Famed American director Orson Welles once wrote about the Negroni cocktail: “The bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other.”
Yet 100 years on, people around the world are still enjoying this bitter aperitif. And in the last six years, Campari has been adding a charitable cause to the cocktail with Negroni Week, a celebration of one of the world’s great cocktails and an effort to raise money for charities around the world. For Negroni Week 2019, this celebration extends to Malaysia.
An inebriated 100 years
But first, a brief history of this century-old cocktail. Similar to many classic cocktails, the Negroni has a disputed history. This is perhaps partly due to the fact that there are many cocktail recipes out there that are similar to the Negroni. The most known history, however, boils back to when a certain Count Camillo Negroni asked his bartender, Fosco Scarselli, in the Caffè Casoni (now known as Caffè Roberto Cavalli) to make him a stronger version of his favourite Americano cocktail. Gin was added in place of soda water, an orange slice in place of lemon, and thus a new classic cocktail was born in 1919.
The classic Negroni is made with equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari. It is stirred in a mixing glass — never shaken, for it is blasphemous and will water down the intention of this strong drink. Top it off with either an orange peel or orange slice. This is the only recipe for the Negroni — any other variation and it turns into a different drink.
Don’t believe us? The predecessor of the Negroni, the Americano, has all the same ingredients, except that soda is used instead of gin. Replace gin with whisky and you get the Boulevardier. Use sparkling white wine or Prosecco in place of gin and you get the Negroni Sbagliato. You can also swap the gin with an agave spirit and it’ll become an Agavoni or the Tegroni.
The first ever Negroni Week began in 2013, in partnership with Campari and American drinks magazine, Imbibe. For a whole week in June, the world celebrates this classic cocktail and also drink to a good cause. To date, Negroni Week has collectively raised about US$2 million for charitable causes.
This year’s Negroni Week will be held from the 24th to the 30th of June. In Malaysia, Remy Cointreau, distributor of Campari will be hosting Negroni Week 2019. “We are especially looking forward to Negroni Week 2019, as this year marks the 100th year for this event which provides yet another opportunity for us to work collectively with bars and restaurants across the nation to raise money for incredible charitable causes,” says Remy Cointreau Malaysia general manager Tyrel Ball.
39 bars and restaurants spanning the Klang Valley, Penang, Johor Bahru, and Sabah will be participating in this year’s Negroni Week. To find out if your favourite bar is joining in, visit the www.NegroniWeek.com.
(All images: All is Amazing)