The Italian Count Camillo Negroni appears midway through the story of the drink bearing his name. Predating him is the Milano-Torino, a mix of bitter, barky Campari and sweet vermouth. Americans visiting Italy preferred their aperitifs with soda water, so the Milano-Torino with soda became known as the Americano. Enter the Count. Around 1920, at his favorite Florentine bar, Negroni asked for something stronger, so the soda water was replaced with gin. Today the Negroni is a mixologist's favorite play thing. The Contessa, for instance, replaces Campari with lighter, orangey Aperol and sweet vermouth with dry. It is just one example of the evolution of the Negroni, a history of substitutions, accidents, and bold strokes.