The Negroni is a classic Italian cocktail made with just three ingredients in equal parts: gin, sweet vermouth and Campari!
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When I think of a Negroni I think of sipping one on a rooftop bar in Florence, watching the sun set over the Ponte Vecchio. I highly recommend it.
But you can make this classic cocktail right in your own home, there's no need to wait for a trip to Italy to make it happen. It's also a great batch cocktail for parties, with just three ingredients that can be mixed and chilled ahead of time.
What is a Negroni?
The Negroni is a cocktail that was invented in Florence, Italy, in 1919. As the story goes, Count Camillo Negroni asked a bartender to make his Americano cocktail stronger, so gin replaced the club soda and an orange slice replaced the lemon garnish and there you have it.
Whether or not he was really a Count is questionable, but he gave us a great drink, so I'll let it slide.
Ingredients you'll need
The Negroni recipe is quite simple and one of the many reasons it's so popular. It's made of equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari. Use a good gin and a good vermouth since there are no mixers to cover the taste of a cheap liquor!
- Gin: I like to use a slightly floral gin such as Hendrick's. It complements the aroma from the orange twist and balances the bitterness of the Campari.
- Sweet vermouth: I love Dolin vermouth, Noilly-Prat is also a good choice.
- Campari: You can't have a Negroni without Campari. No discussion.
How to make a Negroni
Step 1: Make the orange peel garnish
Use a vegetable peeler to cut wide twists of orange peel. Be sure you're just getting the orange part of the peel and not the bitter white pith underneath.
Step 2: Mix and chill
In a cocktail shaker, pour equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari over ice and stir until well-chilled.
Step 3: Strain, garnish, serve!
Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with the orange peel and serve.
No! The Campari is a must. The unique bitterness and brightness it brings is what makes the drink a Negroni. If you want to experiment with the recipe, try different vermouths or gins instead.
Traditionally, a Negroni is stirred and served on the rocks. But if you prefer to shake it and serve it up in a coupe glass, go for it! It's your house.
When to drink a Negroni
A Negroni is an aperitivo or apértif cocktail, which means it's best before a meal. The bitterness wakes up your salivary glands and gets your taste buds excited for dinner.
- Serve during cocktail hour before a dinner party.
- Pre-mix a batch of Negronis and greet your guests as they arrive for holiday celebrations.
- Drink during aperitivo hour, which loosely translates to what Italians would call happy hour. It's a time to relax at the end of the day and have a drink with a nibble before dinner.
What should you serve with a Negroni?
Serve a Negroni with light appetizers that go well with cocktails.
- Radishes with Radish Leaf Butter are a great choice, the bitterness of the Negroni will cut through the richness of the butter.
- What goes better with cocktails than mixed nuts? For a flavorful twist on the idea, try these Oven Roasted Nuts with Rosemary, Sage, and Crispy Garlic.
- Bacon makes everything better, so try these Gluten Free Cornmeal Madeleines with Bacon, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Basil. They're the perfect bite!
Negroni recipe variations
- A Blood Orange Negroni puts a spin on the classic by adding blood orange juice.
- Make a Mezcal Negroni by swapping the gin for smoky mexcal. One of my favorites!
More cocktails made with Campari
- If you like a Negroni, why not try a Boulevardier Cocktail? Same formula, but swaps out the gin for bourbon.
- A Campari and Soda is a light and refreshing cocktail perfect for serving as an aperitivo.
- A Milano Torino is almost a Negroni, it's just Campari and sweet vermouth.
- 1 oz gin
- 1 oz sweet vermouth
- 1 oz Campari
- Use a vegetable peeler to cut wide twists of orange peel. Be sure you're just getting the orange part of the peel and not the bitter white pith underneath.
- In a cocktail shaker, pour the gin, sweet vermouth and Campari over ice and stir until well-chilled.
- Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with the orange peel and serve.
- Traditionally, a Negroni is stirred and served on the rocks. But if you prefer to shake it and serve it up in a coupe glass, go for it! It's your house.
- Use a good gin and a good vermouth since there are no mixers to cover the taste of a cheap liquor!
- Be sure to read the post above for FAQs, best liquor brands to use, and tips on which cocktail snacks to serve with Negronis!