While the Negroni was born in Florence, it came into its own in Milan, the birthplace of Campari. As such, finding the best Negronis in Milan can be a bit overwhelming—but we love a challenge.
While the origins of the Negroni remain uncertain, the most widely accepted story claims it was first mixed in Florence in 1919 at Caffè Casoni at the request of Pascal Olivier Count de Negroni, who by all accounts was a real person and, at one point, a rodeo cowboy in America. As the story goes, the Count wanted his usual Americano, but with more of a kick, so he requested that the bartender, Fosco Scarselli, replace the traditional cocktail’s soda water with gin. The bartender added an orange peel instead of lemon, which is used for an Americano, and the Negroni was born.
The Negroni falls under the category of an aperitif (or aperitivo). Typically sipped before a meal to stimulate the appetite, aperitifs are lower-ABV libations that comprise vermouth, bitters, liqueur, and spirits that lend an herbal, bitter, or floral quality. The cocktail can be dry or fizzy. In the case of the Negroni, it’s equal parts gin, Campari, and vermouth rosso (semi-sweet red vermouth). The flavor profile is a little sweet and fruity with a backbone of licorice. Of course you can find riffs on the classic; some swap gin for mezcal, aquavit, or prosecco (Negroni sbagliato).
Rather than guide you on a typical tour of the city, we’ve gathered some of our favorite places to enjoy the best Negronis in Milan. Just remember to pace yourself…
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