Ok. Earnestly, can you imagine how emotional can it be to interview Gaz Regan, if you love the Negroni? Can you imagine how could it be to have a talk with the man who did so much to spread the love for this iconic cocktail we all love?
As soon as the trip to the Bar Convent Berlin was set up, the first thing to do was to contact Mr. Regan, asking if he could share some of his time with the Negroni lovers reading this website.
It was surprising actually to have the interview booked the day before the beginning of the Bar Convent, at Mr. Regan’s hotel, with plenty of time to ask questions and exchange views about the Negroni and all that’s behind it.
– Mr. Regan, do you think the Negroni is a Repubblican or a Democrat cocktail? I think it may be both: it’s a perfect and rigorous recipe but that can be interpreted in many ways.
It’s definetely democratic, for the liberality it offers to the barmen to play with ingredients.
I love the Negroni for its story, cause when you prepare it, you have a lot to tell to entertain the customers, that’s what we all look for in a cocktail: not just a good taste, but a world behind it. I think that without Campari there can’t be a Negroni, it’s just necessary, it’s the foundation of this preparation, this is the only rule. The other main ingredient must be Gin, I like a little bit more of Gin in my Negroni.
– Do you think we should start to think about the Negroni as a category and not just a cocktail?
I know about your liberal opinion about the variations. I personally see the Negroni as a category, everything with a bitter part, a sweet one and possibly Gin (or any other spirit) can be mixed as a Negroni. I’m also sure that at Count Camillo times, the Gins and the Vermouths varied from time to time. Italian Gins of the period were like Juniper liqueurs, so most surely the Negroni had different tastes.
The Negroni can be surely seen as a category. Every bartenders has its own recipe for a special Negroni, there are hundred of twists, and for me as soon as the bartender had in mind a Negroni when trying to experiment, it’s a Negroni. Among the many different variations, I’m sure we’re going to find some very good cocktails, not everyone maybe. We must keep trying to find new Negroni’s twists. The secret for a good recipe is joy: it’s all about joy, that’s why I started finger stirring it, to make people happy.
– Do you think the Negroni is the only cocktail that can be finger stirred?
Absolutely not. Many years ago when I did it for the first time, it was just a joke, after that I realized the truth: the bartender’s biggest aim is to make the customer laugh. No one ever complained since then and we all ever had a good time. That’s the most important thing. The truth is that the bartender has to fulfill the customer needs, but we don’t need rules. We wouldn’t have the Negroni if Count Camillo followed rules, we would still be drinking just Americanos.
– Mr. Regan, what’s you favourite Negroni Receipe?
I love a Negroni with a London Dry Gin, very Juniper led, and possibily with Noilly Prat and Campari of course. I tend to stick to this ratio: 4 parts of Gin and 1 part of sweet vermouth and 1 part of Campari. A bit strong but that’s how I like it.
Being in Berlin for BCB and had the chance to meet Mr. Gary “Gaz” Regan was has been very interesting, finding him to be so open was really touching: humbleness is what makes a Man great, and Mr. Regan surely is a great Man. Thank you so much for the time, for the laughs, for such an instructive conversation.