfredo Maria Negroni (reportedly a Count) asked Fosco Scarselli, barman at the Cafe Casoni to "fortify" his regular Americano with some gin. There is a letter from October 13, 1920 written to Count Camillo (at some point he dropped the second "m" in his name) from Frances Harper of Chelsea, London: "You say you can drink, smoke, & I am sure laugh, just as much as ever. I feel you are not much to be pitied! You must not take more than 20 Negronis in one day!"

Recipe

Ingredients

1 oz Beefeater 24 Gin

1 oz Campari

1 oz Sweet Vermouth

Instructions

Stir with ice.

Strain into a cocktail glass.

Garnish with an orange twist.

Comments
Kelly 2 Nov 2010
7:12 am

One of my favorite drinks, Robert. Thanks so much for this episode and for all the episodes!

Greg Patenaude 2 Nov 2010
8:34 am

Although not my favorite when I first tried it, I absolutely adore this drink now.  If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend using Gran Classico Bitter instead of Campari.  The Gran Classico Bitter takes this fantastic cocktail to a whole new level.

Cheers

Greg

Greg Patenaude 2 Nov 2010
8:45 am

Robert,

I’m not sure if you noticed but you referred to the Count as ‘Luguine” rather than “Luigi”.  This happens to me all the time, try so hard not to mispronounce something and I still do.  Had it been me I would probably have referred to him as Count Linguine!  At any rate, I’m glad you are back with new episodes and covering some classics.  Keep up the good work.

Greg

blair frodelius 2 Nov 2010
3:58 pm

Amazingly enough, I made myself a Negroni tonight, just before I went online to discover that lo and behold, there was Robert making one for himself!

My favourite way to make this classic is to use a spicier gin like Hendrick’s or Bulldog, with Dolin Sweet Vermouth and Campari.  Rather than stirring, I add each ingredient to a rocks glass and drop in an iceball to chill and dilute the cocktail.  Visually and aurally it’s interesting, plus it feels better in the hand than a cocktail glass.

I’ve discovered that the ratio of 1-1-1 sometimes has to be tweaked depending on the brand of gin, vermouth and amaro used.  Try experimenting by using more or less of each to achieve your taste profile, say .75-1-1.  And yes, I had to go through a whole bottle of Campari before it eventually found a welcome place of honor on my shelf!

Salute!

Blair
http://goodspiritsnews.wordpress.com

Greg Patenaude 2 Nov 2010
4:56 pm

Blair,

I’ve never tried making my Negronis with Hendricks.  I’ll have to give it a try.  I’m currently waiting to get my hands on some Carpano which should also give good results.  As I mentioned above, you really have to try the Gran Classico Bitter when you get a chance.

Cheers,

Greg

oliver 4 Nov 2010
6:30 am

Hi Robert,
where was the Negroni first published? was it on the rocks in the first recipe? because an Americano is originally served on the rocks (tell me if i`m wrong). And the Negroni rise while dillution in my opinion. Another question is the orange twist. An Americano is originally made with orange and lemon twist (tell me if i`m wrong) but i guess the lemon fits more with the soda and a Negroni is without soda so maybe orange twist is originally used. what do you think?
Prost,
Oliver
p.s. with such a nice glasware i would serve an old fashioned straight up

U-Place Mike 4 Nov 2010
3:07 pm

I was introduced to this drink at the downtown Vancouver, BC Keg lounge and it was love at first sip.  It is in my in my “troika” of favorite cocktails.  The others being the Martini and the Manhattan.

Robert Hess 4 Nov 2010
4:28 pm

Perhaps it’s just old age, but I’m getting far more casual about which drinks must be served up and which must be served on the rocks. I think my early Negronis were always served up, and so that sort of painted the picture for me. But in general, I think the “up or on the rocks” choice is one which is fine to be wishy washy on. Some drinks my be so ingrained in our minds as being up (Martini) or on the rocks (Old Fashioned) that it just seems wrong to go the other way. And while the Americano is served on the rocks (are their any soda water drink served up?), I think it’s love-child, the Negroni, can easily switch hit.

Max 11 Nov 2010
8:28 pm

One of my favourite cocktails.
I recommend going for a higher quality vermouth though, like “Antica Formula” if you can get it. I don’t know if it’s available in the US (I’m from Germany), but it’s a big step up from the cheaper Cinzano or Martini & Rossi vermouths.
The Campari’s distinct flavour perhaps masks the CInzano, but if you try a higher quality vermouth once, you never want to go back , especially in other drinks that rely more on it, like the Manhattan.

Cheers,
Max

steve7500 26 Oct 2012
12:35 pm

Blair & Greg: I had a hard time with Campari but I freak out when I start getting low. I have gone through a lot of $$$ experimenting but I have found that The Plymouth Gin,Campari, and CARPANO is the way I like it. I do like Hendricks & M.Miller but not in this cocktail -my taste - not trying to push it on anyone. I also like Beefeater with this cocktail. The Carpano makes any cocktail special Greg. I hope you are able to try it. If I can’t get use Carpano,I use DOLIN.

Greg Patenaude 26 Oct 2012
1:56 pm

steve7500,

Thanks for the input.  I love Plymouth but I don’t think I’ve ever used it for a Negroni.  I’ll have to try that.  I agree, Carpano makes anything better.  Unfortunately for us in Canada, we are still in the ‘dark ages’ when it comes to accessing certain spirits.  Carpano and Dolin are not readily available…at least from where I’m from.  I’ve heard of Carpano being sold in certain Provinces but at a very high price tag.  Things are getting better but we are always on the lookout for new products becoming available.  Fortunately I live next to the border and can obtain hard to find spirits (i.e. Carpano).  I still have un-opened bottles of Carpano and Punt e Mes and will give them a try in a Negroni.  I’ve tried the dry Dolin but never the sweet.  Perhaps I will try and procure a bottle.

Cheers,

Greg

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