I'm a big fan of the classic Negroni cocktail, and this smoky riff, the Negroni Mezcal, is also high on my list of favorite recipes.
The original drink was invented in Italy and is a boozy twist to the Americano cocktail. Apparently, Count Camilo Negroni ordered this at his favorite bar in Florence. And just like that, a legendary cocktail was born.
In this Mezcal twist, the smoky agave spirit works amazingly well with Campari. In combination with Vermouth, you'll get a beautifully complex drink. So use our recipe to impress your friends and make a perfect Mezcal Negroni.
Ingredients of a Mezcal Negroni
The ingredient list for our Mezcal Negroni recipe is short and sweet. You'll need a quality Mezcal, Sweet Vermouth, and Campari. My favorite Mezcal to use here is Montelobos Mezcal. For the Vermouth, I like Antica Formula best.
Further, you need some fresh ice for chilling the drink while stirring it in a cocktail mixing glass.
The garnish is similar to the regular version. Simply use an orange twist to garnish this delicious cocktail.
Campari is a member of the Amaro family, known for its bittersweet herbal taste. The deep red and complex Campari is certainly one of the more bitter Amari. Sweeter options include Amaro Nonino, Cynar, and Aperol.
In a Negroni, Campari is absolutely essential. It's practically the backbone of the recipe, and I don't recommend replacing it with another Amaro. It's also vital in drinks like the Jungle Bird or the Garibaldi Cocktail.
Vermouth is a fortified wine flavored with a variety of herbs and roots. And after infusing it with those ingredients, liquor is added. That helps to stabilize the wine and let it last longer.
Always store your Vermouth in the fridge once opened to ensure it maintains its quality. Otherwise, it will quickly lose its delicate flavors. In the fridge, it will last up to three months.
As mentioned, I love Carpano Antica Formula in my Negronis. It's a little pricy but worth every penny.
The best Mezcal for a Negroni
Mezcal, like Tequila, is a spirit made of the agave plant. But unlike Tequila, a Mezcal can be made of various agave plants from many regions. If you want to know more, here's an article about the differences between Mezcal and Tequila.
Also, are plenty of Mezcal types. Basically, you can use any type to make a Mezcal Negroni.
Montelobos Espadin is my regular choice as it is budget-friendly, offers great quality, a beautiful smokiness, and is super versatile. But I also have some more recommendations:
Del Maguey VIDA Mezcal
Probably the most popular choice for mixing drinks. While it may lack a bit of complexity when you sip it neat, it's a beautiful choice for a Mezcal Negroni. It also works great in other drinks, like a Mezcal Margarita.
Ilegal Mezcal Joven
Ilegal Mezcal produces some seriously delicious Mezcals. And their Joven expression is perfect for mixing it in a Mezcal Negroni or other Mezcal cocktails. It's a well-rounded spirit with plenty of fruity notes and a slightly smoky touch. If overly smoky Mezcals are not your kind of thing, give this one a try.
Gracias a Dios Espadin Mezcal
For fans of smoky Mezcal, Gracias a Dios Espadin is a perfect choice. Notes of apple, pear, and cinnamon are coming through.
Like in the traditional recipe, a Mezcal Negroni is made using equal parts of each ingredient. One ounce each of Campari, Carpano Antica Formula, and Mezcal is all it requires.
As usual, a drink with only alcoholic ingredients is stirred, not shaken. Therefore, put all three ingredients into a mixing glass with lots of ice and stir until the drink is chilled.
Strain the cocktail into a rocks glass over a large ice cube. Then garnish it with an orange peel or a thin slice of orange.
In Italy, a classic Negroni is a typical aperitivo cocktail. A pre-dinner drink that's supposed to prepare for your food. But a Mezcal Negroni is better served as an after-work drink.
Other Negroni variations
Because the Negroni is so popular, many variations of this drink popped up. Some versions merely replace the base liquor, while others are completely different cocktails.
Another contemporary twist is the Aperol Negroni. It is slightly less bitter than the classic, as Aperol is sweeter than Campari.
Also, there are more drinks closely tied to the Negroni. One of them is the Boulevardier. A classic cocktail with a similar recipe but based on Whiskey - typically Bourbon or Rye.
What makes the Mezcal Negroni special?
The Mezcal Negroni is full of flavor and very complex in taste. Replacing Gin with Mezcal adds even more depth of flavor and brings amazing smoky notes to the drink.
Serving it in a rocks glass over a large chunk of ice and garnished with an orange twist, the Mezcal Negroni is a really sexy drink.
If you have the time, please also rate our recipe below.
- 1 oz Mezcal
- 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
- 1 oz Campari
- 1 Orange zest (for garnish)
- Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with lots of ice.
- Stir until the drink is chilled.
- Then strain it into a rocks glass over a large ice cube.
- Squeeze the orange twist in direction of the glass, and then discard it into the drink.