June 01st 2021

A Century of Negroni

Cocktails, like fashion, are subject to trends. But when a cocktail is still in high demand a century after it was first mixed, and lends itself to endless variations, you’ve got a winner – that’s  the Negroni.

The story of Negroni started a century ago at Café Casoni in Florence as the curious byproduct of boredom and a traditional cocktail popular among American tourists. Tired of the usual happy hour aperitif made of vermouth rosso, Campari bitters and soda, Count Camillo Negroni asked the barman to spike his Americano with a third of gin in lieu of the splash of sparkling water. At that moment, the now iconic Negroni was born. Almost instantly it began to grow in popularity and now ranks among the world’s most beloved cocktails.
Marios Demosthenous, the Four Seasons Bars Manager, raves about the Negroni. “It’s my favourite drink,” he says. “It represents Italy. Some people might not know Italy, but they recognise a Negroni. After one hundred years, it is still standing. In fact, it is once in vogue and appealing to more and more people.” Plenty are drawn to the Negroni’s versatility, which has made it one of the mixology industry’s favourite drinks to experiment with, inspiring a multitude of delicious departures to cater to many different palates, preferences and moods.

The Vista Bar mixologists make their own creative contribution to Negroni history, with several variations on the classic, including an award-winning blend. The King Negroni, which Marios Demosthenous confirms is the Four Seasons’ best-selling version of the Italian drink, packs a punch with the addition of the intensely fragrant Barolo Chinato, a herb-infused Piedmontese wine of striking complexity and richness. Fans of drier cocktails will be enamoured with the White Negroni, a more bitter drink that replaces the sweeter profile of the Campari, vermouth rosso and orange peel with white bitters, vermouth bianco and lemon rind.

As an entry to the 2018 Lady Amarena, an annual cocktail competition hosted by Amarena Fabbri and dedicated to barwomen from across the globe, Four Seasons bartender Andriani Vladimirou created Rumarena, a tipple that wowed the judges and brought home the Gold. Based on the ubiquitous Negroni and inspired by Italy’s ebullient lifestyle, the Rumarena marries pineapple rum, Amarena Fabbri Marendry bitter cherry liqueur and Cocchi Barolo Chinato to produce a balanced and clean cocktail with a hint of tropical notes that magically strikes a balance between sweet and bitter. Working alongside the Four Seasons pastry team, Andriani conjured up an arresting dessert to accompany her cocktail: an Amarena cherry and pineapple chutney topped with orange foam, a citrus tuile and edible flowers, which cuts through the pineapple rum’s vivacity and rounds off the entire drinking experience. “Guests have often told us that the Four Seasons makes the best Negronis they’ve ever tasted. Even better than in New York City,”  Marios concludes.

Classic Negroni
Italy’s iconic contribution to the world of cocktails. Equal parts of gin, vermouth rosso and Campari, classically garnished with an orange peel.

White Negroni
A departure from the reddish hues of the classic Negroni. White bitters, dry vermouth and lemon peel temper the sweetness. 

King Negroni
A Negroni on steroids courtesy of Barolo Chinato, a highly aromatic, spicy, woody and herbal wine from Italy’s Piedmonte.

Negroni Sbagliato
A lighter, fresher version that was created by accident when sparkling white wine replaced the traditional gin.

An award-winning twist on the Italian classic. Pineapple rum, Barolo Chinato and Marendry bitters add a hint of the tropics to the glass.