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:
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.