The Negroni, along with the baseball season, is one of the most welcome rites of Spring. Its devotees include Gabrielle Hamilton, Orson Welles, and, of course, Count Negroni, for whom the drink is named. According to legend the count wanted a stronger version of an Americano and asked a bartender in Florence to substitute gin for club soda. The result is downright historical. Never has so much been owed by so many to so few. Kingsley Amis, our best writer on drink, declares simply: ‘This is a really fine invention.’
The Negroni, a classic aperitivo, is Campari, vermouth, gin, an orange, ice. Simple. Yet it requires precision. Plymouth is our stalwart gin, but we don’t fuss over that. Equal parts sweet vermouth and Campari. It must be stirred to an icy extreme. Serve it up or on the rocks. As in all things sartorial, the secret lies in the proportions. You may add more gin to taste—but be gentle with the Campari. Like marmalade, Campari looks good but tends towards bitterness—add too much and the whole enterprise collapses.
When working in combination, the Negroni an example of balance at its finest, the perfect drink for the warming season.
1 part gin
1 part sweet vermouth
1 part Campari
Combine in a shaker with ice and stir until deeply cold. Serve up or over one large cube of ice with a slice of orange.