Italian Cocktail of the Week: NEG-RON-I

I blogged last week about the Italian love of a good aperitif.  Subsequently we had friends over from the UK to visit, both of whom are partial to a good cocktail.  Amongst the many drunk, the classic Negroni stood out.  It’s quick and easy to make, packs a real punch and is quintessentially Italian.  It’s so famous that there is a Negroni festival in Portland, Oregon.

The Negroni as served is a deep ruby-orange.  It’s potent, fragrant, herby, sweet and bitter.  On paper it sounds disgusting but, mixed properly and with a slice of orange added, it works perfectly.  Apparently, it is named in honour of a Count Negroni who, in Florence in 1919, was fed up with his insipid Americano, and asked for gin to be added instead of soda.  A stroke of genius.  The Negroni is the perfect pre-dinner drink but be sure to have just the one on an empty stomach.

The classic recipe is simplicity itself:

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The Art of the Italian Cocktail

Drink on the Beach

There’s something very Italian about drinking a pre-dinner cocktail or aperitif whilst watching la passagiata.

Imagine a lovely evening relaxing in the evening sun on the terrace of a local corner bar.  The metallic chairs scrape as you pull them towards your table.  The menu is proffered, you order and, after a short pause, the efficient waiter brings you your drink of choice with a flourish accompanied by a small selection of nibbles (sfizi).  You sit back and relax, slowly sipping your drink and watch the world go by.

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