September 13, 2021 / Cocktails
There is no Negroni without Campari
There is no Negroni without Campari
To celebrate Negroni Week (September 13–19), we take a look into the colourful history of Campari – the first brand ever to be called out as an ingredient in the official Negroni recipe.

The core of a quality Negroni
Ask any traditional gin drinker how to make a Negroni and you will invariably get the same response: equal parts gin, red vermouth and Campari. Not just any bitters. It has to be Campari. Even the International Bartending Association (IBA) recognises how fundamental Campari is to building the cocktail.
It is the red heart of every Negroni. There is no Negroni without Campari. So let’s take a stroll down the history of this quintessential gin cocktail.


It started with a Cowboy Count
At his favourite café in Florence, Count Camillo Negroni decided to change things up. He’d usually order an Americano, having become interested in cocktails during his time in the United States. While he was an Italian by birth, the Count spent years working as a cowboy in Wyoming before assimilating into the New York bar scene. On this day in 1919, he asked the Caffe Casoni bartender to swap out the soda water in his Americano for dry gin – something he’s acquired a tasted for after his most recent trip to London. All too happy to fulfil his request, the bartender, Fosco Scarselli, garnished his new cocktail creation with an orange rather than a typical lemon peel.One sip later and a timeless classic was born.


The secret remains safe
Whether or not Count Camillo was a cocktail prodigy – or simply lucked out with his inclusion of gin in an Americano – has been lost to the annals of time. What is undeniable, however, is that his unique request resulted in a benchmark cocktail that has remained a staple on cocktail lists around the world.
Achieving the perfect balance of bitter, sweet and dry, the Negroni owes a huge debt to one ingredient in particular: the bold and bitter Campari. The genius behind which was Gaspare Campari. A talented liquorist in his own right, the Italian began crafting his magnum opus in 1860.
His bittersweet aperitivo defied all that came before it, infusing natural herbs, aromatic plants and fruit in alcohol. Many have tried – and failed – to match Campari’s distinct yet alluring flavour profile, so it’s no wonder the recipe has remained unchanged since its creation. And a closely guarded secretly.


An annual tradition
Inspired by the quality of the cocktail and its appreciation in every corner of the globe, people have been participating in Negroni Week since its inception in 2013. Presented by Imbibe Magazine and Campari, the annual celebration has so far raised more than $3 million for various charitable causes around the world.
In 2021, at a time when the hospitality industry, particularly bars and bartenders, have been so heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we hope you’ll make this Negroni Week a time to raise a glass and support those who are doing it particularly tough.
Campari posters
The perfect Negroni
Want to mix a Negroni that even Count Camillo would be proud of? It’s a quick, simple and incredibly imbibable cocktail that will keep you coming back for more.
30mL Campari
30mL your favourite London Dry gin
30mL sweet vermouth
Pour ingredients into a short glass over plenty of ice. Stir to combine and garnish with an orange wedge.
Negroni Recipe

By Gin Society

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