I originally posted this just over two years ago and felt it was worthy of a repost. For gin drinkers that happen to be Italian, or want to be Italian, or know an Italian, or can spell Italian, or have heard of an Italian, or even if your not, this is a pretty fun cocktail. The Negroni is a simple, lighlty bitter, refreshing, and delicious cocktail.
Lately I have been fascinated by cocktails that are really old…like older than my aunts, uncles, and parents…yeah THAT old! I think anything that has stood the test of time should be honored, respected, or at a minimum reconsidered. Food, clothing, architecture…it was hip and cool for a reason (at least once!).
I haven’t messed with very many old school cocktails, but have been looking for referrals and talking to friends that may know a little something about those spirits. In case you missed my Perfectly Updated Manhattan, you should read it, make one or two, and then add your opinions to the spirited debate that @beanwhisperer and I got in regarding the right ratios of bourbon and vermouth (he says 4:1, I am a touch more traditional so am 2:1, although we BOTH agree that the quality of bourbon, and vermouth for that matter, are paramount).
The Negroni is said to have originated in Italy, sometime in the early 1900s and as all good things, invented out of necessity. A local Italian bartender decided he needed to “strengthen” his Americano cocktail (not the coffee drink). He decided to add gin and a twist of orange in addition to the bitters and sweet vermouth. Designed as an apertif, this beverage was thought to be good for the liver, and was consumed, before dinner, to “awaken the palate.” It was a hit, and made famous all throughout Europe and across the Atlantic, here in the good old USA. The bitters has now been replaced with Campari and is making a resurgence as a strong, balanced, subtle, and flavorful blast from the past.
1 part Gin
1 part Sweet Vermouth
1 part Campari
2 dashes bitters
Twist of orange
Either chilled martini or coupe glass, neat, or over ice in an old fashioned glass.
Personally, I chill the martini glass with lots of ice while preparing the rest. Add a small handful of ice to your shaker and gin, vermouth, and campari. Stir vigorously to get well incorporated and chilled. our into martini glass and garnish with orange peel. Enjoy!