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The history and etiquette of the Italian aperitivo

The history and etiquette of the Italian aperitivo

Exactly one hundred years ago, the Negroni was born in a Florentine bar. The story goes that a certain Count Camillo Negroni – who had worked, among other things, as a rodeo cowboy in America – was taking it easy in Florence’s Caffè Casoni bar in 1919. The Americanos (Campari, soda and vermouth) served at

Exactly one hundred years ago, the Negroni was born in a Florentine bar.

The story goes that a certain Count Camillo Negroni – who had worked, among other things, as a rodeo cowboy in America – was taking it easy in Florence’s Caffè Casoni bar in 1919. The Americanos (Campari, soda and vermouth) served at the time weren’t hitting the spot, so barman, Fosco “Gloomy” Scarselli was told to swap the water with gin. We’ve all been there.

Now celebrating its 100th anniversary, the Negroni has seen many incarnations over the years, from the ‘wrong’ Negroni ‘sbagliato’ to the vodka-laced ‘Negroski’, but its place in the hearts of Italians has remained unchanged.

The answer to why this most bitter of drinks is so beloved is tied to Italy’s other great love: the aperitivo.

In Italy, where the regions can feel as different as separate countries – they once were, after all – the aperitivo is a cultural panacea. Up there with soccer and Sunday mass, you’ll find nearly every inch of the peninsula devoted to it.



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Susan E. Lopez
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