How To Make A Negroni

The Negroni is a world-famous Italian aperitivo created in Florence, Italy in 1919. The cocktail traditionally mixes gin, sweet vermouth, and the iconic Italian red bitter Campari, though the use of other bitters is a source of debate. As the story goes, the drink was invented after Count Camillo Negroni requested an Americano with more kick while imbibing at the city’s Caffe Giacosa. The resulting cocktail, which included gin, was named in honor of the Count. The Negroni is often served before a meal in order to stimulate the appetite, but is versatile enough to be enjoyed at any time.

Negroni Ingredients

  • 1 ½ oz Gin
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth

Negroni Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in mixing glass with ice.
  2. Stir.
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass or over ice in a rocks glass.
  4. Garnish with an orange twist and enjoy.

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Yield: 1 Cocktail
Updated: 2020-08-20


Negroni Basics

Without question, the Negroni ranks among the world’s most-loved classic cocktails. Its simple recipe traditionally mixes equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and the iconic Italian red bitter liqueur Campari, though modern variations abound. While its composition is simple, the end result is stunningly complex: Campari provides a bitter backbone which is perfectly balanced by the sweet kiss of vermouth. Last but not least, gin cuts through these ingredients, adding a further layer of nuance and the boozy kick that’s said to have inspired the drink’s creation. While the Negroni is often served before a meal in order to stimulate the appetite, it’s versatile enough to be enjoyed at any time of the day and in any season.

The History of the Negroni

Like many classic cocktails, the Negroni’s origins are somewhat anecdotal, but it’s a tale as good as any. According to the most popular version of the tale, the drink was invented after Count Camillo Negroni requested an Americano with more kick while imbibing at Florence’s Caffe Giacosa in 1919. The resulting cocktail, created by bartender Fosco Scarselli, contained gin instead of soda and was named in honor of the Count. Over time, multiple individuals have contested this story and even claimed ownership of the drink’s invention. Given the fact the earliest printed recipes for the cocktail didn’t appear until the 1950s, we will likely never be sure of who invented it. But there’s one thing that can never be contested: The Negroni has firmly withstood the test of time and is almost certainly more popular now than it’s ever been.

How to Make a Negroni

With just three simple ingredients, it’s easy to rush the Negroni’s preparation. But bartenders say this is a mistake, and that mixing up a quality Negroni requires the same attention to detail as other classics such as the Martini or Old Fashioned. Those looking to perfect the drink should start by measuring out the ingredients. This sounds simple — and it is — but using a jigger is imperative to balancing the Negroni’s complex profile. By understanding what the equal parts version tastes like, you can then tweak the ratios to suit your own preference. Finally, always stir your Negroni and if you wish to serve it on the rocks, make sure you have a large, hand cut cube on hand.

The Best Ingredients for the Negroni

While each of the three ingredients has a profound impact on the drink, none defines the Negroni quite like Campari. And most traditionalists swear it’s the only brand of red bitter liqueur that should be used in this cocktail. But there are a few worthy alternatives for those looking to switch things up. When considering which gin or vermouth to use, the answer ultimately depends on the direction you want to take the cocktail. Any experimentation should start with classic brands, such as Beefeater and Bombay Sapphire (gin), and Martini & Rossi and Carpano Antica Formula (vermouth).

Negroni Variations To Try:

  • The Vine-Groni - Big fan of a Dirty Martini? Drink this next. Cucumber-infused gin, rice vinegar, and salt solution contribute to the drink’s briny, savory profile. Green olive and Persian cucumber provide a tasty garnish.
  • The Calvados Negroni - This festive riff swaps gin for Calvados — a versatile French, food-friendly brandy made from apples and pears. While apple aromatics are reminiscent of fall, this cocktail is in season all year long.
  • The Rosemary-Smoked Negroni - With the additional aromatics of smoke and rosemary, this Negroni provides the perfect excuse to set your garnish alight. (Just don’t get carried away playing with flames!)
  • The Pineapple Negroni - In this recipe, the Negroni takes a tropical turn. A splash of pineapple juice adds a touch of sweetness, perfect for those who shy away from a more bitter flavor profile.