Pronouncing these words: “Made in Italy”, cocktails are not the first products to come to mind. But what could represent the Belpaese better than a cocktail invented by a cosmopolitan nobleman by mixing English gin with two proudly Italian ingredients? And it is for this reason that today we will discover a drink that is considered an excellence of aperitif.
We are talking about the Negroni, which despite having turned 104 years old, never goes out of fashion. It was born in Florence between 1917 and 1920 - the year of birth is placed in 1919 thanks to some documentation found -, conceived by Count Camillo Negroni, who was a citizen of the world of Florentine origins. He had lived in London, in the United States, where he certainly had the opportunity to taste Americano in the Big Apple, of which the Negroni is, if we can define it that way, the reinforced version.
The count, upon returning to Florence, had the idea of proposing an American-style cocktail in the aristocratic Caffè Casoni, in via de' Tornabuoni, so he asked the then bartender Fosco Scarselli to strengthen his favorite cocktail, the Americano. She asked him to add a dose of gin to replace the seltzer, in memory of his last trips to London. One of the reasons why the Negroni is so popular is because it is extremely simple to prepare as it contains only 3 ingredients: Gin, Campari and Red Vermouth: one-third, one-third, one-third. What distinguishes this alcoholic drink from others is the slice of orange. A sort of signature of the count himself. “For those times it was a real luxury and a way to stand out, given that before him everyone only put a little lemon peel” underlines Luca Picchi, an expert on the subject and Florentine barman of the famous Caffè Gilli, even writing on the subject a book for the Giunti publishing house: Negroni Cocktail, an Italian legend (2015).
The drink's fame began to spread rapidly. It was a real novelty and at the beginning, it was defined as an American in the manner of Count Negroni, but only later did it become Negroni, the symbol of the Renaissance of Italian drinking. Although everything begins in Florence, the other two ingredients used are linked to the major urban centers of northern Italy. Campari, in fact, was born in Milan from the creative genius of Gaspare Campari, while Vermouth, on the other hand, originates in the city of Turin. Its popularity increased during the Dolce Vita years, a period in which Italy was invaded by the greatest artists in the world. The success is so great that it is even mentioned in the stories of Ernest Hemingway and Ian Fleming.
With this success, the Negroni family quickly jumped on the trend and founded the Negroni Distillery in Treviso, where they worked hard to produce Negroni on an industrial level. This distillery is still open today but is now owned by another family.
If you think that the Negroni is too strong or not to your taste, know that there are some variations to try, such as the Negroni Sbagliato - created by Mirko Stocchetto of Bar Basso in via Plinio in Milan, the gin is replaced by white wine sparkling or Brut sparkling wine to make it sweeter; the Americano - the predecessor of the Negroni which includes Campari, vermouth and a splash of soda; the Negrosky - invented by Mahjoub with vodka instead of gin. The Negroni has started to become popular in the last decade. It is considered one of the best Campari cocktails in Italy! With its red appearance, it is ideal for livening up the feed of any social network, thus celebrating the uniqueness of a centuries-old history, with an entirely Italian heart.
Negroni in a film
If you haven't seen it yet, we recommend the documentary Looking for Negroni by Federico Micali which brings the history of the cocktail reconstructed by barman Luca Picchi to the big screen.
Picchi has written two books on the subject which trace the birth of one of the most famous cocktails in the world between history and legend, which was born, as if by magic.
A moment of relaxation
And after having talked so much about the history of the famous cocktail, we bet you got thirsty! Here is the preparation of the Negroni by the barman Luca Picchi, try to replicate it and enjoy this moment of relaxation.
Check out other things to do in Florence:
- Florence more and more suitable for cycling
- Florence: The place where you eat best in the world (according to tourists)
- Spring in Italy: flowers, sun and good food
- What's better than the Italian "Dolce Vita"?
- What about an Italian language vacation?
- La via Romea del Chianti