Like all stories should, the tale of the Negroni begins with debauched nobility. Most accounts credit the recipe to one Count Negroni, a swashbuckling proto-boho who reportedly spent time as a rodeo cowboy in the United States.
It’s also one of the simplest cocktail formulas in existence (one-to-one-to-one) and, thus, one of the most endlessly riffable. (It was conceived on the very premise of experimentation, after all.) Like Count Negroni, bartenders the world over are having a love affair with the cocktail’s basic equation of strong-bitter-sweet, guaranteeing that at least one variation of the drink—whether it be barrel-aged, bottled or taken apart and reassembled—will find its way onto a cocktail menu near you. Some versions simply switch gin for another base spirit like rum (Joaquín Simó’s Kingston Negroni) while others mix up the bitter element using gentian-based aperitif wines in place of Campari (Polka Dot Negroni). Likewise, the sweet element—originally sweet vermouth—is easily changed out for lighter variants like Lillet Blanc (White Negroni).
Despite its all-booze architecture, the Negroni is still dangerously poundable. And we at PUNCH are all too familiar with what comes of one too many (read: any more than one) pre-dinner Negronis. Consider yourself forewarned.