Recording a temperature of 90°F, 32 men lined up for the marathon at the 1904 St. Louis Olympics. In those days there was only one official water station at 12 miles. Dressed in singlets, long white shorts, held up by a leather belt it was not exactly performance-enhancing apparel. Having raised enough money to travel from Cuba, Felix Carvajal lost it all in a game of dice in New Orleans. He hitchhiked the rest of the way, and arrived at the race in a long-sleeved shirt, hat, pants, heavy shoes, and a notable moustache. Carvajal was one of the favourites in a field that featured three Boston Marathon winners. Dubbed a “man-killing event” by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, only 14 finished; one after hitchhiking, one after taking a nap, and one — the eventual gold medallist, Thomas Hicks — after being given a cocktail of strychnine and brandy. Hicks collapsed at the finishing line, thinking he hadn’t won. However, as Alice Roosevelt Longworth, daughter of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States was crowning Fred Lorz as victor – a spectator revealed he drove part of the course. Lorz defended his victory as a joke, and despite being given a near lethal cocktail, Hicks was awarded the gold medal.
Some 15 years later – and thanks to Camillo Negroni – a cocktail symbolizing a more cheerful spirit was conceived at Florence’s Caffè Casoni. A bitter concoction – made of equal parts Campari, sweet vermouth and gin, in recent times, the Negroni has become far more than a cocktail. At the launch of The Rake's Negroni No.1 cocktail, Hollywood Director Paul Feig said: “The Negroni has moved beyond being a beverage and has become a community symbol for those of us inspired by the past.” Agreeing with Feig’s sentiment, it was always The Rake’s intention to use the Negroni No. 1 as the pillar of a scheme – to transform the Negroni into a global men’s lifestyle brand and culture. Craft, passion and community are instilled in each decanter, so when the opportunity to arose to collaborate with a firm that personifies the soul of our bottle we jumped at the chance. The result is a Negroni sneaker, designed by iconic American running brand KangaROOS, which is handcrafted in Pirmasens, the shoemaking hub of Germany.