The basis for the Negroni Sbagliato is the classic Negroni, one of my all-time favorite cocktails. It is a perfectly balanced, bitter, and dark red mix of Campari, Sweet Vermouth, and Dry Gin. It's an uncomplicated and straightforward recipe.
And, lucky me, this recipe leads to countless delicious riffs. For instance, you can make a White Negroni version of a Negroni, which can do entirely without Campari.
Having said this, the Negroni Sbagliato was an accidental creation. That even shows in the name of the drink. Sbagliato is Italian for "wrong" or "incorrect".
But the result of this error is a dazzling drink, a sparkling take on a classic Italian aperitivo cocktail that is truly unique. And the story behind the Negroni Sbagliato is also quite intresting.
Ingredients of the Negroni Sbagliato
Instead of the Gin, the Negroni Sbagliato calls for some Italian bubbly, changing the list of ingredients to Dry Vermouth, Campari, and Prosecco.
Replacing the Gin with Prosecco leads to a sparkling, lower-ABV version of the classic Negroni.
The Prosecco should be a "spumante" not "frizzante", at least if you prefer your Negroni Sbagliato properly sparkling.
Prosecco "frizzante" is semi-sparkling and will fall flat much quicker than a spumante, especially when mixed with Campari and Vermouth.
Also, the lower sweetness levels of Extra Dry, Brut, or Extra Brut Prosecco are a good match for the Negroni Sbagliato.
History of the Negroni Sbagliato
Perhaps you've already heard the story about how the classic Negroni got invented: A bartender at Caffe Casoni in Florence created a boozy riff on the Americano cocktail for a regular customer, Count Camillo Negroni. Et voilà - a new classic was born.
The red and bittersweet cocktail soon got served all over Italy. And so it happened that the "mistaken" version originates in Milan and not in Florence like the original.
Bar Basso, a renowned cocktail bar in Milan, is credited with inventing the Negroni Sbagliato.
As the legend goes, a busy bartender confused a bottle of Gin with a bottle of Prosecco while making a Negroni and only realized his mistake when it was too late.
The customer, however, didn't complain. He loved what he received, and the mistake of a bartender led to a new classic recipe.
Until today, Bar Basso still serves countless Negroni Sbagliatos on a daily basis. All thanks to a small error.
How to make the Negroni Sbagliato
Sparkling ingredients are delicate. If shaken too strong, mixed too fast, or used too warm, the fizzy bubbles will vanish in an instant. So you should be careful and follow these steps:
First, make sure that all your ingredients are chilled. Vermouth needs to be chilled anyway. But also the Campari and, of course, the Prosecco need to be ice cold.
Second, combine Campari and Sweet Vermouth in a mixing glass with plenty of ice. Then pour into a glass with ice.
Third, pour the Prosecco and give the drink a quick but gentle stir before serving.
- 1 oz Campari
- 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
- 2 oz Dry Prosecco spumante
- Mix Campari and Sweet Vermouth in a mixing glass with plenty of ice and stir until chilled. Then strain into an ice-filled glass.
- Top up with Prosecco and gently stir the drink again.
- Optionally garnish with orange peel or a thin orange slice.