It’s Negroni Week, which means bars and restaurants around the world are celebrating the bracingly bittersweet aperitif. Fifteen years ago, the idea of dedicating a spot on a cocktail menu—let alone an entire week—to a Negroni would have been unheard of. It’s bitter! It’s medicinal! Whoever would drink such a thing? It turns out, a lot of people.
About five years ago, the uniquely flavored, potently boozy cocktail caught on and caught fire, skyrocketing quickly from a bartender favorite to a must-have item on any reputable menu. The avocado or bacon of the cocktail world, the Negroni has outlasted other cocktail trends and remains a mainstay in the drinking world. It’s joined the ranks of classic cocktail stalwarts like the martini, the Manhattan and the old-fashioned. So what gives the Negroni its staying power? Bartender Natasha David of New York City's Nitecap has some theories. Here, David, who grew up sipping Campari in Italy and Germany from a young age (“I have Campari in my veins,” she says), outlines exactly what makes the Negroni so darn great and why it’s managed to outlast the trends.
“You’ve got all the herbaceous qualities of gin, the bitterness of Campari and the sweetness of the vermouth,” David says. “All of the components are fighting with each other because they’re all very pronounced flavors—but they all balance out. It’s pretty much everything that your cocktail dreams are made of.”