One of the things we love to do while traveling is Trying all the local food and drinks. If a location is known for inventing a dish or making it the best, I am going to want to try it there. It sets the bar for my expectations for that food or drink going forward. We have enjoyed Escargot in France, Riesling on the Rhine, Gnocchi in Lake Como, a Bellini at Harry’s Bar in Venice and Fondue in Switzerland.
I discovered two of my favorite cocktails on our first trip to Italy. The Aperol Spritz and the Negroni. I enjoy an ice cold spritz as an afternoon refresher, while I prefer the bolder Negroni in the evening. Good think I can make them myself, because they are hard to find at any bars or restaurants in my neck of the woods.
My Favorite Negroni’s
The Low Bar, a speakeasy in Traverse City, makes a darn good Negroni. They burn the orange peel right before they serve it which adds more depth to the delicious orange flavor. They also get points for ambiance in their establishment. I love the all black walls and ceiling with dim lighting and cozy clusters of wing back chairs. You really get the speakeasy vibe!
The very best Negroni I have ever had though, was at the Palace Grand Hotel – Varese, Italy A classic old world hotel with a very proper staff and bar. When making my Negroni, the Bartender used a concoction from a small cask that he brought out from under the bar. I am not sure what was in there, but it was AMAZING!
The Negroni was invented at the Caffe Casoni in Florence Italy in 1919 by Count Camillo Negroni. He wanted to beef up the potency of his Americano cocktail and so replaced the Soda Water with Gin. Brilliant! That makes the Negroni 100 years old this year. Something to “Cheers” about.
Today kicks off Negroni Week sponsored by Imbibe Magazine and Campari. With this celebration of 100 years, they have signed up 12,000 bars across the world who are making charitable donations for every Negroni purchased this week. What a great cause to seek out a Negroni this week!
Sadly there are no locations anywhere near me (although I did send out a challenge to one of my favorite local cocktail establishments).
Official Negroni Recipe
1 oz. gin
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. sweet vermouth
Tools: mixing glass, bar spoon, strainer
Glass: cocktail or double rocks
Garnish: orange twist
Stir ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass (or ice-filled double rocks glass) and garnish.
Like all good mixed drinks there are many variations to the recipe. Although I use Campari, there are several other types of Italian Bitters that can be used in it’s place.
Campari is an alcoholic liqueur, considered an apéritif, obtained from the infusion of herbs and fruit in alcohol and water. It is a bitters, characterized by its dark red color.
Tony Loves a Negroni!
This week we also celebrate Anthony Bourdain’s Birthday. Here is a video that I really love to help you smile as you remember him this week.
I hope you get a chance to enjoy a Negroni this week! If you have never had one, you should give it a try sometime. Make sure you are someplace that really knows how to make a proper cocktail when you do.