Mark Hayward's City Matters: Negroni family lays claim to namesake cocktail
The Negroni is equal parts of gin, sweet vermouth and the Italian liqueur Campari, garnished with an orange peel and served on ice. The version seen here was served at Republic on Elm Street in Manchester. (MARK HAYWARD/UNION LEADER)
One grows in exaggeration and improbability as spirits flow and the night drags on. The other twists along as generations retell the story, embellishing each version with family pride.
• The bar story: The Negroni was invented by Count Camillo Negroni, a supposed one-time American cowboy and gambler who settled in Florence. In 1919, Count Camillo had the bartender at his favorite watering hole mix the drink to his specifications.
His Corsican blood boils when it comes to the Count Camillo story.
In the interest of full disclosure, Noel lives a few blocks from me. On occasion, we get into lengthy conversations, especially when I’m out walking my dog and he’s on his morning walk. I’d call us acquaintances; we’ve never socialized.
“As with almost every popular cocktail with some history behind it, there are always numerous tales around how it was started,” Karraker wrote in an email.
So it’s best to close with the drink itself.
“How to Booze,” a 2010 book published by Harper, calls the Negroni “seductive, sensual and complex.” In 2002, New York Times writer Toby Cecchini wrote: “The gin gives it a racy, astringent structure, while the Campari imparts the play of sweet and bitter. The vermouth grounds these elements with a dense, smoky winyness that triangulates with precision.” (I love food writing.)
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