Every decade seems to have its own Zeitgeist-capturing cocktailâa tantalizing libation that that somehow seems to reflect the style and character of its era. In the 1990s, that cocktail was the cosmopolitan. Today's drink of choice, among the tastemakers and the trendsetters, has got to be the Negroni. If you have never heard of this cocktail before, buckle in: We are going to take you on a crash course of this unique cocktailâs history, its flavor profile, and what ultimately makes it so special, so hip.
Negroni at a Glance
This is a slightly bitter cocktail, and its makeup is fairly simple. To mix a Negroni, you have just got to put together equal parts sweet vermouth, Campari, and gin. That part is easy to explain. Itâs the history of this cocktail thatâs a bit more complex and interesting.
Some cocktail historians have traced the Negroni back to Florence circa 1919. An Italian bartender was asked by a patron to mix him up an American-styled cocktail, only stiffer, stronger. At the time, a favorite American concoction was made from Campari, sweet vermouth, and club sodaâmaking it similar but significant tamer. The bartender swapped out the club soda for some gin, and the patronâwho just happened to be a man named Count Camillo Negroniâwas well pleasedâ¦ enough so that he christened this new beverage with his own name.
Though the Count enjoyed this cocktail, though, it was not exactly an overnight sensation; instead it enjoyed quiet, low-key popularity, appearing for almost a century on various menus at Italian eateries but not quite breaking through to the mainstream.
Today, however, itâs a staple of cocktail menus across the country. So why the sudden surge in popularity? The answer has everything to do with more general trends in cocktail consumption. Hip drink lovers in the 2000s have been increasingly drawn toward two thingsâgin and bitters. Since the Negroni is a gin-based drink with both of these things, it was only a matter of time before it started to enjoy its own renaissance.
Try a Negroni
There are, of course, many ways to get into the spirit of the Negroni. You can participate in one of the worldwide Negroni Week events, held annually. You can even go to your favorite burger joint and ask for a Negroni BBQ burger, which allows you to savor some of those same flavors in a different form.
Or, of course, you could always just head to your favorite cocktail bar and try sipping on a Negroni; if youâve ever enjoyed slightly bitter and/or gin-based drinks, youâll quite likely enjoy this one, right along with countless other drink enthusiasts from around the world.