Photo: karandaev, Getty Images.
If you pay any attention to the cocktail world, you probably know that we are in the midst of a renaissance. No matter where you live in America, you’re likely close to a cocktail bar. No, we’re not talking about your neighborhood watering hole. We’re talking about a cocktail bar where all of the bartenders not only know how to make the classics (Old Fashioned, Moscow Mule, Manhattan, Negroni, etc.) but have their own, unique cocktail menu that changes seasonally. They might also make their own syrups, bitters, and shrubs as well as procure locally-sourced herbs and other ingredients.
You can look through the venue’s menu and find something that sounds interesting and delicious or you can ask them to try their hand at one of the classics. If they’re bold enough to come up with their own cocktails, they definitely know the classics.
Since it’s spring, you should probably order a Negroni. If you’ve never had one before, you should know that the Negroni is slightly different from the cocktails you’re probably used to. It’s slightly bitter because of the addition of Campari, an Italian liqueur. Considered an apéritif, Campari is made from infusing a variety of herbs and fruits in alcohol and water. It can be distinguished by its dark red color and its bitter flavor that is reminiscent of the Novocain you get at the dentist’s office.
The cocktail itself also contains vermouth, gin, an orange twist, and sometimes Prosecco. The drink’s origin can be traced back to the early 1900s. Like many drinks, there are many different stories about who exactly invented it. According to many, the cocktail was first created in Florence, Italy at Bar Casoni. A man named Count Camillo Negroni (hence the name) came into the bar and ordered an Americano (usually made with sweet vermouth, Campari, and soda). But instead of the soda, the count wanted to kick it up a notch and asked the bartender to add gin instead. This is the most likely way the drink originated.
Honor the legacy of Count Negroni by making (or ordering) a Negroni instead of a glass of wine, pint of beer, or your usual go-to cocktails. Why not get bitter this spring and enjoy something different for a change? There’s a reason the Negroni is one of the favorite drinks of the bartending community.
How to Make the Perfect Negroni
- 1 ounce dry gin
- 1 ounce Campari
- 1 ounce vermouth
- Prosecco (optional)
- Orange peel (for garnish)
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker; shake with ice. Strain liquid into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel. Voilà! You have yourself a Negroni!
Since this drink is categorized as an aperitif, that means you’ll want to enjoy it as an appetizer before a meal. Get your grill fired up and throw a few steaks or burgers on it. Sit back and enjoy your Negroni while relaxing in the sunshine and reveling in the warm spring air. Drink one Negroni and you’ll be hooked. Trust us. This will be your new go-to cocktail.