Friday Night Cocktails: Negroni

As with many cocktails containing the ingredient Campari (the liqueur whose carmine red color was originally derived from a dye made of crushed cochineal insects!) the Negroni is a love-it or loathe-it drink due to the ingredient’s bitter edge. Campari haters will find the drink too bitter, but Negroni lovers (of which there are many) gravitate toward the drink’s bittersweet complexity.  It's an excellent cocktail to have before a large meal (it is said that bitters stimulate the appetite) and also feels like a perfect cocktail to serve on Christmas due to its festive hue.

While the identity of the drink's inventor is disputed, it is most frequently attributed to the Corsican general Pascal Olivier de Negroni in the late 1800’s.  The consensus is that it was created as a more potent spinoff to the traditional Italian aperitif the Americano which contained soda water, campari, and red vermouth.  As the drink gained popularity, the Negroni Family capitalized on this with their Negroni Distillery in Treviso, Italy where they developed and marketed a pre-mixed version of the cocktail. 

Americans became more familiar with the Negroni when Orson Welles, in a 1947 US interview, reported back about a cocktail he'd been served in Rome while filming Black Magic:  "The bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other."


1 oz Gin
1 oz Red Vermouth
1 oz Camparia

Fill an Old Fashioned glass with ice, add the ingredients above, and stir until cold. Run a bit of orange peel around the rim to release its oils and add it to the drink as a final garnish.