You may love it or hate it, but you’ll never forget your first Negroni! This cocktail can be a bit polarizing, but for those who love it, it inspires an almost fanatical devotion.
Earthy, bitter, and sweet all at once, its simple proportions – one part each of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth – make it one of the easiest cocktails to mix at home!
The History of the Negroni
Legend has it that the Negroni originated in 1919 at an Italian café when Count Negroni asked for an Americano (Campari, vermouth, and club soda) with gin in place of the club soda. The mix was serendipitous, and a famous cocktail was born.
Since then the Negroni has become incredibly popular. It has such an enthusiastic following in the cocktail world that there is a whole event devoted to it! During Negroni Week you can sip Negronis at local bars and a portion of the proceeds will go to charity.
What Should I Know About Campari?
There is only one brand of Campari, and if you’re going to make this drink you definitely need some.
Campari is a bitter, herbal Italian liqueur. It also has notes of orange and a bit of spicy sweetness. If you’ve ever had Aperol – the star of the Aperol spritz – then you get the idea: They both belong to the family of bitter Italian liqueurs called Amaros, but the bitterness of Campari is a bit more pronounced. Campari gives the Negroni its characteristic bitter edge, and also its bright red color. You can find Campari in the liqueurs section at most larger liquor stores.
What Gin and Vermouth Should I Use?
While you can certainly use a premium gin in a Negroni, it’s not necessary to spend a lot of money. A mid-range gin (I like Boodles or Broker’s) will do fine.
However, it is worth shelling out for a nicer sweet vermouth. Carpano Antica is really the dream, but other high-end vermouths will do as well.
What Glass Should I Use?
I’ve always preferred this drink served up – that is, without ice – in a cocktail glass. But it’s far more common (at bars and on the internet) to see it served in an old fashioned glass, over ice. Try both and see what you like!
What Are the Correct Proportions?
The incredibly simple proportions of the Negroni (just 1: 1: 1) are surely a part of its enduring appeal, but you can make it other ways. I’ve had Negronis made with two parts gin to one part vermouth and Campari, which results in a delicate (albeit gin-heavy) drink. I’ve also seen recipes that favor Campari over the sweet vermouth for a more bitter, bracing cocktail.
As with all cocktails, I encourage you to experiment! Start with the classic recipe, then let your imagination and your inclinations take you from there.
More Gin Cocktails to Enjoy!
- Bee’s Knees Cocktail
- French 75 Cocktail
- Blood Orange French 75 Cocktail
- Aviation Cocktail
- 1 1/2 ounce gin
- 1 1/2 ounce Campari
- 1 1/2 oz sweet (Italian) vermouth
- Orange peel for garnish