This month saw the publication of a book that I’ve been working on for over a year. The Life Negroni is a labour of love. We travelled through Europe and beyond to meet almost everyone featured in this book, and it has been such an exciting and rewarding project to be involved with.
The book straddles the world of cocktails, spirits and mixology, of art, architecture and design, film, politics and poetry. It delves into the Negroni’s past, discovering the stories behind its component ingredients, and reviews at its timeless influence on art, design, fashion, music, cinema, politics, poetry… the avant-garde.
We go behind the scenes to meet the king of bitters Campari at its stunning modernist headquarters on the edge of Milan. Here we witness the company’s involvement with the Italian Futurists, and see one of the richest collections from this period.
We learn about Vermouth di Torino at Cocchi, and at Martini & Rossi, in an idyllic spot in the beautiful hills surrounding Turin, we see how design and branding were utilised at a time when such concepts were in their infancy.
In London we visit Beefeater, Tanqueray, Sipsmith and Sacred – craft distillers large and small who are preserving the tradition of London Dry gin, and we squeeze our way into the smallest museum dedicated to all things gin at the Ginstitute.
We sample some of the purest and adventurous Negronis at the Bulgari Hotel in Milan, and Fusion Bar and St Regis in Florence, The Connaught, Artesian, Blue Bar, Salvatore’s at the Playboy Club, Shangri-La at The Shard and Frank’s Cafe in London, the Negroni Bar in Munich, and at the Waldorf Astoria, Lincoln Centre, Parker Palm Springs in America.
Above all we meet the custodians, the guardians of the Negroni. Mixologists, bartenders, fashion designers, car designers, yacht makers, filmmakers and artists past and present who champion this simple cocktail.
The Life Negroni is ultimately an ode to the sweet life – a celebration of the pleasures of living told through a humble classic cocktail.
Hope you enjoy!
… and the reviews are coming in. Read what The Spectator, Time Out, Urban Junkies and Form Trends had to say about the book, have a browse through the testimonials here, follow us on facebook, twitter and instagram @Thelifenegroni
…. and some kind words by some of our reviewers and readers:
‘Absolutely stunning! This book is destined for greatness,’ Sam Galsworthy, co-founder of Sipsmith
‘The Life Negroni is a gorgeous book offering voyeuristic insights into a way of life which may never have existed anywhere other than the imagination, but one that is no less intoxicating for that. … I was reminded of Luc Sante’s epic No Smoking of 2004, a masterpiece of book design. It is an album, a love letter, a guide, a memoir and a rich source of graphic delight. Only hedonists would enjoy such a thing,’ Stephen Bayley, aesthete, design critic and co-founder of London’s Design Museum
‘Be warned: this is a gripping read,’ Time Out, London
‘The book is FABULOUS!’ Gary Regan, author and mixologist
‘… Like the drink, the book drips European post-war cool. It even manages to juxtapose Florence’s Ponte Vecchio with the Playboy Club…It’s a book in thrall to the Italian idea of sprezzatura, a kind of off-the-cuff stylishness that you can trace back to Baldassare Castiglione’s The Book of the Courier. And it’s just possible it might make you a little thirsty,’ Teddy Jamieson.
‘I am obsessed with it, pouring over each beautiful page, and carrying it all over my home. I may even change my Facebook status to “In a Relationship” with…’ Mariena Mercer, chief mixologist The Cosmopolitan of Los Vegas
‘It is struck me as a reminder of how sweet and beautiful life in Italy has been and, in spite of our chronic financial and political dire strait, still is… It brings out elements of the charm and elegance of our country and of our lifestyle that we Italians sometimes have the tendency to overlook or to forget,’ Maurizio Stocchetto, owner Bar Basso, Milan
‘I love the look and feel. The drink itself had me convinced a long time ago!’ Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW Group director of design
‘Absolutely stunning book… already can see that I am going to love every single page and image,’ Paula Champa, author
‘The book arrived but I could only see it very briefly because Luca Bassani liked it so much that he took it home!’ Monica Paolazzi, on the owner of Wally Yachts
‘I see you found a page even for me… I am honoured,’ Chris Bangle, car designer
‘The Life Negroni is no ordinary cocktail book – it documents the historical, avant-garde, and artistic element to the drink, even down to its botanical origin. It’s like going on the Negroni grand tour. La dolce vita!’ Urban Junkies, London
‘Mille Grazie for taking me on the journey,’ Michele Fiordoliva, co-owner Negroni Bar, Munich
‘It is an honour to be in such a great book with the best bars and colleagues from all around Europe,’ Marco Vezzozi, bar manager Fusion, Florence
‘Liquid history. The Life Negroni, finally out. Honoured to be part of the journey,’ Valentina Dalla Costa, The Unseen, Milan
‘It is even more gorgeous than I thought it would be! I love the size, the canvas feel to the cover… the illustrations inside are just amazing, one after another. It is hard to put it down!!!’ Azadeh Maroufi, New York
‘It is such a beautifully produced book (but I knew it would be),’ Hilary Whitney, Sacred
‘A celebration of the sweet life,‘ Yashu e Prem, Italy
‘The glamour oozes off every page. I was transported to another place and time – one which I wished I could inhabit. I could hear the chink of hand-cut ice cubes, see the perfectly cut suits and smell the waft of expensive perfume. And God did I want a drink!!’ Graham Biggs, BMW Group
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