It was 1919, and Italian drinkers were already familiar with a cocktail called the Americano—named as such for American visitors who, unable to palate the bitterness of Campari on its own, drank the bright red bitter liqueur mixed with sweet vermouth and sparkling water. One day, a man named Count Camillo Negroni walked into Caffe Cosoni in Florence, Italy and asked for his Americano to be a bit stronger. Legend has it, the Count had worked in the United States as a rodeo clown and acquired a taste for stronger drinks. The bartender responded in kind, and switched out the sparkling water for gin. The Negroni was born.
100 years later, and the Negroni has come a long way. Even as the Cocktail Revolution began to take hold in the States and abroad around 10-15 years ago, still only a small population of bartenders and gin enthusiasts knew of the assertive concoction. Now, just about any bar worth its salt can prepare you a Negroni, whether it be the classic recipe or one of hundreds—if not thousands—of variations.
Being a gin that nods to where gin came from as well as sets the tone for where gin is going, Brockmans, naturally, loves a Negroni. Although Negronis are typically made with London Dry Gins, the spice, citrus, and fruit in Brockmans complement the bitter Campari and spiced sweet vermouth in a way that might surprise you.
But before we proceed, let’s start at the beginning…
How to Make a Classic Negroni
- 1 oz/30 ml Brockmans Gin
- 1 oz/30 ml Campari
- 1 oz/30 ml sweet vermouth
- Add all ingredients to a mixing glass, fill with ice, and stir until the glass is quite cold.
- Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice or one large ice cube.
- Garnish with a large orange twist.
The Negroni Options are Nearly Endless
Because Brockmans tastes like no other gin and adds a depth of flavour to cocktails no other gin can, our gin is an excellent jumping point into the vast world of Negroni variations. Since Brockmans began, we have watched as our favourite bars around the world have taken the basic Negroni formula—gin, fortified wine, bitter liqueur—and created their unique take on the classic. Whether it be swapping about the Campari for a different amaro, or the sweet vermouth for a new fortified wine (or even a fruit liqueur, a syrup, or a Brandy), we have tasted some truly spectacular Negroni-esque cocktails.
For example, the White Negroni at Highland Brass Co in Waterbury, Connecticut holds true to the equal-parts ratio, but uses Lillet Blanc for sweet vermouth and Luxardo Bianco Bitter — a light-coloured amaro with a touch less bite — for the bright-red Campari. But, in a nod to its origin, Dimitrios Zahariadis garnishes his White Negroni with a dehydrated, Campari-dipped orange wheel.
By Dimitrios Zahariadis, Highland Brass Co.
- 1 oz/30 ml Brockmans Gin
- 1 oz/30 ml Lillet Blanc
- 1 oz/30 ml Luxardo Bianco Bitter
- dehydrated, Campari-dipped orange wheel
But the Negroni does not stop as simply swapping out one ingredient for another. As long as you follow the basic balance of gin, bitter, sweet, the possibilities are almost endless. A while ago, at a.bar in Philadelphia, Sean Mcguire made us a drink he called “Something Stirred and Fruity,” which, believe it or not, falls into the ratio above. Instead of sweet vermouth he used demerara syrup, and instead of Campari he used a smaller-brand gentian root-based amaro. He also added a few embellishments—orange blossom water, angostura bitters, and absinthe. At its core, it’s a Negroni.
Something Stirred and Fruity
by Sean Mcguire, a.bar
- 2 oz/60 ml Brockmans Gin
- .25 oz/7 ml demerara syrup
- .25 oz/7 ml gentian amaro
- 3 drops orange blossom water
- 3 dashes angostura bitters
Now that you know where the Negroni hails from and how easy it is to riff off of, we leave it to you… You already have your Brockmans. Of course you can keep it classic or you make your own variation. What will be your sweet? What will be your bitter? In 100 years, will somebody be writing an article about the drink you invented because you simply had to do something different?
We’ll start by inspiring you with some more recipes…