Girl in Florence aka Georgette Jupe

I started this blog as a writing outlet for me to share what it is I adore about the beautiful city of Florence and Italy also sharing travel tips and stories along the way. Now 'Girl in Florence' includes advice for Florence, artisan features, interviews with locals, tips for life in Italy and travel posts from all over Europe. I'd love to think of myself as a fearless badass but If I am keeping it 100% real on this blog a quote that I sort of live by is"I haven't failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." I hope you enjoy this journey with me.

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A Love Letter to the Negroni Cocktail: Celebrating 100 years of this iconic Italian cocktail

27.06.2019 No Comments

A Love Letter to the Negroni Cocktail: Celebrating 100 years of this iconic Italian cocktail

27.06.2019 No Comments

When it comes to aperitivo drinks in Italy, you can’t come to the city of Florence without trying a negroni cocktail. Its ruby red color is as alluring as it is mysterious. A confident drink, unapologetic in its simplicity, served over ice and typically drunk before dinner. 1 part (1oz, 3cl) Campari, 1 part (1oz, 3cl) Gin, 1 part (1oz, 3cl) Red Vermouth and a slice of orange.

Sure, I admittedly am a girl who likes “uncool” drinks like the Aperol Spritz and will almost always choose a Mezcal margarita over anything else, but I have to say there is a special place in my heart for the negroni and all that it means to the city of Florence.

Get a good one and it will be a bit like a refreshing cold shower on a hot day.

Did I mention Florence is currently going through an epic heatwave?

The Best Love Stories Always Start With Mistakes

Like many a love story though, it can often come with its fair share of lover’s tiffs and minor misunderstandings. I wasn’t always a fan of the negroni, actually you could say that I actively avoided this drink during my early years in Florence, Italy.

Why? Well, it is strong and bitter, often served a little too warm at the many shitty bars that my friends and I would frequent during my study abroad years.

At one point, I remember visiting a coffee bar during morning break in my year abroad and politely asking for a negroni after hearing about it in class. Naturally, I had it completely wrong and thought it was something “light” – maybe a bit like a lightly-spiked orange soda.

I couldn’t have been more wrong, of course, and I spent the rest of that hour pretending like I actually meant to order that strong of a cocktail before 10am as the local nonni and stay-at-home mothers glared at this heathen Americana drinking like a fish while they calmly sipped their cappuccini and nibbled on pastries.

I was the town alcoholic that day and likely provided plenty of local gossip in the Piazza Beccaria set for weeks to come. That until someone peed in broad daylight at the bus stop, they took the crown (thankfully) after that. 

It was years before I confidently ordered a negroni again, partly because my tastes just weren’t sophisticated enough to appreciate this kind of drink.

Also, when it came to “going out” at the time my Italian friends liked to order the cheapest, smallest beer and sip it as if it was cognac over a four-hour period standing outside of the bar which used to drive me crazy. A bit like that annoying “squillo” quick-hang up phone call where you are meant to call someone back so they don’t have to use their minutes ie: pay more money. It’s pretty safe to say that I do not miss those years.

Later though, as my economic situation improved and I met friends who didn’t want to stand outside shitty bars for hours on end talking about calcio, cocktails became a thing again. Something to wind the day down with, a reason to catch up with a friend; weekends were often awash with several cocktails (sorry mom) and a long dinners. 

When I met my husband Nico and we were just friends, he used to partake in a nightly negroni after work (hardcore, I know) and I thought he was so very sophisticated in his choice of beverage.

I myself graduated from the Americano to the Negroni with the help of friends like Coral Sisk of the Curious Appetite who are far better versed in food and drink than me and we would go to Caffè Gilli, Rivoire, Fusion and other places that actually had interesting bitters and could make anyone love this drink. Practice makes perfect right?

Drinking a negroni at Rivoire like a proper adult #winning

For those visiting Florence, coral offers an aperitivo tour in Florence where you can try this cocktail in some of the best places in town along with learn more about the aperitivo culture in general. I’ve done this several times with friends and we’ve all enjoyed it. 

So naturally I asked Coral to share her own favorite Negroni since she helped me to fall in love with this drink, and she said:  

I used to go to a bar called Canon in Seattle who was known as a bitters and whiskey emporium before I moved to Italy in 2012. The owner loved Negroni and had a trio on the menu called the Negroni experiment which were 3 riffs on the classic, this is when I discovered the drink then when I came to Florence it became my staple, especially loving it initially at a dive near my house on Via de’ Macci simply because of the divey bar itself and the whooping deal it was at 2.50eu, now my tastes have changed and can’t quite stomach free poured Negroni and prefer a toner version at craft spots like Locale or classic haunts like Caffe Gilli

 

An Icon Throughout a Century: Happy 100th Birthday Negroni!

This year the Negroni officially turns 100 years old and you could reason that the king of aperitivo is living its own sort of new Renaissance as it has gained popularity around the world. with bars featuring their own versions In fact, if you really want to get to know more about this drink, by the book written by famous local bartender Luca Picchi, who penned Sulle Tracce del Conte: La Vera Storia del Cocktail “Negroni” (‘On the Trail of the Count: The True Story of the Negroni Cocktail’)

So, first, let’s go back to basics. Where did it come from?

The negroni was said to have been invented in 1919 Count Negroni, who asked his friend Forsco Scarselli to add a touch of gin rather than soda to his Americano, in honor of his last trip to London at the Cafe Casoni (once located on via tornabuoni or nearby) in Florence.

Camillo Negroni himself was quite a fascinating figure. He travelled extensively in America and may or may not have been a rodeo clown at some point (you can’t make this stuff up!) before coming back to Florence and inventing the cocktail we all love so much. Obviously, as with any good story, there are naysayers however according to this source, Camillo Negroni DID exist but I still am more confused than ever if he has that guy with a top-hat on Wikimedia commons… alas we may never know!

Over the years, the negroni has been appreciated by many celebrities and writers. In fact, while working in Rome in 1947 writer Orson Welles sent a message to the Coshocton Tribune describing the relatively negroni as: “The bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other.”

Anthony Bourdain, who is very missed by everyone who has ever cared about food, loved the negroni too. He shared this with Thrillest “A Negroni is a perfect drink as far as I’m concerned,” says Bourdain, adding, “ It’s three liquors that I’m not particularly interested in… But put them together with a slice of orange. It works… That first sip is confusing and not particularly pleasant. But man it grows on you.” 

You’ll often find variations of the drink like the Negroni sbagliato where brut sparkling wine replaces the gin making it less alcoholic and perhaps a bit more palatable for some. This article by Catherine Sabino for Italy Magazine shares plenty of recipes worth emulating. As for making the perfect negroni, I’ve read the secret lies in the quality of the bitters and the sheer amount of ice in the glass. 

Want a recipe? Try this Negroni di Mezzogiorno

This recipe comes courtesy of cocktail guru Julian Biondi and Coral Sisk of Curious Appetite. Coral included this on the week-long menu for a Negroni Week kick-off event in San Francisco

Negroni di Mezzogiorno

A riff on the classic, imagining how Negroni would have ordered a Negroni in the Italian South:

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Cara Firenze, 7 anni fa precisamente in questo mese ti ho chiamato casa per la prima volta e sei responsabile per avermi conosciuto il mio drink preferito- cioè il imbattibile Negroni che 100 anni fa ha trovato casa pure in te. Ora oggi mi ritrovo di nuovo ritornata “a casa” ma con un pezzo di te portata con me- cioè: il tuo aperitivo e di poter condividere la sua storia sta sera con dei curiosi da @barbarapinseria_sf a San Francisco. Calda bestiale Firenze, sarai sempre una parte di me nonostante le nostre incompatibilità. Perciò questo post ho dovuto scrivere così, as f***ing cheesy that may be! EVVIVA IL NEGRONI PER UN ALTRO 1000 ❤️🇮🇹#negroniweek

A post shared by Coral Sisk | Curious Appetite (@curiousappetite) on

  • Amaro del Capo/Campari (1/2 part each)
  • Vermouth Del Professore Torino (1 part)
  • Beefeater London Gin (1 part)
  • Dashed w/ Angostura and Calabrian chili oil 

Notes: strong drink, make sure there is at least 10% or 20% dilution with ice cubes during the making

Method: Throwing or stir & strain 

Coral also has generously written a post on where to try a negroni cocktail in Florence (score!)and if you want other recommendations for where to get drinks in the city – here’s my general list.

Love live the Negroni… I’m happy we’re friends now..

 

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GirlInFlorence

Georgette Jupe is a 'Tuscan Texan' digital social media marketing maven based in Florence, Italy. When she's not at her day job as social media manager and content editor at ITALY Magazine, she's creating social strategies for international clients and providing travel, foodie & life tips via her blog 'Girl in Florence'. Hobbies include plenty of reading, hiking, beagle cuddles, the hunt for the 'perfect' Moscow mule and laughs with the girls.

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About Me

About Me

Hi There!

Ciao, I'm a curious American "Tuscan Texan" who calls Florence, Italy home for the past 11 years. I am the editor at Italy Magazine and I also work as an established digital social media marketing strategist (5+ years) as well as a freelance writer. My bylines have appeared in Lonely Planet, Luxos Magazine, and International Living. This blog is my way to share what life is like living and working abroad, as well as provide up-to-date true advice on traveling and living in Italy, weekend trips around Europe, and a monthly roundup of interesting events. I'm married to a wonderful Frenchman and we have a Florentine beagle who rules the household. Keep in touch with our adventures with your favorite glass of franciacorta or espresso!

Georgette

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