The Negroni, all you wanted to know about this cocktail

A cocktail to be enjoyed on any occasion, the Negroni has a somewhat confusing history. We tell you more.

The Negroni is a cocktail highly praised by the cocktail scene and one of the most popular cocktails ever created. This year it turns 102 years old and even has an annual week dedicated to it, the Negroni Week, in which for seven days bars around the world prepare its original recipe and even versions, and even take advantage to make charitable works with the funds collected from each Negroni sale.


History of the Negroni: first theory

It is said that Count Camillo Negroni created this aperitif around 1919. The count, liked to appreciate what was initially known as Americano (Campari, Red Vermouth and Club Soda and lemon peel). To change the recipe, he asked a bartender to replace the club soda with gin to add a deeper touch…and of course the lemon peel with orange.

According to Campari, the count “asked for a touch of gin instead of club soda in his Americano, in honor of his recent trip to London. The cocktail, which he adored, took the count’s name (…) Simple and balanced, it is considered one of the best-known Italian cocktails in the world.”

Apparently, this would have happened at the bar and drugstore Café Casoni, in a sophisticated district of Florence.

It is a widely accepted story documented in “Sulle Tracce del Conte: La Vera Storia del Cocktail Negroni,” written by Lucca Picchi, head bartender at Caffe Rivoire in Florence, Italy, and translated as “In the Footsteps of the Count: The True Story of the Negroni Cocktail.”


History of the Negroni: Second theory

Explains writer François de Negroni, “According to a family tradition, it was created by my great-great-great-uncle Pascal-Olivier de Negroni in the 19th century. When I was writing a book about this cocktail in the United States four years ago, the two theses clashed. I contributed the documents in my possession to my Corsican-Puerto Rican cousins who defended the first hypothesis.”

According to the Corsican Negroni, the first cocktail bearing their name would have been tasted long before 1919, between 1855 and 1865, in Saint-Louis du Sénégal. That is to say, during the decade during which Count Pascal-Olivier de Negroni, born on the island in 1929 and a military man, was living in Africa. Moreover, the newspaper Corse Matin, mentions in a 1980 article that “Pascal-Olivier invented the cocktail (…) to make a gift to his wife, and to help her digest.”

But for David Wondrich, this story lacks consistency. “(Negroni) mentions vermouth, but neither gin, nor Campari, nor bitters. Vermouth barely appeared in American cocktails. In the Manhattan in 1882 and in the Martini in 1883. In the rest of the world, a cocktail was a drink made from bitters, sugar and spirit. To have crossed the path of a cocktail with vermouth, it would have been necessary for this ancestor to go to the United States.” Also, for the time, Wondrich says, the word cocktail was not in use for the era.


Negroni cocktail recipe

Four ingredients to make this classic cocktail, a very simple preparation for this must-have of classic cocktails.

Photo by Sophia Sideri on Unsplash


35 ml of gin

35 ml of Campari

and 35 ml of Martini Rosso

Orange peel for garnish


Type of glass: Old fashioned

Preparation: Add the ingredients in the glass and add the ice. Stir gently and well until cooled and diluted. Strain the cocktail into a previously chilled glass. Finish by garnishing with the orange peel and serve immediately.


Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.


Join the community on Reddit

Spirits Hunters is a community dedicated to spirits and the world of mixology. Feel free to talk about the world of mixology and bartending here!