Syrupy sweet and a little herbaceous, the Negroni is a deceptively simple cocktail bursting with complex flavor notes.
Sometimes you just want to try something a little different. And the origin of the Negroni is a testament to the power of that curiosity, believed to have come from a count by the name of Camillo Negroni. While visiting a bar in Italy, he grew tired of Americanos with soda water and asked the bartender to swap in gin. When the bartender added an orange slice, the rest — as they say! — is history. Many drinkers soon fell in love with this spin and the cocktail was eventually named after him.
In fact, the Negroni is so popular, there’s a celebration called Negroni Week during which bars and restaurants around the world add their own spin to the Negroni cocktail, then donating the proceeds to charity.
The Negroni has a flavor almost like licorice root, deliciously sweet with the subtle herbal kick. The added orange keeps the drink from being overpoweringly sugary. Fans of the Last Word Cocktail will find a lot to love in the Negroni.
Stirring is Incredibly Important
The Negroni may seem simple on the surface, but it requires a specific stirring technique to create a velvety smooth texture. Slowly stirring with ice will remove any lingering bubbles to create a drink that’s as smooth as it is tasty. While you may be tempted to skip this step or try shaking, follow our recipe closely for the most classic result.
What is the best Gin to Use in a Negroni?
When you want to recreate the most traditional Negroni possible, reach for a London dry gin. The hints of juniper pair nicely with the drink’s herbal taste.
If you want a smooth and balanced result, consider using a Plymouth gin. You’ll get slight citrus notes with a spiced finish. This is a fantastic option if you like your Negroni a little less sweet.
- 1 ounce of Campari
- 1 ounce of gin
- 1 ounce of sweet vermouth
- 1 slice of orange for garnish
- Add the gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth to an old-fashioned glass.
- Fill the glass with ice cubes, ensuring that the volume of ice reaches almost to the top of the glass.
- Stir the mixture together for about 30 seconds.
- Garnish with the orange slice and serve immediately.
Tips and Tricks to Make a Perfect Negroni Recipe
- Skip crushed ice and serve on the rocks. While I’m a fan of slushy drinks as much as the next person, the Negroni demands a simple approach. I recommend using a one or two extra-cold large ice cubes.
- Don’t forget the garnish. An orange slice adds just the right amount of tart sweetness (and tastes delicious once it’s soaked up a little of the alcohol).
- Try pairing with a salty snack. Since the Negroni is pretty strong, a salted snack can help the drink go down a little smoother. I usually go for salted popcorn or a few salted nuts.
- Don’t add ice and garnish if you are preparing for a party. You don’t want the ice to melt and dilute the drink, save the ice and garnish for last.
- You can also experiment with the sweet vermouth and Campari ratio. While I recommend following the recipe closely the first time, experiment the second time to see what you like. More Campari will make your drink more bitter, more sweet vermouth will add sweetness and spiced notes.
Negroni Recipe Variations
Boulevardier: This variation is a little more rich and spicy, it swaps out the gin in favor of rye whiskey. Perfect if you want to explore a different side to the Negroni.
Old Pal: It is a little drier and more sour than the Negroni, which could just be what you’re looking for!
The Dear Jane: This floral twist uses elderflower liqueur and swaps out the orange in favor of lemon. It is softer and has a refreshing finish making it the perfect drink for springtime.
Virgin Negroni (or Negroni Mocktail): Replace the gin with white grape juice, blood orange bitters and a non alcoholic gin.