Sipping though history with one of the most important Italian wine and vermout producers.

Welcome back to our Asti series on Vinovoss! In our last installment, we embarked on a journey through the charming vineyards of Asti, Italy, discovering the magic of its terroir and the enchanting world of its wines. Today, we delve deeper into the heart of Asti, exploring the iconic Martini & Rossi in Pessione, where tradition and innovation meet. Join us as we uncover the secrets behind their renowned aperitifs, liquors, and spumanti, while also raising a glass to the captivating history of cocktails and, in particular, the Negroni.

To enjoy the series to the fullest, head over to day 0, here!

Martini Souvenir - Shop in Pessione (Photo: Lotte Gabrovits)

A Glimpse into Martini & Rossi

Imagine stepping into a world of aromatic herbs, bubbling spirits, and a legacy of craftsmanship that spans generations. Martini & Rossi, founded in 1863 by Alessandro Martini and Luigi Rossi, offers precisely this sensory delight. Their story began in Pessione, a picturesque Italian town with a production plant sprawling over 170,000 square meters.

This venerable institution has retained its tradition of master blending, a craft handed down from generation to generation. Today, the eighth-generation Master Blender, Giuseppe 'Beppe' Musso, and Master Herbalist Ivano Tonutti carry the torch of excellence.

Numbers of herbs and ingredients are needed to create what we know as Martini (Photo: Lotte Gabrovits)

The beating heart of Martini & Rossi lies in Santo Stefano Belbo, Pessione, and Montechiaro D'Asti, where their production plants are located. Here, they craft aperitifs, liquors, and spumanti with the utmost dedication and care. With six bottling lines at their disposal, they produce 20,000 bottles per year of the effervescent spumanti only and some further 10,000s of the uniquely shaped ones.

A Journey into Mixology

After a mesmerizing visit to the factory, Martini & Rossi treated us to a comprehensive mixology course. We delved into the history of the Negroni and its intriguing evolution, sipping our way through its delightful Italian predecessors.

A journey into mixology (Photo: Lotte Gabrovits)

The Milano Torino - A Taste of Nostalgia

The journey of Campari cocktails traces back to the Milano Torino, which originated in the 1860s, thanks to Gaspare Campari. The name Milano Torino pays homage to the two essential ingredients, Campari from Milan and Punt e Mes from Turin. This delightful concoction gained popularity in the 1870s, making it an iconic aperitif.

The one and only: Negroni (Photo: Lotte Gabrovits)

The Americano - A Twist of Fate

Around 1919-1920, Camillo Negroni, an adventurous spirit, decided to change the fate of the Americano. Instead of the usual soda water, he boldly swapped it with gin. This bold twist led to the creation of the Americano we know today. A classic aperitif cocktail, the Americano, when lengthened with soda water, transforms into a refreshing long drink. Legends suggest that its name can be attributed to Italian boxer Primo Carnera, who became the heavyweight world champion in the US in 1933. Another tale claims it was named 'Americano' due to its popularity among American tourists during the 1930s.

The Negroni - A Timeless Classic

The birth of the Negroni is shrouded in mystery, with no documented historical account. It is widely believed that Count Camillo Negroni revolutionized the Americano by introducing gin in place of soda water, setting the stage for an enduring classic. The Negroni family eventually founded the Negroni distillery and produced a ready-to-drink version, known as Antico Negroni 1919. This cocktail's allure transcends time and has become a symbol of sophistication and elegance.

Negroni Sbagliato - A Fortuitous Mistake

Our journey through the history of cocktails wouldn't be complete without a taste of the Negroni Sbagliato. The name 'Sbagliato' translates to 'mistaken,' 'false,' or 'wrong' in Italian. According to legend, this delightful mishap occurred when a bartender at Milan's Bar Basso accidentally reached for a bottle of prosecco instead of gin. The result? A delightful twist on the classic Negroni that captured the hearts of cocktail enthusiasts around the world.

As we conclude our adventure into the world of Martini & Rossi and the captivating history of cocktails, we hope you're inspired to embrace tradition while celebrating innovation. Raise your glass to the enduring legacy of the Negroni and the serendipitous moments that led to the creation of delightful variations like the Negroni Sbagliato.

Stay tuned for more from our Asti series, where we'll continue to explore the beauty, culture, and rich heritage of this enchanting Italian region.

Until next time, salute!

Lotte Gabrovits

P.S. Thanks to Enjoy European Quality Food, too, who was the sponsor of the trip.

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