Behind the Drink: The Negroni

Contributed by

Want to impress your date? Order a Negroni. Want to impress your boss? Order a Negroni. Want to impress the bartender? Order a Negroni.

It’s the only drink to order these days if you want to a) Tell everyone around you that you’re smart, savvy and sophisticated, and b) Enjoy one of the very best tipples you ever did sip.

The Negroni is also one of the few cocktails with a traceable history that goes all the way back to the early 20th century. Its origins are documented in the book Sulle Tracce del Conte: La Vera Storia del Cocktail Negroni, which was written by Lucca Picchi, head bartender at Caffe Rivoire in Florence, Italy. The drink was created at Bar Casoni in Florence, according to Picchi, when Count Camillo Negroni ordered an Americano—sweet vermouth, Campari and club soda—with gin swapped in for the standard soda.

This all went down circa 1920, after Count Negroni returned from the United States, where he rode the range, busting many a bronco on his travels in the Wild West. He was a tough man, by all accounts, and when American newsman Bob Davis bumped into him during a trip to Italy in 1928, he was sporting full cowboy regalia. “You speak English?” asked Davis. “You’re tootin’ I do, hombre,” replied the Count.

In recent years, the Negroni has risen in popularity in the mixological community, and it has now joined the Dry Martini and the Manhattan to form the Triple Crown of classic cocktails. So why has the Negroni reached such heights? Besides being an incredibly well-balanced drink, it’s also a cocktail that’s hard to make badly—and this means that no matter where in the world you happen to be, if you order a Negroni you’re more or less guaranteed a great quaff. Try one. It won’t be your last.


Contributed by Gary Regan

  • 1.5 oz Campari
  • 1.5 oz Sweet vermouth
  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • Garnish: Orange twist
  • Glass: Old Fashioned

Add all of the ingredients to an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice. Stir briefly and garnish with an orange twist.

Gary Regan is the author of numerous books about spirits and cocktails, including the recently published The Negroni: A gaz regan Notion and The Joy of Mixology. He is also host of and a advisory board member.

Recipes: Negroni
Locations: Florence
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Discussion (8)

  • mscheuerleingmailcom975579324 posted 3 months ago

    One of my favorite drinks since my gf and I discovered it in Venice a couple of years ago. In Venice, at least, it's traditionally served with an olive as well. I like alxxngh.6201's Valentino ratio, and prefer mine with Bombay East with the pepper and lemongrass--compliments the bitter of the Campari nicely!

  • alxxngh.6201 posted 4 months ago

    Gary Regan in his book THE JOY OF MIXOLOGY explains that the three ingredients should be equal. After emphasizing this a bit, he then admits that he developed what he calls the Valentino (IIRC) which is more gin than Campari & Sweet Vermouth. This is what I usually make: a 7 count of gin (Tanqueray) & 4 count each of both Campari & vermouth. If I have no orange for a peel, I'll add a few drops of Regan's Orange Bitters. I can drink those 'till the cows come home or I pass out, whichever comes first.

  • jimwoodmtgmailcom1022266918 posted 8 months ago

    I'm always surprised when an American says they like the Negroni. The flavor profile tends to the bitter side of the pallet, and in my experience, Americans don't like to venture much outside of the realm of sweet.

  • thomgreatspiritsinccom24207637 posted 9 months ago

    I've got to agree with Spanky. This drink is nasty. This is the second drink I have tried with Campari and the first was equally disgusting. I washed the taste away with a good ol Bourbon and Coke.

  • Spanky posted 4 years ago

    You are correct, that the Gin and Vermouth will be used.
    I guess the Campari will make for a nice decor on the shelf. ;)

    Thanks for acknowledging and replying to a "negative" comment.
    I like one who can take criticism well.

  • posted 4 years ago

    Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy the Negroni. It is one of our absolute favorites, but Campari can be an acquired taste. We'd encourage you to try it again—you can play around with the proportions a bit to better suit your palate. That said, you didn't waste $54—gin, Campari and sweet vermouth can each be used in hundreds of different cocktails. Try searching for some inspiration.

  • Spanky posted 4 years ago

    I went out this Friday and purchased all the ingredients.
    After spending $55, I just realized that I had wasted $54.
    The drink was disgusting, but the whole orange was great, to get the horrid taste out of my mouth.

    Liquor.c0m you should be ashamed of yourself for publishing this.

  • carmen pitti posted 4 years ago

    the drink very good

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