by Simon Haslam
The Negroni is my favourite cocktail. It’s quick and simple to make yourself, if you have all the ingredients (equal quantities of gin, Campari and vermouth plus ice and a slice of orange). It’s a beautiful colour, and it’s easy to make variations. I found Brookies Dry Gin suited all my Negronis, and if you want to get away from the sweet red vermouth element for a change, try substituting a more herbaceous amaro for the Campari, and use a dry French vermouth like Dolin.
It’s a little difficult to taste-test a range of Negronis, as it’s a very alcoholic cocktail – normally one is enough – so when I arrived ten minutes early to pick up my takeaway from Daughter-in-Law in Byron last week, and found the comfortable well-stocked bar, the Negroni was my ‘go-to drink’. The Negroni that arrived was on the sweeter end, with a classy single huge ice-cube and dried orange – delicious. The takeaway arrived one minute before the predicted time, by the way, and was a real winner with the whole family.
Whilst sipping my Negroni, I flicked through my emails and noticed that Brookies have a new pre-mixed Negroni in a bottle. It’s just come out, so I made a quick ringaround of the bottleshops – they stock it at The Cellar Byron Plaza, and I excitedly brought it home. I’m looking forward to a couple around the pool, or with friends on a warm summer’s evening.
Brookies have come up with what they think is a winning flavour profile (it’s made with Brookies Byron Dry Gin, Adelaide Hills Bitter Orange and Maiideni Sweet Vermouth) and it comes in a gift box, ready to be wrapped and given as a gift.
Histories of the Negroni
In one version of the story, a somewhat hedonistic Florentine count called Camillo Negroni, in 1919, asked his bartender to replace the soda water in his Americano cocktail with gin at the now-defunct Caffe Casoni in Florence. At the time, most Italians drank wine, but Camillo had visited the USA, drinking ‘American’ spirits, although on the Campari website they claim his request was inspired by a recent trip to Britain. There’s not a lot of evidence to support this very popular theory.
In another version, General Pascal Oliveir de Negroni de Cardi, a Corsican-born and highly decorated military officer in the French Army, invented the cocktail between 1855 and 1865 when he was a base commander in Saint Louis, Senegal. As Campari, one-third of the cocktail, was not invented until 1860, it’s unclear whether it was exactly the same drink.