For the last seven years the Negroni has been our cocktail of choice. Surprisingly, despite its recent popularity and comeback, this cocktail is not necessarily well known by all bartenders and often we find ourselves explaining how it needs to be served and what goes in it. The Negroni, just like Panerai, comes from the cradle of the renaissance and the home to the Medici, Florence, Italy. As Florentine as an Officine Panerai wristwatch, the Negroni is a quintessential and very distinctive cocktail.
Invented in 1919 and named after the Italian Count Camillo Negroni, the story tells that Count Negroni was a regular at the Caffè Casoni and he would always order an Americano —Campari, Vermouth Rosso, Club Soda and a lemon garnish— as his drink of choice. One afternoon, he felt he needed a stronger Americano and asked the bartender to replace the club soda with gin. The bartender went ahead and made the substitution and added an orange garnish —instead of the lemon one— to differentiate the cocktail from the traditional Americano. That day, the most unique of all cocktails was born.
The Negroni is what is called a 1-1-1 cocktail that is very easy to make and one where the quality of the ingredients makes a huge difference. The Negroni is made with one part Campari —do not substitute with Aperol as the flavor profile is very different—, one part gin —preferably Hendrick's— and one part Vermouth Rosso —red sweet vermouth. While most people like to use Martini & Rossi or Cinzano, the best result comes from using a higher grade vermouth like Carpano Antica Formula or even Cocchi. These two vermouths are much superior in taste and quality and for Antica Formula, every bottle comes individually numbered.
When enjoying this cocktail always make sure to serve it in an old-fashioned glass —low ball glass— with a big ice sphere or an extra large ice cube and go with the "stirred, not shaken" method just as in the film 'You Only Live Twice' where for once in a lifetime, James Bond ends up drinking a stirred Martini —instead of his traditional 'shaken, not stirred'— in order to not offend his host's unintentional distraction when pouring him a drink.
Once you are ready to enjoy this fascinating bittersweet cocktail, make sure that you garnish it with an orange wedge and get ready to have an unforgettable experience.
Watchlifestylers and Paneristi, next time you are out for drinks at the Langham Place, the Gansevoort or Cipriani, make sure your Panerai is in the company of a classic Negroni. If you are tired of drinking Vodka Cranberry or any other run-of-the-mill drinks, make yourself noticed by drinking the true watchlifestyler cocktail and one of the most unique tasting drinks out there. Salute Caro Amici!