Elemental Mixology Cited by Simon Difford & Karen Fick


[This posting should be read with a posting I wrote in 2012, and a posting I wrote in 2013 — also on the Campari Mixte / Camparinete / Negroni subject]

I was pleased to discover that Elemental Mixology was quoted in the Negroni article by Simon Difford and Karen Fick. Thank you, Simon and Karen!

I do want to make clear that I do not consider any of the drinks mentioned to have necessarily ‘come from’ any of the others.

The late-ancient Greek scholar, Diogenes Laertius (or perhaps his now non-extant sources), saw connections in thought between various of the ancient philosophers and presented his book, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, in chronological, tidy, student-pupil relationships. By focusing on personalities and relationships, he seems to have missed much of what was remarkable in the development of philosophical thought — the most important aspect, really.

Likewise, it would be a gross error of over-simplification to say that the Dundorado Cocktail begat the Campari Mixte Cocktail, which begat the Camparinete Cocktail, which begat the Negroni Cocktail.

What is more likely is that people naturally experimented with slightly modifying gin-based cocktails that were sweetened with vermouth wine.

This required virtually no inspiration – vermouth wine was practically the default sweetener in all new true cocktails created after around 1900. The success of the Martini Cocktail had established that specifically gin-based cocktails sweetened with vermouth wine were worth experimenting with.

Furthermore, cinchona bitters (such as Calisaya and Campari) had been getting the attention of bar-tenders and drinkers since the 1890’s.

Such true cocktails as the 1895 Dundorado, the 1929 Campari Mixte, and the 1934 Camparinete (all that might be called ‘the Negroni’ today — or versions of it) would have been obvious drinks to make to any slightly-curious bar-tender. We can’t really be surprised (or even consider it inspired) that multiple similar recipes would show up in exactly the time-frame they did — independently of each other.

“Who invented the Negroni?” ‘Invented’ – don’t make me laugh! Given the understanding of drinks at the time, combined with the availability of the products needed, it was always going to happen, sooner or later, in one place or another. Whoever first mixed a drink that would be called ‘the Negroni’ today probably barely beat out the next guy who made the something very similar not knowing anyone else was doing it. Such a drink was almost surely made by multiple bar-tenders before one of them happened to become more widely known and published.

P.S. – None of this should be interpreted as my saying that Simon Difford and Karen Fick have written a ‘begat’-focused history of these drinks. Their article doesn’t necessarily read that way.

4 thoughts on “Elemental Mixology Cited by Simon Difford & Karen Fick

    1. That’s a good (and humorous) point! I meant to refer to the Campari Mixte Cocktail or Camparinete Cocktail.

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