Anthony Bourdain's drink of choice. What James Bond pours himself after punching out a goon in Thunderball. The thing you order on a night when you will eventually text your ex. We're discussing, of course, the Negroni, a classic gin cocktail with a hell of an origin story.
The Negroni takes its name from a real-life person, and not just any old person. Count Camillo Negroni was a freewheeling nobleman who, during a fateful visit to Florence's Caffe Rivoire around 1919, decided the trendy Americano -- Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda -- just wasn't enough. He asked the bartender to ditch the soda for gin, prompting a new boozy sensation. But it gets better: on top of being a barfly count, Negroni also spent some time in America gambling and working as a rodeo cowboy, which completely trumps your story about grandpa's stint with the Washington Generals.
Unleash Your Inner Mixologist With the Booziest Chemistry Class Ever
(This is what Count Negroni looked like. Not a ton of people can pull off a top hat.)
Perhaps foolishly, people have tried to one-up Camillo over the years with variations like the Citroni Negroni, which adds limoncello and triple sec, or Eeyore's Requiem, a twist that sneaks in Cynar and Fernet Branca. But a true watershed moment came in 2011, when Campari commissioned a group to create the world's largest Negroni. At 30 ruby-tinged gallons, their giant chalice served 1,000 individual drinks, a tally that would make Negroni himself (and that boozehound George Washington) extremely proud, right before going off to gamble and taunt bulls.
Finally, on top of having a cool backstory, the Negroni is incredibly easy to make. We would know, 'cause we put together this whole video tutorial for your mixing pleasure. Cheers:
Kristin Hunt is a food/drink staff writer for Thrillist. She is not a count, a rodeo cowboy, or even remotely Italian, but she does like Negronis. Follow her at @kristin_hunt.