7 Fun Facts You Didn't Know About The Negroni

Bet You Didn't Know This About The Negroni

By Sarah Bradley Published August 2023

There are only a handful of cocktails you can truly describe as timeless, and the Negroni is one of them. The classic recipe has achieved such widespread acclaim that there is a whole week dedicated to celebrating it. Mixologists playfully tweak and transform the original recipe, but the tried and true remains a staple. But we suspect there are some things you don’t know about this time-tested tipple.

You probably know the basics: the Negroni is an Italian apéritif made with equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari. It’s usually garnished with a twisted orange peel and served on the rocks. The Negroni is a mark of sophistication, beloved across the board for its smooth balance of bitter and sweet flavors.

Or, maybe your sole exposure to this sip is TikTok’s Negroni Sbagliato (with prosecco in it) trend...and you know it’s ‘stunning.’ Either way, we’re here to give you a refreshing take on this ageless apéritif. Here are seven fun facts about the Negroni to invigorate your mixology knowledge.

  1. It’s over 100 years old.

    The first Negroni was crafted in 1919 in Florence, Italy...yep, she’s over a century old! This iconic cocktail has endured the test of time, becoming a staple sip for thousands along the way. Throughout the century, the Negroni has rightfully earned its reputation as a cocktail darling.

  2. It’s a stronger spin on an Americano.

    While the origin story of the Negroni involves a bit of folklore, the most widely accepted account features Count Camillo Negroni.

    As the legend goes, this Italian aristocrat frequented a Florence bar called Caffé Casoni. His go-to order was an Americano, a cocktail made with sweet vermouth, Campari and soda water. However, he desired a stronger drink with more of a kick, so he asked the bartender to replace the soda water with gin. With just a simple modification, the Negroni was born!

    Eager to elevate your mixology knowledge? Discover the difference between Campari and Aperol:


  3. You can still visit the birthplace of the Negroni.

    If you want to sip a piece of history, you can still visit the birthplace of this famed cocktail. Giacosa Café, formerly known as Caffé Casoni, is still serving up classic apéritifs in Florence, Italy. If you find yourself strolling this historic city, make sure to pop in and indulge in a Negroni where it all started.

  4. You can use sushi rice to enhance the flavor.

    There’s a secret to making the best Negroni and it’s probably not what you’re expecting. The trick is sushi rice. Yes, you read that right.

    Sushi rice is used to enhance and harmonize the flavors of a Negroni. The starchy texture of the rice creates a silkier mouthfeel and softens the bitter edge of the Campari.

    Don’t worry, you won’t get rice grains stuck in your teeth while sipping a rice-washed Negroni. The technique involves adding a couple tablespoons of uncooked sushi rice to your cocktail, stirring it well, then straining it out—like the milk-washing process for clarified cocktails. Say hello to smoother, creamier Negronis!

  5. There are more variations than the Negroni Sbagliato.

    The Negroni Sbagliato, made with sparkling wine instead of gin, is a well-loved variation of this classic cocktail. However, the Negroni has inspired countless twists that fly under the radar. You can modify the simple, three-ingredient recipe to match almost any palate. Here some examples, just to name a few:

  6. If you shake your Negroni, you’re doing it wrong.

    A Negroni MUST be built, not mixed. And yes, it makes a huge difference.

    Don’t shake your Negronis. A proper Negroni should be stirred with ice to slowly bring down the temperature. If you shake it, the ingredients will become too cold and trap the flavors. It also disrupts the ideal balance of bitter to sweet and completely changes the mouthfeel. Sipping this cocktail should be a velvety, bubble-free experience.

  7. It is a favorite of prominent literature and film figures.

    The Negroni oozes glamor and poise, so it only makes sense that it’s favored by many famous icons and literary figures.

    Ernest Hemingway was distinguished as the Negroni’s biggest fan, even referencing the recipe in his novel Across the River and Into the Trees. Orson Welles also discovered his affinity for the Negroni while filming Black Magic in Rome in 1947, known for his quote, “The bitters are excellent for your health, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other out.” And it doesn’t get classier than Audrey Hepburn, who served Negronis at her Rome house parties while filming Roman Holiday.

Featured Recipes

The Negroni has etched its place in mixology history, and there’s no doubt this liquid icon will remain a go-to order for centuries to come. Make sure to grab everything you need to craft this classic cocktail at your local ABC Fine Wine & Spirits or online at abcfws.com.

Interested in learning more? Visit our ABC Blog page.