The Negroni is the very definition of a classic gin cocktail, boasting a lengthy history and a refined, elegant flavour. Throughout its 101-year existence, it has remained steadfast in its popularity among bartenders and drinkers alike, thanks to its simple composition and complex, unique taste. A thoroughly Italian affair, this concoction has been a staple for traditional ‘aperitivo’ sessions since its inception and its popularity is only continuing to grow.
Where was the Negroni invented?
The most widely accepted origin story for this bittersweet aperitif dates back to the year 1919, when the eccentric Count Camillo Negroni decided to turbo-charge his usual libation. Negroni requested the bartender at Caffè Casoni in Florence replace the soda water in his Americano (comprising sweet vermouth, bitters and soda) with something stronger. The bartender dutifully swapped the soda water for a measure of gin and in turn created a classic. As with most cocktail origins, there are the usual debates about the authenticity of this history, but as it is the most widely reported, we’re going to stick with it!
What does the Negroni taste like?
Like any great aperitif, the Negroni plays a key function in priming your appetite for the food you are about to eat. The drink is made up of equal measures of gin, sweet vermouth and a some variation of a bitter, herbal spirit, usually Campari. As you would expect, the resulting concoction is pleasantly bitter in taste, with sweet notes deriving from the vermouth and orange peel garnish.
Believe it or not, there is scientific reasoning as to the benefits of drinking bitter aperitifs such as the Negroni before dinner. According to the Huffington Post, “When you put something bitter on your tongue, your whole body gets excited about the prospect of receiving food and begins to produce digestive juices” – which is exactly why a Negroni works so well for this purpose.
How do you make a Negroni?
When it comes to creating our perfect Negroni, we of course have to opt for our classic, strikingly smooth 6 O’clock Gin London Dry as the base, partnered with Bramley & Gage Sweet Vermouth and Campari. Stir 25ml of each spirit together in an ice-filled rocks glass, before garnishing with a slice of orange. The resulting cocktail is bittersweet as promised, with plenty of decadent herbal notes from the combination of spirits and a delectable dry finish from the gin.
Albeit that the above is our ‘perfect’ recipe, the Negroni is a great cocktail for experimentation. With such an open base and simple structure, switching the spirits for something with a slightly different flavour profile can allow you to completely customise your Negroni. One of our favourite versions uses our 6 O’clock Gin Damson alongside Bramley & Gage Sweet Vermouth and Aperol, for a slightly sweeter, fruitier take on this classic. Whichever version you decide to make, we hope you enjoy sipping this refined, elegant concoction.