Even in the cocktail universe, the Negroni has one indisputable advantage: Order one at a bar and you’ll instantly sound well-traveled and sophisticated. Sure, the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned are hall-of-fame cocktails, but the Negroni has a name to it.
And rightfully so. As the story goes (well one of them, at least), the Negroni was created in the early 1900s in Florence, Italy, when Count Camillo Negroni asked his favorite bartender to add an extra kick to his usual drink of choice (the Americano) by swapping in gin for soda water. He mixed one part gin, one part vermouth rosso, and one part Campari, and then garnished the concoction with an orange peel—and the Negroni was born.
True story or not, Count Negroni was clearly on to something. His namesake cocktail has since become a staple at bars, cocktail parties, and everything in between.
So celebrate the Negroni this summer—and look damn good while doing it—with the traditional recipe, or try one of these five creative riffs on the classic. You can’t go wrong either way.