The Notorious Negroni
How many of you know that this week, 24th - 30th June is Negroni Week?
For those that do not know the Negroni, it is to this decade what the Cosmopolitan was to the '90s—a zeitgeist (spirit of the times) defining cocktail that’s as beloved as it is hated. A little like marmite. How did this bitter concoction—made of equal parts Campari, vermout and gin—go from relative obscurity to headlining every cocktail list worldwide?
History informs us that drink originated from Caffe Casoni in Florence, Italy in 1919. Legend tells that Count Camillo Negroni asked his friend, bartender Forsco Scarselli, to strengthen his favourite cocktail – the Americano – by replacing the soda water with gin. Scarselli added an orange garnish, rather than the lemon you’d usually get with an Americano, and the drink took off. Before long, everyone was coming into the bar for a ‘Negroni.’
In the last decade the Negroni has morphed into a mainstay of any self-respecting cocktail menu. This ubiquity is due, in large part, to sheer coincidence. The aughts saw a resurgence in two cocktail staples gin and bitters which were pushed beyond Angostura by adventurous barkeeps.
The Negroni's popularity shows no sign of slowing. In 2013 the cocktail-industry bible Imbibe launched an event in its honour, and the first Negroni Week included 100 U.S. bars mixing up their best versions of the drink. Just two years later, in 2015, Negroni Week had expanded to 3,500 venues in 42 countries.
For those that have never had one, a word of caution from a fan Anthony Bourdain “The negroni will hit you like a freight train after four or five.”
Explorer’s Gin makes a wonderful negroni and our recipe is simple:
20ml Explorer’s Gin – the ideal contemporary London Dry
20ml Campari – this is what makes it bitter
20ml Rosso Martini – gives a balanced rich warm sweetness with citrus overtones