In this series, we take a closer look at well-known cocktails. Get to know the history behind these classic drinks as well as where you can find them in the DMV area. This week’s Drinks Decoded takes on the Negroni.
An aperitif (a drink typically served before a meal), the Negroni is made with dry gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari. It’s served on the rocks in an Old Fashioned glass and garnished with an orange peel. The traditional recipe calls for equal parts of each alcohol, but there are a few variations and substitutions leading to drinks like the Americano (a splash of soda instead of Campari) and the Boulevardier (whiskey instead of gin). The Negroni is delicious on its own, but if you’re looking to pair it with a pre-dinner snack, rich, saltier dishes, like charcuterie, are a great option to blend out the bitterness of the Campari.
The Negroni traces its roots back to the early 1900’s in Florence, Italy. The cocktail is attributed to Count Camillo Negroni where legend has it, he walked into the Caffe Casoni and asked for an Americano with a little more zip -- gin was swapped in for the typical club soda. The bartender took it up a notch and garnished the drink with an orange peel instead of the usual lemon peel to better distinguish it as a different drink. The cocktail soon became a favorite among local patrons and its popularity led to the Count’s family to establish Negroni Distillery which produced and distributed ready-made versions of the cocktail.
In recent years, the Negroni has become a popular drink, so much so that an entire week has been devoted to it. Launched in 2013, Negroni Week is a celebration of this classic cocktail and also doubles as a money-raising effort benefitting a number of charities around the world.
Italian restaurants reign supreme when it comes to the Negroni. Get your Negroni fix at these popular spots in the district.
Named “Dean’s Gold,” Dino’s version of the Negroni is made with Ford’s gin, Aperol, and Carpano Antica Formula. (1914 9th St. NW; 202-686-2966)
At the upscale Italian seafood restaurant, order the Bella Vista – St. George Rye Gin, Carpano Bianco, Cappelletti Bitters. (3100 K St. NW; 202-628-0065)
Head to Navy Yard and sample Osteria Morini’s Negroni Classico Affumicato made with Tanqueray, Dolin Rouge, Campari, and cedar-smoked glass. (301 Water St. SE; 202-484-0660)
Photo via Flickr user franzconde
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