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Origin of the Negroni: Florence’s Favorite Cocktail

Origin of the Negroni: This is the story of how Florence’s favorite cocktail, the Negroni, became one of the hottest drinks in the world.

Of all the cocktails that have recently grown in popularity, the Florentine community is particularly proud of the Negroni and its Florentine origins. Local lore has it that Negroni was first mixed in Florence in 1919 at Café Cassoni, formerly known as Café Giacosa. The bar was located on the corner of Via Tornabuoni, one of Florence’s most fashionable streets and today the site of the city’s most famous high-end boutiques.

Legend has it that Count Camilo Negroni asked bartender Fosco Scarcelli to replace soda water with gin to fortify his favorite cocktail—the Americano. Fosco garnishes the drink with an orange peel instead of the customary lemon peel to differentiate it from the Americano and named the cocktail after the Count who created it. Origin of the Negroni.

On the heels of the cocktail’s success, the Negroni family founded the Negroni Distillery in Treviso, Italy, where they produced a pre-made version of the drink, sold as the Antico Negroni. It is reported that Orson Welles, working in Rome in 1947, described the Negroni: “Bitters are excellent for your liver, gins are bad for you. They balance each other out.”

Many people attribute the popularity of the Negroni to its balance of flavor and the fact that it is a cocktail that is fairly simple to make at home. Here’s how to do it yourself:

Negroni recipe

Negroni ingredients:

  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz bitters (Campari is recommended)
  • 1 fresh orange peel

In an old-fashioned rocks glass filled with ice, add your gin, vermouth, and bitters and shake well. Gently squeeze a slice of orange into the glass, then garnish with a slice of orange or a twist of orange.

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