The Curious Evolution Of The Americano
The current approved written history of the Negroni goes like this: Count Camilo Negroni, a supposedly flamboyant Italian gentleman who was obsessed with American culture, walked into a bar in Florence one day and ordered an Americano with gin in place of the soda water.… Now that’s a great story. But it’s a little suspect. Normally, when people substitute something in a drink, it’s a one-to-one substitution. We normally swap vodka for gin. Or lime for lemon. Nobody in their right mind would swap gin for soda water. It’s just not natural. But supposedly that’s what Count Negroni came up with, and he inadvertently spawned an entire category of drinks. The Bijou. The Louisiane. The Tipperary.… But then the story gets even stranger.
You probably remember him best for his famous green devil, tempting you with the esoteric delight of evil absinthe*, or the familiar image of the jester pushing the pleasures of Bitter Campari. Called by some the "father of the modern poster", and even the "father of advertising", Italian-born Leonetto Cappiello created over 1,000 memorable posters during his 40-year career in belle-epoque and fin-de-siecle Paris, and a quick look at a collection of his work quickly reminds us how enduring both his images and his basic concepts have been. (more...)