Sometimes a lazy weekend calls for a well-maintained buzz. But you’re not 21 anymore, and it’s time to class up your cocktails. If you want something more elegant than shots but just as intoxicating, try Italy’s time-honored cocktail, the Negroni.
Legend has it Count Camillo Negroni invented his self-titled drink in 1919 at his favorite bar in Florence, Italy. Evidently he was trying to drink away some royal-sized problems. Instead of his regular Americano — Campari, vermouth, soda water and a lemon garnish — Camillo asked the bartender to replace the soda water with gin, basically doubling the booze factor.
The count endorsed the saucy creation with his name — the 1919 marketing equivalent of Jay-Z rapping about Patron — and it exploded. Ever since, the liquor-loaded refreshment has helped gents like Orson Welles and Anthony Bourdain cross into tipsier territory.
Negronis have lost their staple status in the cocktail world, so they’re tough to come by, but Americana whips one up on request.
Owner Mike Utley walked us through how the drink is crafted. Traditionally, a Negroni starts with a good helping of gin on the rocks. That’s mixed with Campari — the bitter Italian mixer that gives this drink its deep red color. Utley tops it off with a bit of sweet vermouth and an orange slice to enhance the flavor.
The drink itself smells a little citrusy and packs a big kick, but the different spirits balance nicely to create a satisfying flavor. Remember, the Negroni is just an expert blend of different boozes, so try stretching it over a meal to avoid having a Lohan-esque blood alcohol content.
In other words, sip slow; it’s meant to be savored and enjoyed.
Try it: Americana, 1312 Locust St.