Thursday, April 30, 2009


It is nearing summer. Time to think of food and drink. Drink? How about the classic: a negroni. It is one of our favorites, as it is many others. But it has also been described as an "acquired" taste. -- an "acquired taste" being something I like but you probably won't -- at least that is the implication.

But we all will like a classic negroni this summer.

History: in the early 1860's in Florence, Gaspare Campari, the creator of the eponymous aperitif, had a bar where he enticed his customers in tasting his bitter concoction -- a mixture of spices, herbs, bark and fruit peels. The Italians noticed that the visiting Americans, especially during the prohibition period, loved the drink, so they labeled it an "Americano".

However, before it became the Americano, in the early 1900's, the Italian count Camillo Negroni, a frequent caller at Campari's bar, wanted a little more zip in the basic drink. He asked the bartender to use gin rather than soda water. Presto: the Negroni.

Very simple:

one and one-half ounces Campari
one and one-half ounces sweet vermouth
one and one-half ounces gin
decorate with an orange wheel or orange twist

Pour the ingredients into an ice-filled shaker. Stir vigorously (no need to shake). Pour into an old-fashioned glass and add the garnish.