Many of you know our drinks, but it’s time to take a look below the surface. Process, Liquid, The Serve & the Culture behind it all.

The History of the Negroni

Cafe Casoni, Florence, Italy, 1919. Count Camillo Negroni asks bartender Fosco Scarselli to strengthen his favourite cocktail, ‘The Americano’, by replacing the soda with gin. Adding an orange slice to signify the new drink, the Negroni is born. Camillo Negroni had a taste for hard liquor; a taste he picked up while working as a rodeo clown in the American Wild West. On his return to Florence in 1919, he frequented Cafe Casoni, and had a penchant for something a little stronger than the Americano’s on offer. Soon other patrons of the bar started asking for ‘one of Count Negroni’s drinks’, and after a while, it became known simply as the Negroni.

This renowned tale is described in Sulle Tracce del Conte: La Vera Storia del Cocktail Negroni, written by Lucca Picchi, head bartender at Caffe Rivoire in Florence, Italy. The title translates to: “In the Footsteps of the Count: The True Story of the Negroni Cocktail”. Count Negroni’s crucial substitution led to one of the most in demand stirred drinks in history.

“The bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other.” – Orson Welles

The Negroni remained an understated classic (like our Judi) for almost a century, appearing exclusively on the menus of Italian restaurants and bars and as a mainstay of their Aperitivo hour offerings. But in the last decade, it has skyrocketed to new levels of stardom and is now a staple on any self-respecting cocktail menu.  

So, what is in a Negroni cocktail?

The Negroni is all about balance: using equal parts Gin, Sweet Vermouth and Campari. Bitter, sweet, earthy and aromatic, the classic Negroni is an unequivocal all-star; simple in its ingredients, complex in its finish and an unforgettable shade of red to boot. Built to be savoured over time, the Italian way. A house favourite here at Black Lines and part of a cocktail class of its own; the Aperitivo.

Aperitivo Culture and the Negroni.

The Aperitivo in Italy is a glorious, cultural panacea; a drink and time of day whose key purpose is to bring people together, stimulate conversation and, most importantly, whet the appetite. Take a walk through the cobbled streets of Florence on a warm summer evening and you’ll get a feel for what the Aperitivo is all about. Cafes, restaurants, little bars on every corner; patrons spilling over onto the streets; short glasses filled with vermouth, bitters, herbaceous tipples; delightful morsels on every small plate; all painted with a dappling of rich sunlight. 

Campari is a stalwart of many Aperitivo cocktails, as the bitter liquor helps to stimulate the appetite. It makes the Negroni a crucial member of this class; an appetite whetter, best enjoyed with a bowl of salty Castelvetrano olives and a slice of rosemary focaccia.

The Black Lines Negroni Recipe.

The Black Lines Negroni has been a mainstay in our cocktail on tap and bottle offering. In the most part, we build our Negroni the way it was always intended, but we’ve also made some subtle tweaks that make our take on it a little bit special. Ours is a slight variation on the equal parts recipe, delivering a delicate balance of the classic Negroni ingredients; Juniper-forward London Dry Gin, bitter and bold Campari, and herbaceous Vermouth.

We’ve worked alongside some of the best bartenders in London to calculate the perfect amount of dilution produced from a stir-down and built that into every 100ml serve. It means that, as with the draught cocktail, our bottled Negroni delivers a perfect serve straight from the bottle, without any extra work. It simply needs to be chilled down, poured over ice and garnished with an orange slice.

If you’re an avid Negroni lover, then look no further than the World’s First Negroni Jeroboam created by the team here at Black Lines. 30 servings of the original red red Italian aperitivo. Head here to buy.

Aficionados of the Negroni.

The great late chef Anthony Bourdain called it his “perfect drink”, warning “it will hit you like a freight train, after four or five.”

The Negroni’s reputation precedes it, a firm-favourite far and wide. Ernest Hemingway adored the Negroni so much that he named one of his beloved pet dogs Negroni. James Bond orders this cocktail when the mood isn’t right for a Martini. The great late chef Anthony Bourdain called it his “perfect drink”, warning “it will hit you like a freight train, after four or five.”

The popularity of the Negroni shows no signs of slowing down, either. The ‘Stanley Tucci Negroni’ is as famous as Stanley himself, with his wildly popular video making a Negroni during lockdown. And just this year, the Negroni Spagliato went viral online thanks to House of Dragon star Emma D’Arcy revealing her favourite cocktail: “A Negroni Spagliato, with prosecco in it”.

The Black Lines Negroni Illustration.

 As with all of our creations we asked hot-shot Bristol illustrator Jamie Muck to characterise this classic. The cocktail illustration on the bottle is his portrayal of our Negroni and we absolutely love it; seems to us it might be what Count Camillo Negroni looked like after a few too many of his own creations in Café Casoni. If you’re interested in learning more about the fantastic talent that is Jamie or any of the other artists we’ve worked with, head over to the Illustrators page.

The Judi Dench of the Cocktail World.

We have lovingly adorned the Negroni as the Judi Dench of the cocktail world; short, strong, a timeless classic. The quintessential Italian cocktail. You could make the perfect Negroni at home… or you could just buy the Black Lines Negroni bottle.