Pleasure / May 2019

Long Live the Negroni: 100 Years of the Crimson Cocktail

A century since its fateful inception, the simple yet spirituous Negroni endures as a cocktail menu mainstay. The Connaught Bar’s Giorgio Bargiani talks us through the history, cultural significance and enduring relevance of the much-loved Italian aperitivo.

Like many, I consider the Negroni to be my favourite drink. Wonderfully refreshing, bracingly bitter and packing a punch, it has become my tipple of choice, my go-to for any time of the evening, whether sipped slowly and civilly as the sun goes down, or imbibed uninhibitedly into the night, inevitably preceding questionable dance moves and a sore head the next day.

Despite my penchant for the Negroni, I’ve never thought to question its origins or history, instead spending years ordering a drink I knew little about. I’ve even gone so far as to host ‘Negroni nights’, charming guests with my over-enthusiastic pours and artfully twisted orange peel garnish, all the while ignorant of the drink’s rich heritage and important cultural significance. Sacrilege, I know.

When I learnt that this year marks a century since the Negroni’s first pour, I decided to consult an expert to learn more about the drink’s origins, evolution and burgeoning popularity. Who better to ask than Tuscan-born Giorgio Bargiani, Head Bartender at London’s iconic Connaught Bar, for whom the Negroni represents the epitome of Italian culture, intrinsically tied to family, festivities and ‘la dolce vita’...

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Aobh O'Brien-Moody