On a winter night in Oakland 1905, an eleven-year-old boy named Frank Epperson accidentally left a glass of water, soft drink powder and a stick he had used to mix the two outside his house. At that moment, he had no idea what he had just created.
The next day, the boy found his frozen drink with a stick conveniently standing upright in the middle – perfect for picking it up. The world’s first ice lolly was born. Some years later, Epperson himself set about patenting his serendipity.
A century later, Epperson’s creation can be found all over the world. Despite some wrong turns – Mexican Popsicles and that long round frozen yoghurty thing, for example – it has never gone out of fashion. It’s like Negroni: Almost a century old and in perfect shape.
In fact, Negroni was also created in a very unpretentious way. Its story is told in the book Sulle Tracce del Conte: La Vera Storia del Cocktail Negroni, by Lucca Picchi, bartender at Caffe Rivoire, in Florence, Italy.
According to the book, the cocktail was created in 1919 at Bar Casoni, which is also in Florence, when the Count Camillo Negroni asked the bartender Forsco Scarselli to make him an American with gin instead of water. The Count never imagined he had just created one of the greatest classic cocktails ever, but it’s exactly what had happened.
Today, the cocktail is so famous that there is an entire week dedicated to it: Negroni Week, presented by Campari and Imbibe Magazine. The week was launched in 2013 and is occurs annually. In 2018, in Brazil Negroni Week was from 4th to 10th June. During those days, participating bars created different versions of Negroni’s recipe and part of the sales of these drinks was given to charities.
Inspired by this week and at the Dog’s request, teacher and bartender Rodolfo Bob, of Axado Bar and owner of the website O Bar Virtual, has created a version of this cocktail: the Smokin’ Bob Negroni. So, dear readers, take outi tuoi quaderni and make notes. It’s a negroni that contains the only ingredient capable of improving this legendary cocktail. Of course, I’m talking about whisky and the best type, peated, obviously.
SMOKIN’ BOB NEGRONI
- 1 dose of gin
- 1 part of vermouth (Bob used Antica Formula)
- 1 part of Campari
- 1/2 part of elderflower liqueur (St. Germain)
- 1/2 part of Laphroaig Select (you can try substituting with another pleated whisky, but bear in mind that something smokier will dominate the taste of the cocktail, so use less).
- Salt flower
- Dehydrated flower petals (I’ll put this is in as an option…)
- All the paraphernalia used for making a cocktail (cocktail spoon, mixing glass etc)
- Mix the liquid ingredients (gin, vermouth, Campari, St. Germain and Laphroaig) in a mixing glass with plenty of ice.
- Pour the mixture into a tumbler with ice (preferably ice cubes).
- Sprinkle the salt and flower petals (if you decide to use them) onto the ice. Go easy on the salt, champ, remember it’ll melt the ice.