If you love mixed drinks that are both bitter and citrusy, you’ll probably be a big fan of the Negroni if you aren’t already. This drink traditionally has equal parts gin, Campari, and vermouth rosso with an orange slice or peel for garnish. But there’s so much more to this drink than its simple ingredients! Here’s some background on this beloved cocktail.
How the Negroni Was Invented
There are actually two stories about the Negroni’s origins. The cocktail is believed to either be named after Count Camillo Negroni or General Pascal Oliver de Negroni de Cardi, Comte Negroni. While other accounts may exist, these two are the most widely recognized. Unfortunately, both accounts are merely supported by anecdotal evidence so we may never know which is the real story.
Based on one account, the first Negroni was made in Florence, Italy, over a century ago. It was a new take on an Americano which contained sweet vermouth, Milanese Campari, and club soda served with a slice of lemon. This mixed drink was very popular in the early 1900s in America and throughout Europe.
According to this version of the beverage’s history, Count Negroni walked into a Florence bar and requested a stiffer version of an Americano. By substituting gin for club soda and swapping the Americano’s lemon for orange, a new mixed drink was (supposedly) born. This is perhaps the more popularly told history of the Negroni, but another exists nonetheless.
The other story on the drink’s origins can actually be traced back further, to the mid-19th century. In this account, barmaids and pharmacists in Senegal created a lore around the mixed drink and credited a French army captain Pascal Negroni with its creation. There is also a letter that Pascal sent to his brother while he was stationed in Senegal during the Franco-Prussian War that has been preserved as evidence. In this letter, Pascal wrote, “Incidentally, did you know that the vermouth-based cocktail that I invented in Saint Louis [Senegal] is a great hit at the Lunéville officers club?”
Modern Love of the Negroni!
No matter how this drink may have come about, the complex flavor makes it a
favorite among chefs, bartenders, and consumers. In fact, this mixed drink is so popular that it prompted the start of “Negroni Week” back in 2013 as a way to celebrate the cocktail and raise money for charity. The event is still held annually!
Traditionally, the drink is served in an old-fashioned or a rocks glass usually as an aperitif before a meal. Much to James Bond’s chagrin, it’s never shaken, always stirred. The drink is also perfect for experimenting with. Bartenders have created so many fun variations by slightly altering the ratios of the ingredients as well as incorporating sparkling spirits.
How to Make the Perfect NOgroni
If you don’t drink alcohol or you’re just in the mood for a nonalcoholic cocktail, you can definitely make your Negroni alcohol-free, AKA NOgroni. A NOgroni is every bit as delicious and sophisticated as its alcoholic counterpart. It just won’t come with the painful hangover! You can make a no or low-alc Negroni by using different non-alcoholic alternatives to vermouth rosso, Campari, and/or gin. Read on for some of our suggestions!
The Perfect Gift for the Negroni Lover Who's Not Drinking Alcohol...
For yourself or someone on your holiday gift list, it's simple to make a NOgroni with one of our nonalcoholic Negroni kits!
The NOgroni Kit uses Lyre's Aperitif Rosso, which tastes just like vermouth rosso, and Wilfred's as a Campari stand-in, and Amass Riverine as a gin alternative. Wilfred's has a delicious bittersweet flavor made with oranges, like Campari, but differs in that infuses rosemary flavor, instead of the cherry, clove, and cinnamon that Campari presents. Paired with Amass Riverine, a distilled spirit that evokes the earthy, juniper-y flavors of the forests of the Pacific Northwest, this particular NOgroni is complex, botanical, and herbal. In addition, the kit includes a beautiful rocks glass and professional-style jigger — a great gift with everything you need to make many cocktails, only $134.50.
The Lyre's Negroni Kit also uses Lyre's Aperitif Rosso, along with both Lyre's Italian Orange and Dry London Spirit as stand-ins for Campari and gin. There flavors are more aligned with their traditional counterparts. Make up to two dozen alcohol-free Negronis with these three classic bottles, only $86.40.