Meet Negroni, Italy's favourite cocktail

Food & Wine Florence


As the stifling summer days kick in, there really is nothing like a cool cocktail al fresco; late sunsets and warm evenings make the allure of a freshly made beverage even more irresistible. Head to Italy, and it's likely you will want to sample the country's speciality to truly soak up the authentic Italian experience.

Not for the faint hearted, the Negroni is an acquired taste. Comprising of Sweet Vermouth, Campari and Gin it is the definition of balance and simplicity, with a powerful taste that makes it ideal as an Aperitif. Rising in popularity through the decades since its birth, it now holds a firm place in the line of classic cocktails of the world.
The history of the Negroni
Dating back to 1919, it is said that the Negroni was founded in Florence at Caffe' Casoni on Via Tournabouni (later renamed Bar Giacosa and then moved to Via della Spada when Roberto Cavalli opened his fashion store) by Count Camillo Negroni. Camillo had asked the bartender to strengthen his favourite cocktail, the Americano, by switching the typical soda for Gin. The Americano had become popular in Italy due to the large amount of Americans entering the country after World War 1, but this alteration offered something totally unique. Just for good measure, the bartender also switched the lemon garnish for an orange one, cementing it as a stand out drink of its own.

The drink was an instant hit, not only with Camillo but with other locals who soon learnt of this sophisticated new beverage. Before long customers were asking for the Count Negroni and, eventually, just the Negroni. A phenomenon was born. The drink was so popular, the Negroni family thereafter founded the Negroni Distillery in Treviso Italy, and produced a ready made version of the drink called Antico Negroni. It had become one of the most iconic cocktails of all time, one that would always be connected with the opulence of Italian culture.

How to make Negroni - The recipe

Difficulty: Easy
Prep time: 3 minutes

1⁄3 Sweet Vermouth
1⁄3 Campari
1⁄3 Gin
Orange slice or twist for garnish

1. Pour all ingredients into an old­fashioned tumbler glass with ice cubes.
2. Stir well.
3. Garnish with the orange slice.
Negroni Sbagliato

Fancy something a little bit different? The Negroni Sbagliato (literally "wrong Negroni", rumoured to have been created by mistake by a clumsy bartender) has aldready become a new classic ! Try this change of ingredients for a whole new taste experience.

Negroni Sbagliato: the ingredients

1/3 Sweet Vermouth
1/3 Campari
1/3 Prosecco
Orange wheel for garnish