The Negroni

The obvious starter for Negroni Week

Your cocktail calendar entry for: September

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This is a big week.  You see, it’s Negroni Week and the week will be an action-filled episode of The Drunkard’s Almanac.  We’ll start today with the eponymous Negroni itself and move forward through a few variations over the course of week.  As you might expect, Mr. Potato Head will make regular appearances.

Indeed, a good time to be had by all.

So what exactly is Negroni Week?  Negroni Week was launched in 2013 by Imbibe Magazine and Campari as a celebration of one of the world’s great cocktails and charity fundraiser.  In 2013 about 120 bars participated.  This has expanded to more than 12,000 venues around the globe.  Collectively they’ve raised over $3 million for charity through a donation for every Negroni or variation made over the week.

But enough of that.  Let’s get to the cocktail itself.

History of the Negroni

Like almost anything involving history and alcohol there are conflicting stories about the origin of the Negroni.  The debate is pretty heated: Negroni is an old family name and both French and Italian pride are at stake.

The most widely accepted story, perhaps because it’s what Campari likes to promote, is that the Negroni is a progeny of the Milano-Torino Cocktail, a tasty mix of sweet vermouth and Campari.  The Milano-Torino was invented sometime in the 1860s at the Café Carparino in Milan, which was itself owned by Gaspare Campari.  That drink also spawned a variation called an Americano, which adds just a splash of soda.

Fast forward to 1919 and the story claims that Count Camillo Negroni wandered into the Casoni Bar in Florence and asked for a bit more kick in his Americano.  The bartender, Fosco Scarsellli responded by substituting gin for soda and this became the Count’s usual order.  Soon other customers started asking for one of Count Negroni’s drinks and over time the drink simply became known as the Negroni.

That all sounds pretty good, but Camillo Negroni’s title of Count is suspect and directly refuted by Colonel Hector Andres Negroni.  He believes that General Pascal Oliver Comte de Negroni (of which he is a direct descendant) invented the drink while serving in Africa during the Franco-Prussian War.  You can read more on this important topic here. The drink, that is.  Not the Franco Prussian War.

At the end of the day, like so many things in the drinking world, the truth is hazy and you can choose whichever story you prefer.  But no matter what you choose for history it’s a damn tasty cocktail using only ordinary household supplies.

How to mix a Negroni

As specs for today’s Drink of the Day we present the “classic” Negroni recipe, or equal parts of each ingredient.  Which, as you already know, comprise gin, sweet vermouth and Campari.  One is free to experiment with the proportions, and some folks, your faithful correspondent included, even go to 2:1:1.  By the way, there is also a lower ABV version, the Negroni Sbagliato, and a variation using Manischewitz wine called the Manischewitz Negroni.

To make today even easier we will also introduce the technique of building a drink right in the glass.  And to add a little flair, we will invoke the memory of the late Gary “Gaz” Regan, former bartender, book author and San Francisco Chronical columnist, who was famous for stirring Negronis with his finger.  Cocktail Kingdom in fact sells a stirrer made from a life size cast of his finger.  Go ahead, amuse your friends and confound your enemies.



Considering that this is a drink typically mixed right in the serving glass, with equal measures of each ingredient it’s really about as simple as can be.  You can vary proportions, typically raising the level of gin relative to vermouth and Campari, but the recipe here is the classic version.
5 from 1 vote


  • Old Fashioned Glass



  • Pour ingredients over ice in an Old Fashioned Glass
  • Stir with finger or utensil of your choice
  • Garnish with orange peel or slice
  • Drink
  • Rinse and repeat
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2 Comments. Leave new

  • 5 stars
    Will Negroni week include an appearance by the Buñueloni? The suspense is killing me.

    • Jeff Anderman
      September 14, 2021

      I’m afraid we don’t have a Bunueloni scheduled for Negroni Week this year, but do promise a good Negroni variation each day for the week. After all, we have to save some content for forward dates! We should perhaps examine this for Bunuel’s birthday on Feb 22.


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