domingo, 8 de junio de 2014

The Negroni cocktail: history and recipe.

"For me, a Negroni, grazie!"
If you've ever been to an italian bar, you'd probably have heard that phrase. Negroni is one of the mythical cocktail, listed as a official cocktail from the International Bartender Association (IBA). It has a history of a century upon its shoulders, and that makes it one of the oldest cocktail ever.

It is a drink with a trademark dark orange colour, and it is obtained mixing the  gin, the Campari bitter and a Vermouth Rosso. It is quite perfect for an aperitivo, and you know how italians are found of their aperitivo! ;)

We actually know that even the ancient romans loved to have an aperitivo before eating, using a wine they called Mulsum, made with wine and honey. Anyway, modern time aperitivo was invented in Turin in 1786, when Antonio Benedetto Carpano invented the Vermouth mixing the white wine with some 30 aromatic herbs. After Carpano, the Gancia Vermut became the official aperitivo of the Royal House of Savoy. By the way, Gancia produces also great italian sparkling wines known as spumante, but don't worry, we'll talk about it in another occasion! ;)

After the Unification of Italy, the Vermut became a fashonable drink throughout the Boot. At the end of the XIX Century, with the golden age of Caffè, it became more and more popular. Generally speaking, the aperitivo is to be served along with some light food, a sort of tasty appetizer. In the original piedmontese tradition, it is usually the Bagna Cauda, a sort of anchovies and garlic dip to be eaten with veggies, usually celery or peppers. Needless to say, today the varieties of foods allowed with the aperitivo has widened a lot.

Count Camillo Negroni
And after this short introduction to the idea of the italian aperitivo, let's get back to our Negroni cocktail, of which we know exactly how, when and where it was created. We're in the 1919, in one of the most charming cities of Old Europe, Florence. We're in the central Via de' Tornabuoni, located few steps away from the tremendous Palazzo Strozzi, an unmatched renaissance palace wanted by the most rich bankier Filippo Strozzi, who lost his whole fortune to built his palazzo. Well, in that high end street there was a bar, called Caffè Casoni, where the nobleman Conte Camillo Negroni was a frequent client. He usually enjoyed an Aperitivo Americano, until he decided to give it a personal twist, changing the selters waters used in the original Americano cocktail with a more rocking gin, to remember his travels to London. The Barista, Fosco Scarselli, had then the skills to mix the ingredients in the right proportions, and there you have it!
The new cocktail conquered the Conte and his friends, the bourgeoisie and the noblemen of Florence, that started calling it the "Aperitivo Americano at the fashon of Conte Negroni", or, more practically, "Negroni".

The original bar Basso in Milano
There is a number of variations around the idea of Negroni, but since that one of us (Tom) is from Milan, we can't help but mention the most Milanese of all cocktails, the Negroni Sbagliato. This version is obtained changing the gin of the original version with a Spumante Brut, a dry sparkling italian wine. It is lightier and therefore is even better as an Aperitivo. It was invented during the Sixties in the famous bar Basso, in the fashonable district of Porta Venezia, from the hands of the barista Mirko Stocchetto. Let's see how to do it at home!


- Ice cubes
- 1/3 cup of Martini
- 1/3 cup of Spumante Brut italian sparking wine
- 1/3 cup of Martini Rosso
- few drops of angostura
- a slice of orange to decorate the cup


it is sooo easy! Just put the ice cubes in your cup, the ideal cup would be a wide and short cup like the middle size tumbler, then add the Campari, the Martini and the Spumante, mix it well, then add some drops of angostura and decorate the cup with a slice of orange. An elegant and refined cocktail in few simple steps!
Try to do it at home and tell us how it went! You and your friends will love it! ;)



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