The Negroni is currently my go-to drink; it's easy to make, fun, and sophisticated. Admittedly, it's a bit of a summer drink; however, I live in Southern California, so it doesn't make much difference. For the rest of the country... Spring is around the corner my friends! Time to defrost with a drink!
Just to be upfront, the Negroni is not a cloyingly sweet beverage, nor does it make any attempt to truly disguise the alcohol. The first sip can be a bit of surprise... perhaps best described like taking a smack to the face with a Eucalyptus branch. While that may sound like a bad thing, I assure you it isn't; the complex notes of the botanical gin, herbal vermouth, and brightly bitter Campari make it an exquisite beverage for sipping (not gulping).
The origin of the Negroni dates to the early 1900s in Florence itself, which isn't remarkably surprising given that the recipe is basically a snazzed up Americano (comprised of Campari and vermouth, both Italian staples, with a splash of soda water). In the cocktail book Storied Sips, the author recounts the story of the particular Florentine bartender known for creating the Americano, being visited by a regular customer who has just returned from a trip to London. There, Count Camillo Negroni had taken to gin, and asked that a splash might be added to his Americano. The drink grew in popularity from there, with bar patrons requesting the drink by the name of its creator. Whether this is true or not, I quite honestly don't care, because I think it's a great tale that reminds me of fun evenings spent at appertivos with friends.