Massachusetts Beverage Business


Article By: Pink Lady

As anyone who has spent much time in Europe can attest, drinking on the Continent just isn’t the same as cocktailing in the US.  In Italy, for example, if you order a “dry martini” at the bar, you’ll wind up with a glass of dry Martini & Rossi vermouth.  Sure, that works if you want to be quite literal.  A clever traveler will just go with it and sip their vermouth like a champ, as vermouth on the rocks is a lovely aperitif.

One cocktail that survives quite robustly in Italy, however, is the Negroni.  As the story goes, the drink was invented in 1919 at a Florentine café when Count Camilo Negroni asked the barkeep, Fosco Scarselli, to strengthen his Americano by replacing the soda water in the drink with gin.  The bartender riffed further by garnishing the new cocktail with an orange.

Bright red and fiercely bitter, Campari is what gives this cocktail its signature color and unforgettable flavor.  In the words of Orson Welles, who encountered the drink and wrote about it in 1947, “The bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other.”  For bitter tasters such as myself, a true Negroni can be palate-pummeling.  We sensitive types are more apt to enjoy a Contessa, which swaps Campari for Aperol and sweet vermouth for Punt e Mes.  Nevertheless, I’ve heard many American bartenders declare the Negroni in its original form to be a perfect cocktail.

You be the judge.


ONE PART Sweet Vermouth
ONE PART Campari

STIR ingredients with ice in a mixing glass.
STRAIN into a chilled cocktail glass,
or serve in an Old Fashioned glass on the rocks.
GARNISH with an orange.



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