1 part gin, 1 part Campari, and 1 part sweet vermouth, stirred with ice until well-chilled, strained into a rocks glass filled with large ice cubes, and garnished with orange peel or a slice of orange.

What could be easier? And what could be easier to remember than 1:1:1? And what could be more delicious for discerning cocktail lovers who look for a balance of sweet and bitter together in their glass?

So where did this all start? 

We all know those times when our regular tipple just isn’t enough for the day we’ve had, and that was the case for Italian Count Camillo Negroni when he arrived at his favourite café in Florence in 1919, and asked his friend and bartender, Fosco Scarselli, for a stronger version of his regular Americano – a mix of Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda water, known as a Milano-Torino, or Mi-To. Scarselli swapped out the soda for gin, and shazam! The Negroni was born.

With fans such as Ernest Hemingway, and the late Anthony Bourdain, who often made them for his film crew while on the road, the Negroni is one of the world’s classic cocktails – and now some Canadian distilleries have made it even easier for us, and produced pre-mixed and ready to drink Negroni! 

Negroni Week, a fundraiser for the hospitality industry, has been rescheduled for September 14-20 as a virtual event as bars and restaurants are restricted in their hours and capacity.

Here are three to try:

Classic Negroni, Park Distillery, Banff

Made with Park’s Alpine Dry Gin, this limited edition Classic Negroni has spent time lounging around in oak barrels for the ingredients to marry together, producing a full and rounded cocktail with deep and rich, orange-forward flavours. A contemplative cocktail.

375 mL 28% ABV, $35 at the distillery or online at parkdistillery.com

 

 

 

Craft Negroni, Confluence Distillery, Calgary

Calgary’s Confluence Distillery created a special gin with grapefruit and added a little chilli spice for their Craft Negroni. The result is a dangerously easy-to-drink cocktail with a medium body, and slightly bitter citrus high notes complementing the sweet flavours in the vermouth, and a warmth that follows a few seconds later.

375 mL 22% ABV, $33 at the distillery or online at confluencedistilling.ca/shop

 

 

The Professor’s Negroni, Dillon’s Small Batch Distillery, Beamsville, Ontario

Dillon’s, from Beamsville in Ontario, produced their Professor’s Negroni from their Dry Gin 7, blended with sweet vermouth and their Professor Dillon’s aperitivo liqueur instead of Campari. The result is a lighter coloured cocktail with a slightly oily mouth-feel, and fruity notes of strawberries and sweet orange. Serve chilled.

187 mL, 18.4% ABV, CSPC +818187 $10-$12

 

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