The Life Negroni

Cars, Cocktails and Design fuse in a new book by contributor and friend Nargess Banks

“Historically, I love the Bertone show cars of the 1970s,” notes Adrian van Hooydonk when asked what he feels represents the ultimate Negroni car. “They have edge, and this is what the Negroni has,” says the BMW Group design director.

Elsewhere, the marque’s former design chief, Chris Bangle, dissects the cocktail in the context of cars that evoke what he calls ‘tragic beauty’. The Figoni and Falaschi Talbot-Lagos and Pierce Arrows’ Delahaye 175 S Saoutchik are his choice, “the anti-catalysts that stop time – they freeze you,” writes Bangle.

Cars and cocktails may indeed seem like an unlikely couple, yet The Life Negroni is not quite your standard cocktail book. Written by design writer and contributor to these pages, Nargess Banks, this is a book that connects multiple worlds — spirits and cocktails, bars and mixology, art and design, cars and yachts, movies, politics and poetry.

The Life Negroni is packed full of information and is a visual feast. We learn of the anatomy of the cocktail — the three ingredients (gin, vermouth, bitters) that compose it, the ice and orange, and the design of the glass in which the cocktail is served.

We are transported to Florence of the 1920s, where the cocktail was allegedly invented, and are offered the alternative Corsican tale.

We visit the Campari and Martini & Rossi headquarters with their incredible collections of artwork by the notorious Italian Futurists and learn of how design and branding were utilized at a time when such concepts were in their infancy.

The book takes us on a road trip to the hotels and bars around the world that champion the Negroni and we meet with the custodians of this timeless cult cocktail.

Ultimately, according to the writers, the book is ‘an ode to the sweet life and a celebration of the pleasures of living told through a humble classic cocktail’.

The Life Negroni is written by Leigh and Nargess Banks and published by Spinach Publishing (


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