- The Negroni is a cocktail typically made with Campari, sweet vermouth, gin, and a bit of orange peel.
- The popular cocktail’s known for its signature bitter flavour that many either dislike or absolutely love.
- The drink was created in Italy 100 years ago and there are dozens of variations of it.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more great stories.
The Negroni is said to have been created about 100 years ago and this simple cocktail has since become a staple drink at many bars around the world.
The classic alcoholic beverage is typically made with Campari (an alcoholic spirit infused with bitter herbs, aromatic plants, and fruit), sweet vermouth (a flavored white wine), and gin. It’s typically garnished with a twist of orange peel.
Here are some interesting things you probably didn’t know about the Negroni.
The drink is said to be a spin-off of a different cocktail, an Americano
As legend has it, a mysterious Italian Count, Camillo Negroni, was known to frequently order a drink called an Americano, a cocktail traditionally made with Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda water that was garnished with a lemon peel. One day, Negroni came into a café and asked for an Americano with gin instead of soda.
“The bartender, Fosco Scarselli, added a twist of orange rather than the Americano’s typical lemon peel and, in that very moment, the eponymous Negroni was born,” Anne Louise Marquis, national portfolio brand Ambassador for Campari America, explained.
You can still visit the supposed birthplace of the cocktail
Although the cafe has since closed, fans of the drink can still visit a plaque that was installed in the former birthplace of the Negroni. The commemorative plaque celebrates the 100th birthday of the iconic cocktail.
There are a lot of variations of the Negroni
There are quite a few adaptations of this simple recipe. One such variation is the Negroni Sbagliato – legend has it this drink was accidentally created when a bartender used sparkling wine instead of gin when preparing a Negroni. The Italian word “sbagliato” roughly translates to “mistake” in English, a nod to the drink’s accidental origin.
Other variations include the Old Pal and Boulevardier, which are both bourbon- or rye-whiskey based, not gin-based like the Negroni. Notably, some suggest that these cocktails were actually created before the Negroni, not after it.
Its taste can be divisive, but some say you just have to get used to it
According to Marquis, the cocktail’s particular bitter palate takes some time to get used to. Some say the divisive Negroni has a bit of an “acquired taste” so if you don’t like it yet, you might want to try it a few more times to really figure out if the drink is for you.
She said it often takes trying three Negronis in order “to truly appreciate them.”
In Italy, this drink is typically enjoyed at an aperitivo hour
Some people in places like the US might be familiar with happy hours when bars and eateries typically offer discounted alcoholic drinks and snacks. But in Italy, people are likely more familiar with aperitvo hour, which celebrates the beginning of the night, explained Marquis.
During this hour, light, slightly bitter drinks and small servings of food are served and they are meant to “open your palate” for an upcoming meal but not fill you up. A classic, bitter Italian cocktail, the Negroni is popularly served during this time.
Each year there is an entire week dedicated to the Negroni
Negroni Week began in 2013. During this week, thousands of bars and restaurants from around the globe donate to a philanthropy of their choice and sell Negronis and Negroni variations in honour of the classic cocktail.
This year’s Negroni Week lasts from June 24 to June 30.
Famed author Ernest Hemingway was a noted fan of the drink
The author even mentioned the cocktail in his book “Across the River and Into the Trees,” which at one point reads, “They were drinking Negronis, a combination of two sweet vermouths and seltzer water.” Although he named the Negroni, it seems the recipe he mentioned could be for an Americano.
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