The hidden history of the quintessential summer cocktail
SPONSORED — The quintessential summer cocktail can be traced back to an Italian count who spent time in London and also lived in America where he was a cowboy, a banker and (according to legend) a riverboat gambler.
You don’t need to know the biography of the Italian Count Camillo Negroni to appreciate the drink that now bears his name, but it can’t hurt, either, and it does make for some interesting conversation.
The Negroni has been traced back to 1919. Negroni was looking to put a little more oomph in a cocktail known as the Americano, which is composed of Italian vermouth and Campari, mixed with soda water Negroni asked his bartender to replace the soda water with gin, spawning a drink that would become synonymous with the spring and summer months, traditionally consumed as an aperitif before dinner. An orange garnish was added in place of the lemon that typically accompanies an Americano, and just like that, what may be the most reliable cocktails was born.
The Negroni’s consistency is remarkable, a drink that is so easy to make well that you’re safe ordering it at a wedding. It is a three-ingredient drink composed of equal parts and mixed right in the glass. It is bitter, it is bold and it is exceptionally reliable.
Another advantage is that it can be made in advance. In fact, the count’s family took full advantage of that by actually making the , and you can even go so far as to barrel age the drink, which serves to smooth out any rough edges and soften the mouth feel.
The count was an adventurer. Someone who lived a wonderfully rich life and whose desire for a more formidable cocktail led to a signature drink that can be ordered as readily in his native country as in America, where his legacy lives on:
1 oz. Heritage Distilling Co. Elk Rider Gin
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. Italian Vermouth
Shake well with cracked ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of orange peel or slice of orange.