The Modern Mixologist – Winter 09

The Life & Times of the Modern Mixologist

The Negroni Quest

George—being well-traveled, a lover of virtually every cuisine, and appreciative of those who are  passionate about the food they serve—recently found himself at the bar of Mario Batali’s B&B restaurant in Las Vegas. In need of a proper aperitif, he inquired of the barman, who quickly recommended a Negroni. Upon sampling this newly discovered libation, he found it to be bittersweet, beautifully balanced, and dry in finish with just a hint of orange. It was very much to his liking and proved the perfect start to Mario’s wonderful Italian cooking.

After doing some research, George discovered that according to Luca Picchi, head barman at Rivoire, there was indeed an Italian Count, Camillo Negroni, who started adding gin to the classic Americano to give the drink more of a kick. Apparently, the bar he frequented in Florence in the 1920s was called Bar Casoni, and the gentleman working behind the stick was Fosco Scarselli.

bartenderBeing the bon vivant that he is, George quickly booked a Mediterranean journey aboard Crystal Cruise Lines and let the adventure begin. His journey commenced in Venice, where he first enjoyed several Bellinis at Harry’s Bar before setting off to sea. Two days later, the ship docked in Livorno, the gateway to Florence, and George was about to begin his quest to find the birthplace of his new favorite tipple, the Negroni. His attempt to search out Bar Casoni on the famous Via Tornabuoni ended in vain, as he found the place had been closed up long ago. All was not lost however. He did happen upon a wonderful restaurant: Trattoria La Madia. He had a wonderful risotto with fresh porcini mushrooms and met bartender Fabbrocino Gennaro, who had worked at Caffe Rivoire and knew Lucca Picchi. He claimed that the drink was actually first mixed at a joint called Caffè Giacosa, which was also located on the famous Via Tornabuoni. He made George a wonderful Negroni—on the rocks with a slice of orange as they like to serve them in Italy—and told the story of Count Negroni adding gin to the Americano, “Milano – Turino.”

George set out to find Caffè Giacosa, and find it he did, still in operation and still serving its legendary drink. After enjoying his Negroni made by barman Paolo Betti, he set out to find Rivoire and meet Lucca himself. He found the wonderful café in the Piazza Signoria, only to discover that Lucca was  not working. He did, however, enjoy one last wonderful Negroni in the city that made the drink famous, before heading back to the ship with fond memories and a great desire to return.


1 oz gin (The choice of which should suit one’s personal fancy)
1 oz Campari
1 oz Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth

Into an ice-filled mixing glass (Martini pitcher), add gin, Campari, and Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth. Stir until well blended. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a burnt orange twist.


1 oz Campari
1 oz Cinzano Rosso sweet vermouth
Chilled soda water

Build in an ice-filled highball glass, top with chilled soda water, stir. Garnish with a slice of orange.

Mojito kit includes: solid cherry wood muddler, citrus squeezer, and a Lewis bag.
The Muddler – Hand crafted solid cherry wood muddler, great for muddling fresh fruit or herbs in any cocktail or beverage, such as the mojito and caipirinha.
The Squezer – Specially designed, cast squeezer, perfect for extracting fresh lime juice into any cocktail or beverage. Also works great with small lemons.
Lewis Bag – Great for crushing ice for your mojitos, works great with the TAG muddler when used to pound the ice you place inside the bag.
Kit sells for $49 on


Surrey Books
The Modern Mixologist
ISBN: 978-157284-107-9 – $35
March 2010
Tony Abou-Ganim’s long awaited coffee-table cocktail book features:
60 Original Recipes
Personal Stories
Stunning Color Photography By Tim Turner


Pre-order your own personalized, signed copy of The Modern Mixologist and receive 20% off!
Special Pre-Order Price: $28.00 (Plus Shipping & Handling)
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