According to findings, the Negroni could have been invented by a family from the island of Corsica. We tell you more about it during the centenary of this classic cocktail.
According to Thomas Andrei, during a visit to the Colomba bar in Bastia, his bartender serves customers and highlights the… “You know, the Negroni, was invented by a Corsican.”
The history of the Negroni indicates, according to Campari, that this cocktail was invented in 1919 by Count Camillo Negroni. He, “asked for a touch of gin instead of soda on his American, in honor of his recent trip to London. The cocktail, which adored him, took the name of the Count (…) Simple and balanced, it is considered one of the best known Italian cocktails in the world.”
Apparently, this would have happened in the bar and drugstore Café Casoni, in a sophisticated district of Florence. But according to the bartender of the Colomba bar in Corsica, the story is different.
A Corsican family tradition
The writer François de Negroni explains, “According to a family tradition, it would have been created by my great-great-grandfather Pascal-Olivier de Negroni, in the 19th century. At the time of writing a book about this cocktail in the United States four years ago, the two theses clashed. I brought the documents in my possession to my Corsican-Puerto Rican cousins who defended the first hypothesis.
François’ family migrated from Corsica to Puerto Rico in 1804. The Negroni, produced coffee and that until the war in Iraq. In fact, in which the son of Noel Negroni, François’ cousin, participated. “The day before his departure we had our first drink together: a Negroni. In the family, the custom imposes that we drink one a day.”
According to the Negroni of Corsica, the first cocktail with their name was tasted long before 1919, between 1855 and 1865, in Saint-Louis du Sénégal. In other words, during the decade during which Count Pascal-Olivier de Negroni, born on the island in 1929 and a soldier, lived in Africa. In addition, the newspaper Corse Matin mentions in a 1980 article that “Pascal-Olivier invented the cocktail (…) to give a gift to his wife, and to help her digest“.
According to Corse Matin, the Negroni was later adapted by French military circles. As proof, Noel, shows a letter, apostilled with the family stamp, that Pascal-Olivier would have sent to his older brother, Roch, in 1886: “Did you know that the cocktail I invented in Saint-Louis based on vermouth causes madness in the officers’ ball?”
David Wondrich expert in cocktails speaks
But for David Wondrich, this story lacks consistency. “(Negroni) mentions vermouth, but neither gin, nor Campari, nor bitterness. Vermouth barely appeared in American cocktails. In Manhattan in 1882 and in Martini in 1883. In the rest of the world, a cocktail was a drink made from bitter, sugar and spirit. To have crossed the path of a cocktail with vermouth, it would have been necessary for this ancestor to be for the United States“. Also, for the time, says Wondrich, the word cocktail was not used at all.
Noel replies to Wondrich saying that his bases are not founded anyway and that according to his investigations with Italian authorities and a lawyer, Camillo’s story is not concrete. However, a Negroni cocktail awaits him in Corsica at the Colomba bar to discuss his origin.
Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.