Thursday, 5 April 2012


The law of classic cocktail continues it seems, and the negroni makes no exception. Mired in various stories and accounts of its invention.

The most common, and what is now considered to the most likely account, states it was created in Florence in 1919 at Caffe Casoni which is now known as Caffe Cavalli. It began life as an Americano the favoured drink of Count Camillo Negroni.

The Americano had recently undergone a transformation of it's own. Previously it had been called a "Milano-Torino". A name which stemmed from its ingredients coming from both Milan (Campari) and Turin/Torino (Cinzano). The drink can be dated back to the 1860's however in the early 1900's, during prohibition, more and more Americans were enjoying the drink, which led to it being renamed as an Americano.

The Count asked the bartender to strengthen the drink. The bartender added gin instead of the soda. A slice of orange was also added to differentiate the drink from it's predecessor which would normally be garnished with a lemon.

This account gained further repute when Luca Picchi published a book called "Sulle Tracce Del Conte" about the life of Cammillo Negroni, someone many had argued may never have existed. The story goes the Count left Italy after fathering an illegitimate child so decided it was time to open a cattle ranch in the US.

The drink gained some notable success which led the Negroni family to set up the Negroni Distillerie in Treviso, Italy where they produced a ready made version of the drink.

As with some of the most famous classic cocktails, one of the earliest references comes from Orson Welles, who was working in Rome in 1947. He described the drink by saying "The bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other" a true philosophy to live by.

Bond may be leaving the classic cocktails behind in his new film however both the Americano and Negroni were enjoyed in previous stories. The Negroni is mentioned in an obscure short story Risicio, which includes Bonds standard Gordon's gin. Contrary to popular knowledge the Americano is actually the first drink ordered in Casino Royale, then has subsequent appearances in From Russia With Love and then finally whilst at a cafe in From A View To A Kill. It is in the last film that we find out Bonds real attitudes towards the drink. He says "it is not a solid drink" and specifies Perrier instead of soda because "the cheapest way to improve a poor drink is with expensive soda water"

The drink also famously appeared in Tennessee Williams's novella, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone released in 1950 and then later expanded on in the film, released in 1961. Both feature a scene where character Warren Beaty is sipping on a Negroni, leading many to dub the drink a "playboys choice".

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