Can you give me a brief rundown of the Negroni’s origins?
The Negroni was born in Florence in 1919, a hundred years ago. There was a noble man,
his name was Count Camillo Negroni, so his surname gave the name to the drink. He was living between Florence, his
city, and London, and travelling a lot. He was always drinking Americanos: bitters, vermouth and soda. But his
growing familiarity with London lead him down the gin path, so once he came back toForsco Scarselli,the barman of Cafe Casoni where he used to go to have
his Negroni, he asked him to add some drops of gin to his Americano and the rest is history.
The Negroni has been around for 100 years, but it seems to have only entered mainstream cocktail culture in
more recent years… why do you think this is?
I’ve got different theories. Mainly I think that if you go to Italy and ask for a
Negroni, it’s like asking for pasta - it’s special yes, but it’s not that special, it’s something that we’ve always
been drinking. I believe that around 10 years ago, the gin craze started so now we have millions of gin brands. More
lately, the Italian amaro and bitter craze started as well. So if you go for example to the US, one of the main
markets for alcohol in the world, what you get is a lot of bitter, amaro, vermouth. They’re really popular again and
new brands are coming out or iconic brands are trying to expand and doing more and more. So the gin, as I said, has
been very strong in the last 10, 12 maybe 15 years, and now together with the bitters and amaro and vermouth, the
Negroni is the best combination that you can use to glorify all of them. At the same time, from a more romantic
point of view, a Negroni is a drink you can have before dinner or you can have after dinner. It makes everyone
happy. From a bartender’s point of view, you can play a lot with the Negroni, because despite there being only three
ingredients, you can change all of them so the combinations are countless.
What is the significance of the Negroni in Italian culture?
It’s the symbol of the aperitivo. You know, when you go for aperitivo, you really
need something to stimulate your appetite. That is what aperitivo means.Aperire in latin means ‘open’, so it will open my appetite somehow. Everyone in Italy - every
bartender, every old lady - is able to make a Negroni and glorify this moment of the day, which is a moment when
people after work meet and socialise.