The Negroni origin story has gone through a major shake-up in the last few years.
For decades, the drink was believed to have origins in Florence, Italy, with the dashing Count Camillo Negroni. Like most good tales, the telling has become more mysterious as it’s been passed down. As it goes, Count Negroni was at Caffè Giacosa in 1919 when he asked the bartender to make him a modified version of the Americano cocktail, which is composed of Campari, sweet vermouth, soda water, and a lemon twist. The Count requested gin instead of soda water to add a little kick, and the bartender added an orange slice in place of a lemon twist. It wasn’t until recently that the Negroni family tried to find out more about one of Italy’s most famous cocktails. During their research, they came to realize that they had both the wrong country and the wrong man.
Colonel Héctor Andrés Negroni and his brother Noel Xavier Negroni have recently stated that there never was a Count Camillo Negroni. Other sources dispute this claim, but to date there is no definitive answer. According to Negroni family documents, the true creator was Pascal Olivier de Negroni, a fourth cousin. Pascal was a general who joined the French Army when he was 18 years old. He led the legendary charge of Cuirassiers during the opening stages of the Franco-Prussian War and became a decorated officer and commander of the Legion of Honor. What the Negroni family discovered is that Pascal may have invented the drink for his young bride when he was in Senegal, Africa. This is a crushing blow for Italy, which has laid claim to the cocktail for the last 100 years. Although some details surrounding the creation of the Negroni and General Pascal are still unclear, the Negroni family is adamant about finding out all they can to finally set the record straight.
No matter what story you want to believe, the Negroni is, in fact, a delicious classic that’s super simple to make at home. An easy mix of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, it’s an impressive cocktail that can be enjoyed all year long. If you prefer your cocktails to be served up, feel free to nix the rocks glass and strain this beauty into a coupe instead.
- 1 oz. Gin
- 1 oz. Campari
- 1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
- Orange Twist (for Garnish)
Preparation: Add all liquid ingredients to a mixing glass with ice. Stir until chilled and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Express an orange peel over the top of the drink and drop it in as a garnish.