Negroni Cocktail Recipe

5 from 1 vote
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Born in Italy in the early 20th century, the Negroni has become a favorite among cocktail enthusiasts around the world. With its nice balance of bitter, sweet, and herbal flavors, the Negroni stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of a well-crafted drink.

A classic Negroni cocktail garnished with a orange peel.

Brief History

The story of the Negroni dates back to the 1910s in Florence, Italy. Legend has it that Count Camillo Negroni, a frequent patron of Caffè Casoni, requested the bartender to strengthen his favorite cocktail, the Americano, by replacing the soda water with gin. The addition of gin gave birth to what we now know as the Negroni.

Once you come to appreciate the subtle citrusy and spicy flavors in Campari, you’ll enjoy the cocktail that much more.

Ingredients

The classic Negroni is made with equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth.

  • Gin: the base spirit that provides a strong botanical backbone. Look for London dry gin for the best results.
  • Campari: a bitter Italian liqueur that adds depth and complexity.
  • Sweet vermouth: a fortified wine, aromatized with a range of botanicals that lends a touch of richness and sweetness, rounding out the drink. I like Dolan and Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth.
  • Optional orange bitters: my favorite subtle cheat/twist is to add orange bitters to the cocktail, lending orange notes that really heighten the aroma and drinking experience.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities below.

Serving and Variations

Traditionally, the Negroni is served on the rocks in an old-fashioned glass, garnished with a twist of orange peel. The citrus oils released from the twist create a bold citrus aroma that enhances the entire drinking experience. If you’ve ever sipped an Old Fashioned without citrus you understand how transformative the oils really are.

Some bartenders have experimented with different spirits in place of gin, such as bourbon or mezcal. The Boulevardier is a popular French classic that is essentially a bourbon Negroni served up with a twist of orange. The mezcal Negroni is a one-for-one remake of the Negroni made with mezcal in place of gin.

How to Make a Negroni

Step 1.

In a mixing glass, combine gin, Campari, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Add a cup of ice and stir vigorously about a dozen times.

Step 2.

Strain into a double old-fashioned glass over fresh ice.

Step 3.

Squeeze orange peel over the glass to extract oils (you’ll see the oils float on the surface of the drink if done properly), wipe the rim of the glass with the peel, and add to the glass.

Expert Tips

  • Chill your glasses ahead of time in the freezer to keep your drinks cooler for longer. This is one of my favorite tricks in the summer.
  • Always pour cocktails over fresh ice after mixing. This ensures your ice cubes are fresh and won’t melt as quickly, diluting your cocktail.
  • The Negroni should always be stirred and never shaken.
A classic Negroni cocktail garnished with a orange peel.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Negroni really bitter?

The Negroni is a relatively bitter cocktail that may be an acquired taste for some.

What gin do you recommend?

I like Bar Hill gin, Plymouth gin, and The Botanist Islay Dry Gin.

Can I use dry vermouth?

I would not recommend dry vermouth as a substitute for sweet vermouth. The drink will be far too dry for the palate

Similar Classic Cocktails

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5 from 1 vote

Negroni Cocktail Recipe

Servings: 1 cocktail
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
The Negroni cocktail is a classic cocktail originating in Florence, Italy. Made with equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari.

Ingredients 

  • 1 ounce London dry gin, I like Bar Hill Gin, Plymouth Gin, and The Botanist Islay Dry Gin
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth, Dolin, Noily Pratt, Carpano Antica
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • orange peel garnish
  • 2 dashes orange bitters, not classic but optional

Instructions 

  • In a mixing glass, combine gin, Campari, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Add a cup of ice and stir vigorously about a dozen times.
  • Strain into a double old-fashioned glass over fresh ice.
  • Squeeze orange peel over the glass to extract oils (you'll see the oils float on the surface of the drink if done properly), wipe the rim of the glass with the peel and add to the glass.

Notes

For a bourbon twist try the Boulevardier. Can also be made with mezcal for a Mezcal Negroni using the same ratios.
Chill your glasses ahead of time in the freezer to keep your drinks cooler for longer. This is one of my favorite tricks in the summer.
Always pour cocktails over fresh ice after mixing (preferably a giant ice cube). This ensures your ice cubes are fresh and won’t melt as quickly, diluting your cocktail.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 188kcalCarbohydrates: 9.4gSodium: 17mgSugar: 0.5g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Cocktail
Cuisine: Italian
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About Shawn Williams

My name is Shawn, author behind Kitchen Swagger. I'm a food & drink enthusiast bringing you my own simple and delicious restaurant-inspired recipes.

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