What’s a Green Walnut Broken Negroni?

There are innumerable variations on Negronis today, including a Green Walnut one, but it all started long ago at the Caffé Campari in Milan. The cafe was opened in 1867 by Gaspare Campari who had created a variety of bitter drinks, among them the scarlet red drink that would become known as Campari, and he needed a large space to serve them. Campari became very popular and was served in caffes and bars throughout Italy.

In 1919, forty- five years later at a different cafe, this one in Florence, Count Camillio Negroni, a regular whose favorite drink was the Americano, a cocktail half Campari, half sweet vermouth, with soda, wanted it stronger. The count, so the story goes, (and the origin stories are highly debated) asked the bartender to add gin. The bartender obliged, using gin instead of soda, and an orange garnish instead of the traditional lemon, and thus the Negroni was born.

In the 1970s or 1980s, (again, accounts differ) at the Bar Basso in Milan’s fashion district, where the rich and famous, the models and their photographers came to see and to be seen in, a bartender reached for the gin bottle to finish the Negroni he was making. Someone had switched the bottles in the lineup and instead of holding a bottle of gin, he was holding a bottle of Prosecco. He went ahead and poured the sparkling wine over the Campari and sweet Vermouth already in the glass, and the now-famous cocktail, the Negroni Spagliato was born. Spagliato means ‘mistake’ or ‘broken’ in Italian, hence the name.

Decades later, actress Emma D’Arcy, from Game of Thrones, set the twitter and TikTok world ablaze when she said in her velvety posh voice that her favorite drink was “Negroni Spagliato…with Prosecco.”

Inspired by Emma’s enthusiasm, three women, partners in an apéritif tasting room and lounge featuring their apéritifs, L’Apéro les Trois, decided to create their own version of a Negroni Spagliato using their apéritifs. Their apéritifs are wine based, fortified, and flavored with nuts and fruits from local orchards.  So, imagine their dark, faintly spicy Green Walnut Apéritif, combined with a dash of their slightly bitter Rosemary-Orange Apéritif, and finished not with Prosecco but with sparkling rosé wine, and garnished with orange zest. Voluptuous, with the essential bitter edge and lightened with the bubbles, the Green Walnut Negroni speaks to the history and spirit of the original Negroni and its mistake, the Negroni Spagliato, and carries on the tradition of creating new, Negroni-style drinks.