Negroni cocktail in an Old Fashioned glass

Stir ingredients with ice and either strain into a chilled cocktail glass or alternatively serve over a large ice cube in an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with an orange twist or an orange wheel.

"The bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other." Orson Welles.

Forget the Martini, the Negroni is the King of Cocktails. Even James Bond drank a Negroni when he tired of Martinis, and make no mistake—it's stirred and never shaken.

The story goes that the Negroni was created one fine day in 1919 in Florence, Italy, when Count Camillo Negroni decided he was in the mood for something a little stronger. It's a wonderful story with just one tiny flaw—there never was a Count Camillo Negroni. Apparently the Negroni family history dates back to the 11th century and Colonel Hector Andres Negroni is adamant that the drink was actually invented by General Pascal Oliver Compte de Negroni, a Frenchman who fought in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. He is not alone, however, amongst those who claim to have invented the Negroni and there is scant supply of much in the way of supporting evidence for any of the claimants.

The Negroni is my favorite of the Aromatic style of cocktails. The bitterness of the Campari melds perfectly with the sweetness of the vermouth. Originally the recipe was equal parts gin, vermouth and Campari but I find that to be too sweet. The recipe above is from The New Cocktail Hour. If you replace the gin with bourbon you get a cocktail called the Boulevardier. I haven't got the proportions of that one right yet—but it's hard to improve upon perfection.

Negroni D'Or

Stir with ice and strain into a Nick & Nora glass.

This variation was created by Brian MacGregor of San Francisco for a competition in 2010. It swaps out the Campari Bitters for the gentler Gran Classico Bitters. With the softer bitters the vermouth is also toned down and using sweet white vermouth instead of the more robust Italian vermouth allows the beautiful gold color of the bitters to shine through. In this sense it is similar to the Bijou with the pale green of the Charteuse replaced by the orange/gold of the Gran Classico. It will not displace the classic Negroni from my top shelf but it does make for a pleasant variation.