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History of the Negroni

History of the Negroni

1917: Americano from Caffè Campari, Milan

During the beginning of the First World War, thirsty visitors – including Americans such as Ernest Hemingway – flocked to Italy for adventure. This was the start of Italian cocktail movement: Campari from Milan meets sweet vermouth from Turin, all lifted with soda water to create The Americano, which would later evolve into the Negroni.


1919: The Negroni, Caffè Casoni, Florence

After returning home to Florence following an American tour as a rodeo cowboy and professional gambler, Count Camillo Negroni requested his Americano be made with gin instead of soda. Here, the Negroni is born at Bar Casoni.


1927: Boulevardier, Barflies and Cocktails

A descendent of the Negroni, this drink swaps out the gin for whiskey – preferably bourbon – and is served up with an orange peel. American-born writer Erskine Gwynne is credited with creating the Boulevardier.


1927: Old Pal, Barflies and Cocktails

Although history implies this cocktail is older than the Negroni by nearly 40 years, it’s most often considered a cousin of the Boulevardier and uses dry vermouth rather than sweet.


1935: Rosita, Mr. Boston: Official Bartender’s Guide

This is a South of the Border riff on the Negroni, calling for reposado tequila and a touch of bitters in place of the gin.


1950s: Cardinale, Hotel Excelsior, Rome

This is a drier take on the Negroni, omitting sweet vermouth and adding a heavy dose of dry vermouth. Legend has it, this cocktail was created by a Catholic Cardinal while visiting Rome.


1968: Negroni Sbagliato, Bar Basso, Milan

(Adapted by Il Porcellino, Chicago, 2017)

This “mistaken” Negroni was accidentally created when prosecco was used instead of gin. Today
at Il Porcellino, we also swap the Campari for lighter Aperol
(this time it was on purpose).


2002: Left Hand, Milk & Honey, New York City

Crafted at New York City’s iconic Milk & Honey bar, the Left Hand is a playful take on the Boulevardier, adding in chocolate bitters and a lemon twist.


2009: East India Negroni, PDT, New York City

Rich Solera-aged sherry replaces sweet vermouth here, and a blend of rums are swapped out for the gin in this decadent take on the Negroni, created at one of NYC’s most well-known cocktail bars.


2011: Chocolate Negroni, Naren Young

Drink writer, mixologist and owner of Dante in NYC, Naren Young created his signature drink adding extra-bitter Punt e Mes vermouth, creme de cacao and chocolate bitters.


2016: Jamaican Negroni, Il Porcellino, Chicago

Where London Dry gin lacks, the former British colony of Jamaica makes up for it. Rich molasses-based rum turns this Negroni into a smooth and boozy variation.


2016: Mr. White Negroni, Il Porcellino, Chicago

What happens when you get rid of the Campari and sweet vermouth in a Negroni? Kina and Suze shine. Trust us on this one.


2018: Fernet Negroni, Il Porcellino, Chicago

Our most bitter Negroni and an Il Porcellino team favorite. This one is heavy on Campari and rounded out with Fernet and Cynar. This is a not-to-miss cocktail!