In the old days, though, the rich and titled did do worthwhile things . . . like invent cocktails. Consider Count Negroni. In 1919, this Italian nobleman decided that the recent end of World War I and the Spanish flu epidemic that was ravaging the world wasn’t going to keep him from experimenting with tasty combinations of different liquors and inventing a drink that he humbly named after himself. At least, that’s the takeaway I got from a bar coaster at Curio that announced that last Saturday was part of Negroni Week — and if you can’t trust a bar coaster for accurate historical information, what has the world come to?
I figured that if a Negroni was so noteworthy that it has a week named after it, it was worth a taste. For those of you, like me, who had never tried a Negroni, the basic concoction is made with gin, vermouth, and Campari, garnished with an orange peel. It’s an interesting drink, with a complex taste (and aftertaste) that includes some bitterness. It’s not a drink for everyone — but I can see where some people could grow to love it, and where the old Count might decide that he had come up with a winner.