Most likely, the Negroni recipe originated at Caffè Casoni in Florence, Italy, in 1919. A bartender working at Bar Casoni created this iconic drink in an attempt to mix a stronger version of an Americano Cocktail. The cocktail was named after the patron who ordered this boozier version - Count Camillo Negroni.
Quick facts Negroni Cocktail
- Method: stirred with ice for 25 - 30 seconds or 50 turns
- Flavor profile: bitter, sweet, boozy, fruity, herbal
- How to serve it: over a large ice cube
- Glassware: Old Fashioned glass
- Alcohol content: ~ 24% ABV, 19.3 grams per serving
The result is a strong cocktail (24% ABV) that tastes refreshingly bitter and has a rich and complex flavor profile. A drink that's celebrated for a whole week each year - the Negroni week. In contrast to the herbal and botanical flavors in the drink, the essential oils from fresh orange peel add a nice touch.
- 1 Mixing glass
- 1 Jigger
- 1 Bar spoon
- 1 oz Campari
- 1 oz Dry Gin
- 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
- 1 Orange peel - (garnish)
- Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with plenty of ice.1 oz Campari, 1 oz Dry Gin, 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
- Stir for 25 - 30 seconds or 50 turns.
- Strain over large ice cube into a Rocks or Old Fashioned glass.
- Express orange peel with the peel facing the drink to release essential oils into the drink. Rub the peel around the rim and the discard it into the drink.1 Orange peel
History of the Negroni Cocktail
The history of the Negroni cocktail began in Florence, Italy. According to legend, Count Camilo Negroni ordered a stronger version of his favorite drink, the Americano cocktail. Bartender Fosco Scarselli did as instructed and replaced soda water with gin. Scarselli named the drink after Count Negroni to commemorate who gave him the idea.
Over the years, this story has often been doubted. Some have even tried to take credit for this invention themselves. But none of these attempts was well enough proven to finally debunk the Count Negroni tale.
And since the Negroni cocktail was first mentioned in Horace Sutton's book Footloose in Italy in 1950, it is highly unlikely that we will ever be able to say for sure what the origins of this Italian classic were.
The Best Ingredients for a Negroni
The standard Negroni recipe consists of three ingredients. Here's a quick guide on what to look for and which products you need:
- Dry Gin - you can't go wrong with classics like, for instance, Tanqueray or Beefeater. But then, gin is the obvious ingredient to experiment with in this recipe. You can test which type of gin suits you best or check out our overview of the best gin options for making a Negroni.
- Sweet Vermouth - A rich and flavorful Vermouth is essential in this cocktail recipe. My all-time favorite is Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth, but there are plenty of worthy alternatives.
- Campari - This dark red and distinctively bitter Amaro is the most stable ingredient in the recipe. It not only lends the drink its iconic color but also its distinct bitter taste. Still, other options also work well, like Cappelletti.
An orange peel twist is the default garnish and adds a subtle citrusy touch to the drink. In addition, some bartenders also use orange bitters to enhance the flavors in the cocktail.
If you don't have an orange at hand, just leave the drink like it is. Other citrus fruits don't work as well with the flavors of a Negroni. Diffords even names the addition of a lemon peel a "heinous crime." -We couldn't agree more.
How to make a perfect Negroni cocktail
The Negroni cocktail recipe is a perfect example of stirred cocktails. Making it is pretty straightforward. -Particularly because the recipe requires equal parts Gin, red Vermouth, and Campari.
- Step 1: Combine Gin, Campari, and Vermouth in a mixing glass filled with plenty of ice cubes. Stir the cocktail for 30 to 45 seconds or until the drink is well-chilled.
- Step 2: Strain over ice into an Old Fashioned or Rocks glass.
- Step 3: Express an orange peel over the drink to release essential oils in the peel. Rub the peel along the rim and discard it into the glass.
Choosing the ideal glassware for a Negroni cocktail is a task in itself. It should be elegant, classy, and not too large. I like to serve it in either a Singel Old Fashioned glass or a Double Old Fashioned glass. This depends on the measurements I use for making the drink.
A modern phenomenon is that bartenders are increasingly using more gin in Negronis. Often they increase the gin content to 1.25 or 1.5 ounces and stick to 1 ounce for each Campari and Italian vermouth. Sometimes, however, they adjust the measurements for all three ingredients.
This is often explained by evolved palates. Increasing the gin content better keeps the dominant bittersweet taste of Campari in check. The flavor profile is more rounded and somewhat modern.
However, these nuances are only relevant for Negroni connoisseurs. If you have never tried a Negroni, start with the simple equal parts recipe. Then you can vary the amounts and ingredients to find your preferred recipe.
Variations of the classic Negroni recipe
The easy template of this classic Italian cocktail makes it an ideal drink for experimenting. Some of these variations swap the base spirit, others add additional elements, and others again use an entirely new set of ingredients.
Here are some of the most popular Negroni riffs:
- The White Negroni cocktail is one of the most popular and creative riffs. This white variation is also bittersweet in taste but with more pronounced floral flavors like gentian. It consists of Dry Vermouth, Suze, and Lillet Blanc.
- Mezcal Negroni - This is among our favorite variations and brings in lots of smoky notes from Mezcal, the Mexican agave spirit.
- Aperol Negroni - Replacing Campari with Aperol will make for a sweeter and less bitter Negroni.
- Negroni Sbagliato - This trending recipe was once a mistake. The "faulty" ( sbagliato means wrong ) Negroni is made with Prosecco instead of Gin.
- The Boulevardier cocktail is the whiskey version of the Negroni cocktail. The drink's inventor, Harry MacElhone, substituted bourbon for gin and increased the measurements of the base spirit to 1.5 ounces while leaving Campari and sweet vermouth at 1 ounce.
More Negroni riffs: