The Negroni is the happy result of one of the most dreaded requests bartenders can hear: make my drink stronger.
History of the Negroni
In 1919 Florentine Count Camillo Negroni asked the soda water in his Americano be replaced with gin. The cocktail quickly grew fashionable, and somewhere through the years came to be referred to as simply a “Negroni.” Evidently he enjoyed the cocktail enough to found the Negroni Distillerie shortly thereafter, which produced pre-made versions of his namesake cocktail.
Negroni Tasting Notes
The Negroni is dry, crisp bitterness softly balanced with red fruity sweetness. Is red a flavor?
1 ounce Campari: An Italian liqueur sold as an aperitif.
1 ounce sweet vermouth: An aromatic fortified wine. Martini & Rossi is still the standard!
1 ounce gin: Preferably a dry gin like Broker’s, which we use here.
orange slice: as a garnish
Fill a mixing glass with ice
Pour 1 ounce Campari
Pour 1 ounce gin
Pour 1 ounce sweet vermouth
Stir gently—enough to mix and chill the ingredients without overly diluting the cocktail
Strain into a rocks or Old Fashioned glass filled with ice.
Variations on the Negroni are numerous, with creative bartenders adding their own exciting spin on the classic cocktail.
Replace gin with whiskey for a Boulevardier.
Omit gin and fill with club soda for a less boozy Americano, the cocktail from which the Negroni was reportedly derived.
A White Negroni is made with Suze, with Lillet Blanc replacing the bright red Campari.
Instead of Campari, try using Jägermeister for a sweeter licorice flavor.
As with all relatively simple recipes, thankfully substitutions for the Negroni abound!
Aperol, Lillet, Cappelletti, or any dry aperitif may be substituted for Aperol. If you’re not sure, look for a bottle full of reddish-orange liqueur with “aperitivo” on the label and you’ll probably be okay.
Try port or sweet madeira instead of sweet vermouth.
Substitute the orange slice with orange peel.
When to Serve
The Negroni is versatile enough to enjoy on any occasion.
Wedding receptions: Simplicity with a hint of sophistication elevates an already special day. .
Before a meal: The main ingredient Campari is an aperitif, which helps stimulate the appetite.
Anything outdoors: Cookouts, picnics, boating, golf outings, or simply relaxing on the porch.
Hosting parties: The Negroni is appropriate for both casual and formal parties.
What to Serve with Negronis
The Negroni offers a pleasant contrast to rich, savory dishes or provides a bright complement to lighter, more acidic foods. A few suggested pairings are listed below.
Salty snacks, like charcuterie, antipasti, and cheese
Fruits, especially acidic fruit like citrus, though this dry cocktail can help bring out the flavor of sweeter fruits as well.