- Young’s has seen an uptick in demand for the classic 1919 ‘Negroni’ cocktail
- Sales of the gin, Campari and vermouth combo have grown 56%
- The drink is reputed to have been invented in Florence almost a century ago
It dates back almost 100 years but is suddenly the height of fashion again with British drinkers.
For a revival in popularity of the classic Negroni is fuelling a new cocktail boom.
Pub chain Young’s says demand for the mix of gin, Campari and vermouth was behind a 56 per cent rise in cocktail sales in the past six months.
The simplicity of the drink – three ingredients plus ice and a slice of orange – its eye-catching red colour and bittersweet taste have helped increase Negroni’s popularity with younger drinkers, mixologists say.
Considered a perfect aperitif, it is reputed to have been invented in 1919 when Count Camillo Negroni asked a bartender in Florence to make a stiffer version of a local drink favoured by US tourists.
The count gave his name to the cocktail and it has remained a classic ever since, inspiring countless variations and gaining popularity in other Western countries.
While other cocktails such as Aperol spritz – prosecco, Aperol, soda and, sometimes, gin – are seen as summer tipples, Negroni is more of an all-year-round drink. It is also easy to make at home and can even be bought ready-mixed in supermarkets.
Jim Slavin, former president of the UK Bartender’s Guild, said the cocktail, which gets its bitter taste from the Campari, had made a ‘fantastic comeback’.
‘The Negroni is a tremendously popular drink at the moment,’ he added. ‘It has never really gone out of fashion but it had been overtaken by more modern cocktails because of the range of mixers and liquors.
‘But more recently people have rediscovered it as they have returned to the classics. The Negroni is very simple and it’s also a wonderful drink. It’s everlasting, really.’
Young’s, which runs more than 250 pubs across the UK, said the boost in its cocktail sales has been ‘basically all Negroni’.
Sales of the ‘standout’ performer have risen faster than anything else – including increasingly popular rose wine and craft ales – in the six months to October, it said.