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.
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.
My first foray into the world of Negroni’s was a bit of a failure. I wasn’t a huge fan of the upfront bitterness and was yet to acquire a taste for Campari in general. Once you come to appreciate the subtle citrusy and spicy flavors in Campari, you’ll enjoy the cocktail that much more.
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.
How to Make a Negroni
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.
Tips & Tricks
- 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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Negroni is a relatively bitter cocktail that may be an acquired taste for some.
I like Bar Hill gin, Plymouth gin, and The Botanist Islay Dry Gin.
I would not recommend dry vermouth as a substitute for sweet vermouth. The drink will be far too dry for the palate
Enjoy this cocktail? Leave a 5-star review and tell me more about your favorite Negroni in the comments!Print
The Negroni cocktail is a classic cocktail originating in Florence, Italy. Made with equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari.
- 1 ounce London dry gin (I like Bar Hill Gin, Plymouth Gin, and The Botanist Islay Dry Gin)
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- 1 ounce Campari
- orange peel garnish
- 2 dashes orange bitters (not classic but optional)
- 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.
For a bourbon twist try the Boulevardier. Can also be made with mezcal for a Mezcal Negroni using the same ratios.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 188
- Sugar: 0.5g
- Sodium: 17mg
- Fat: 0g
- Saturated Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 9.4g
- Fiber: 0g
- Protein: 0g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: negroni recipe, negroni cocktail