Wednesday, July 8, 2009


The Negroni is the last Campari drink that I currently have the makings for, and may well be the best-tasting one thus far. If I ever had to drink Campari -- I mean, if I was given a choice between being sodomized by a blue whale and drinking Campari -- this is the drink that I would choose. Campari still tastes like ass, but the Negroni makes it almost palatable.

The Negroni also has a pretty cool pedigree. It is allegedly named after General Pascal Olivier Count de Negroni, a French army officer and nobleman who fought in the Franco-Prussian war, was personally decorated by Emperor Louis Napoleon, and was commander of the Legion of Honor. Along the way, he also created this drink.

Other reports state that it was named after Camillo Negroni, a Florentine who always ordered the drink. The Ultimate A-to-Z Bar Guide halves the difference between the stories, claiming that Count Camillo Negroni asked a Florentine bartender to add gin to his Americano.

Call me a snob, but I like the General Negroni story better. There's something about the Louis Napoleon twist that makes the story way cooler.

Either way, this is yet another drink that calls for a lemon twist. In my search for the proper way to make a lemon twist, I found all sorts of complicated methods involving toothpicks, freezers, and hours of preparation. Ultimately, I decided to go with slicing a lemon, cutting off the peel with a paring knife, and giving it a firm twist. It ended up releasing a little bit of the essential oils and making a wonderful garnish.

(from The Ultimate A-to-Z Bar Guide)

3/4 ounce gin
3/4 ounce Campari
3/4 ounce sweet or dry vermouth
cold club soda, optional
lemon twist

Stir liquid ingredients with ice; strain into chilled cocktail glass; add splash of soda, if desired. Or combine liquid ingredients in an old-fashioned glass filled with ice cubes; add a splash of soda, if desired. Garnish either style with lemon twist.

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