The origin of the Negroni cocktail dates back over 100 years to Florence, Italy. In 1919, the aperitif’s namesake Count Camillo Negroni reportedly ordered a stiffer version of an Americano, asking for gin instead of a splash of club soda.
“It caught on really quickly,” said mixologist Jamie Gordon from Dante NYC via a live Masterclass on creating the 100-year-old recipe during Negroni Week, which runs from Sept. 14-20 this year.
While Canadians are unable to travel to New York to try the bar’s stable recipe firsthand, they can try their own hand at making the cocktail from home.
“It’s really like a bacon of cocktails,” Gordon said, explaining why Dante NYC planted its flag in the Negroni cocktail. “It goes with almost everything, with sweet and savoury components.”
Surrounded by the hustle and bustle of NYC, the bar became well-known for its take on the traditional Happy Hour. Rather than having customers cram in a few drinks at a discounted rate before commuting home, Gordon said they decided to take a page from Italy and introduce Aperitivo Hour, which is focused on cocktails with low ABV like Italian bitters and Aperol.
“It’s a conversational way to drink, a great segue into the evening,” he said. “People are now showing up for those afternoons to catch up and unwind, rather than rush off to wherever is next.”
For those ready to experience the flavours of the bar from home, here is the recipe for the classic Negroni:
“There are two schools of thought on the garnish: wedge or zest,” Gordon said, noting that their recipe is served with a wedge.
Dante NYC also offers many variations of the recipe, including the popular Chocolate Negroni:
Just like the travel industry, the hospitality industry was hit hard by COVID-19. During the downturn, Dante NYC developed a to-go option of its staple cocktails for customers to make at home with DIY kits. As well, staff kept busy preparing 400 meals a week for first responders, hospital workers and health care providers.
Closer to home, Canadians can also easily support the hospitality industry through Negroni Week.
This year Campari is partnering with the Canadian Bartenders Benevolent Fund, a national charity born in response to the pandemic that provides funding to bartenders who have fallen under serious financial hardship.
Canadians will automatically be supporting the industry when purchasing a bottle of Campari or sharing their Negroni experience on social media.
Campari Group will be donating $1 to the Bartender Benevolent Fund for every bottle purchased in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan (Sobey’s and Willow Park), Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.
As well, they will be donating $1 for every original Negroni photo posted on Instagram with the hashtag #NegroniWeekCA2020.
Donations kicked off Sept. 1 and are encouraged throughout the whole month.
Canadians are also invited to take part in live Zoom sessions and learn about the art of aperitivos with celebrity chef Rob Gentile, Top Chef Canada judge Mijune Pak and Bar George’s Chef Exécutif Kevin Ramasawm all while learning how to craft the perfect classic Negroni and Negroni riffs from Canada’s top bartenders.
To learn more and register visit: https://negroniweek.eventbritestudio.com/.