Regardless of my love-hate relationship to social media, there is one thing I am very grateful for: the internet’s ability to rekindle old friendships. I have lived across 4 continents in my time and somewhere in-between I have (perhaps consciously) lost count of the number times I have moved, even if only within the same country.
Several years ago however I did get a message over MySpace from someone named Chris who asked if I remembered him. I squinted and studied his profile photo, which depicted him neatly perched on a rock like a mermaid, waves rolling up behind him, donning denim Capri pants with euro-sneakers and dark sunglasses, his one arm resting very “cooly” ontop of his left bent knee. I was utterly confused. I knew a few Chris’ but none of them would pair denim Capri pants with euro-sneakers in a Mermaid-pose by the ocean.
I digress. It happened to be a friend from high school who decided to abandon the east coast of America for the west coast of Italy, after just a short vacation and an instant love for what he experienced (which clearly explains the denim-capri-sneaker combo)
We re-connected online. I always found solace in people who had broke out of the mould, went somewhere unknown, and made it happen. These stories inspire me and make the little voice inside my head whisper “yesssss!”
I summoned up another friend from high school, who was living in Torino with her husband at the time. None of us had seen each other in a good ten years but we agreed to meet in Torino, visit Genoa, and stop over to the Cinque Terre also.
So… here we are in Genova (Genoa), sitting outdoors in a piazza (town square) for aperativo (wonderful o’clock) time. Chris asks if we like Gin. Do I like Gin? I love Gin! I mean, if I could come back in my next life as a beverage, it would be Gin… well, if I like Gin so much, he suggests I try something called a Negroni….
The first Negroni comes… the second Negroni comes… and goes… the night went on, and I am reminded of a quote from the wonderful book On the Road by the famous author Jack Kerouac “then they danced down the street like dingledodies…”
I remember returning home ever so enthusiastically, to my local pubs, asking my local bartenders to make me a negroni. No one seemed to know what it was. Which is precisely the time I began converting unsuspecting friends to become negroni-devotees. From Belgium to the US to Switzerland and beyond, I have kept the Negroni faction alive. Great stories have been born out of Negroni-indulging evenings around the world. Truth be told, ask anyone who knows me well, and they will have such a story to share with you.
If you’re curious, all you need is : sweet vermouth (red vermouth), campari, and a high-quality gin.
Use equal amounts of all 3. Pour it on the rocks. Add a zest of lime or orange. And the rest… well… I’d like to hear about it, quite frankly!
In the sad event that you’re not a gin-enjoyer, you can indulge in the “mistaken” (literally) Negroni, known as Negroni Sbagliato which uses Prosecco in place of Gin!
And if your night does indeed happen to end strangely, then find solace in the (rest of the) quote by Jack Kerouac:
But then they danced down the street like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue center-light pop and everybody goes “Aww!” (Jack Kerouac, On the Road)