Negroni Week is once again upon us! The Negroni is a classic cocktail that in recent years has come back with a vengeance! It is made of equal part Campari (bitter orange liqueur), red vermouth, and gin, with a twist. It is a fun drink to tweak for many bartenders and this year, from June 5-11th, our staff at Church&State and Wisdom will be serving up their recipes for your drinking pleasure as well as the Fisher House Charity.
As a long-time mixologist its current popularity truly surprises and pleases me; for it is a drink that stands out boldly in the bitter realm–a realm that the masses usually do not embrace.
Appreciating bitter is generally something that comes with experience and age–it is said that ‘a mature palate, is one that appreciates bitter’, and that the young tend to shy away from this part of the flavor spectrum. Bitter however is a cornerstone in the Italian liqueur world, where imbibing on a digestivo after the meal is a long and wide-spread cultural tradition. The growing love for this classic beauty may very well be a good indicator of America’s revival of and embracing of the neo-cocktail culture.
The classic origin story is that the drink was created by or for Count Camillo Negroni circa 1920 in Florence, Italy at Bar Casoni (now, Caffe Giacosa). The concoction was a riff and higher-proof evolution of an Americano (indicating bitter in Italian not American) Campari, red vermouth soda water. Before the Americano, there was the Milano-Torino (Campari from Milan and Martini Rosso Vermouth from Turin) and older still the Torino-Milano (Campari and Amaro Cora, another Italian bitter liqueur). And before the Torino-Milano there was the big bang.