Okay, so I’m milking Blood Orange season in every possible way and, of course, I can’t get passed doing a cocktail! Negroni is one of my preferred pre-dinner cocktails (although a good Champagne is hard to beat!!!). Negroni is typically a cocktail that you drink slowly as it is so terribly strong. It makes you happy after just a few sips and, as Orson Welles used to say: “The bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other.” – a case of Citizen Gin. 😉
History of the Negroni
The original Negroni consists of equal parts of: gin, sweet vermouth and Campari; is stirred and served on the rocks with a slice of orange. The most probable story is that it was created by Fosco Scarselli, who had the reputation of being the perfect bartender-psychologist. According to Scarselli: “The bartender’s job is not any job. The bartender must change depending on the customer who is standing in front of him. He has to know and guess the flavour of the mood he should offer him…a sort of panacea against dark moods or reversals of fortunes.” One day Count Negroni enters Caffè Casoni (now owned by Roberto Cavalli) in Florence in 1918/19. Having had a very bad day, he demanded Fosco to make his Americano (the cocktail of the moment, made of sweet vermouth, Campari and soda) a bit stronger. Fosco exchanged the soda with gin – and presto the Negroni was born!
Now you can find many different versions of Negroni such as: the Negroni Sbagliato (wrong Negroni) which exchanges gin with prosecco or a Negroski which switches gin for vodka.
About the Blood Orange & Rosemary Negroni
The inspiration for this Negroni came whilst browsing in Waitrose’s magazine section. On one of the covers was a picture of a Blood Orange Negroni – I don’t remember the name of the magazine. Of course, I couldn’t hold myself back from looking at the recipe. Exchanging Campari with Aperol hadn’t crossed my mind yet but it actually works really well. It complements the blood orange perfectly and makes the whole cocktail just that bit smoother – Aperol has less than half the alcohol than Campari – I don’t think Count Negroni would have been very pleased with that. 😉 Being addicted to little twists…Rosemary came into the game.
Tips / Variations:
- Use Campari instead of Aperol – will make it stronger!
- Use thyme instead of rosemary or skip the herbs altogether.
- Use 25ml of blood orange juice for a quicker version.
- Double strain your Negroni if you don’t like bits of orange in your cocktail.
More Cocktails Please!!!
Here my top Cocktails, always with a twist!
Blood Orange & Rosemary Negroni
This version of a Negroni takes advantage of Blood Orange season. It is milder than the original but no less characterful.
- 1/4 – 1/2 blood orange – cut in 4 (use half an orange if small)
- 5cm / 2in rosemary sprig
- 25ml gin (I use Hendrick’s)
- 25ml sweet vermouth (I use Antica Formula Carpano Vermouth NV)
- 25ml Aperol
- ice cubes
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 1 thin blood orange slice (dried or fresh) or an orange peel
- In a cocktail shaker, muddle the blood orange pieces and the rosemary until fragrant.
- Add the gin, vermouth, Aperol and a handful of ice. Shake well until chilled – around 15-30sec.
- Strain into a tumbler with a large ice cube, if available. Decorate with a sprig of rosemary and a slice of blood orange or an orange peel.