While no one truly knows the origins of the Negroni, the story goes like this: In 1919, Count Camillo Negroni was sitting at Caffe Casoni in Florence, Italy. He asked the bartender, Fosco Scarselli, to strengthen his favorite cocktail, the Americano. Fosco gave the drink — typically made with Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda water — an extra kick by swapping out the soda for gin. And thus the Negroni was born.
However, there are several people who disagree with this tale. Descendants of General Pascal Olivier de Negroni claim that he was the count who invented the drink. Not only that, they say he invented it in Africa while serving in the French Army, roughly 62 years before Camillo Negroni was reported to have thought it up.
To be completely honest, we don’t care who invented the Negroni. We’re just glad it happened. We find it to be especially delicious when, much like its story of origin, an ingredient is added to give it a slightly different spin.
Enter our January Cocktail of the Month: the Grapefruit Negroni. While people don’t typically think of citrus as cold weather fruit, grapefruit actually hits it peak in the height of winter. The bright, tangy fruit is the perfect solution for battling seasonal blues, and it pairs surprisingly well with the herby flavors of Campari and gin.
Those who are fans of the classically bitter recipe are sure to still love this sweeter rendition. We suggest you skip the bottled grapefruit juice and head to the nearest produce section for a ripe ruby red.
1 1/2 ounces gin
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce Campari
2 peeled ruby red grapefruit slices
Grapefruit peel for garnish
Squeeze the grapefruit slices into a cocktail shaker and drop in the fruit. Add gin, vermouth, Campari, and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with a wide strip of grapefruit peel.
Are you a Negroni lover? If so, we’ve got the book for you. The Negroni: Drinking to La Dolce Vita is a must-have tome, written by bartender Gary Regan. The book serves up more on its fascinating and controversial history, as well as 60 recipes for practically any taste.