Friday, April 3, 2009

La Dolce Vita in a Glass

Ok, I am over all the hype that Martinis have garnered over the last couple of years with Martini Bars springing up in all the world capitals and then being bastardized so that the drink is no longer recognizable. I am a purist at heart and like my martinis pure. Lots of ice-cold gin, just a sniff of vermouth and a twist of lemon.

I am a gin and tonic man, so was rather intrigued when reading ‘The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone’ by Tennessee Williams that all were drinking Negronis which I had not heard of. So after a bit of research I find that the cocktail combines all my favourites in a tantalizing concoction that will take you right back to the ‘la dolce vita’ of Rome in the 50’s

According to the most popular story, the Negroni was invented in Florence in 1919, at Caffè Casoni, It was named for Count Camillo Negroni, the man who invented it by asking a bartender to add gin to the Americano, his favorite drink.

So here is the recipe
1 oz gin
1 oz Campari
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth

Combine all ingredients in an ice filled shaker. Shake until well chilled and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a burnt orange. To make a burnt orange, cut about a 1 1/2 inch by 1 inch peel off a ripe navel orange. Be sure to get just the skin and as little of the pith as possible. Holding the orange peel between thumb and index fingers with skin facing out, hold a lit match over the glass and with the orange peel about an inch away from the flame squeeze the peel quickly and firmly between your fingers. When done correctly, a burst of flame will come from the oils being released from the peel leaving an aroma and adding a note of orange to the cocktail. Simply drop the twist in the drink.

So lets drink to summer with a negroni in hand and ‘la dolce vita’ on our minds!


  1. Well David, I look forward to sipping Negronis together this summer! I'm fascinated by the burnt orange technique and suspect practice makes perfect. We'll just have to keep drinking 'til we get it right.

  2. Oh, I LOVE Negroni's. I am a classic gin martini man myself, and the Negroni is my cocktail of choice in the summer. Just a little more refreshing than a martini in the heat.

  3. Well Darren, we just have to make a date! Re the burnt orange I am sure we will burnour fingers one way or another.

    TJB yes you are right a lot more refreshing!

  4. What a shame that this drink isn't better known. And what a fuss about these Cosmopolitans after "Sex in the City." They're okay, but lack the sophistication of the Negroni. I was in the bar of an upscale hotel and the bartender said I was the only person who requested one all summer.

    I've become lazy (like the contessa says of Paolo in "Roman Spring") when I mix my own, and now skip the orange peel. I do like them cold though, and usually chill the mix and glasses for at least half an hour before enjoying them. I would really like to know how popular they are in Italy. Research for a future trip....

    Have you tried the Negronski? Substitute vodka for the gin. Interesting but not as good as the original. Being "Square" I always like the original.

    Cheers to you with a peel-less Negroni!


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