There may not be an easier cocktail in the world to make than a negroni.
Unfortunately, depending on your tastes this may also be the most polarizing cocktail in the world.
It’s strong, bitter, and despite it’s pinkish-hue, is certainly not a drink for the weak.
But for those who enjoy it, there aren’t many better cocktails in the world.
For me, it’s one of the rare classic cocktails that I can order at a questionable establishment, and still get something that tastes good. Good luck trying that with an old fashioned.
Negroni History: Where Did the Negroni Come From?
As the legend goes, the negroni turned 100 in 2019.
In 1919 Count Camillio Negroni was at his local spot, Caffe Casoni in Florence, and was looking for a way to make his Americano stronger. He asked the bartender to sub out the club soda with gin – and thus, the negroni was born.
Beautiful and elegant in its simplicity, it’s also one of the easiest cocktails to riff off of and use the simple 1:1:1 ingredient ratio to create something totally different.
Negroni Ingredients: What’s in a Negroni?
The negroni recipe is about as simple as it gets when it comes to cocktail.
A negroni consists of equal parts:
- Sweet Vermouth
Now here’s the deal with negroni ingredients. Because there are only three ingredients, you generally want to use high quality spirits for this drink. There’s no sweetner, there’s nothing to mask crappy booze.
So if you decide to make a negroni, don’t cheap out too much.
Best Gin for a Negroni Cocktail
With that said, for the average person? I don’t believe you’re going to notice a huge difference if you’re deciding between say Aviation or Plymouth gins.
Tanqueray or Bombay Sapphire.
Sure, subtle hints for sure, but the bitter Campari flavor is pretty overpowering, so unless you truly have the palate of a sommelier (what do you call a sommelier for booze?)
What ever mid to top shelf gin you have in your arsenal should do just fine. But preferably a London Dry Gin that has some solid juniper flavor.
But I personally usually go for Ford’s Gin.
Best Vermouth for a Negroni Cocktail
There are thousands of variations of a negroni recipe, and ones using literally every type of vermouth imaginable.
But if you’re trying to stick to the classic, you’ll want a high quality sweet vermouth.
I’ve had many negronis at many of the best bars in the world, and 80% of the time they use Carpano Antica Formula.
It ain’t cheap, but if you want what I believe to be the best vermouth for a classic negroni, I’d go with that.
That said, as long as you build the drink properly, does that mean a negroni with something not quite as fancy like Dolin or Martini Rossi won’t work? Absolutely not. Use what you have, and try both to see if you can tell a difference.
And again, the best part about a negroni is how easy it is to tweak. So have something else you want to try in place of standard sweet vermouth? Give it a shot! It’ll probably work.
And I personally, use Carpano Antica Formula most of the time.
Best Red Bitter Liqueur for a Negroni
Campari. Just use Campari.
Simple as that.
Unless you’re trying to go rogue, then you can create any number of great drinks using different amaros.
But for a straight up, classic negroni recipe – it’s gotta be Campari.
Best Negroni Recipe: How to Make a Negroni
The astute reader has probably already figured out by now, how to make a negroni.
It’s incredibly simple.
But if you haven’t yet?
Then let’s jump into it!
Get a mixing glass (not a shaker!), and add 1oz each of London Dry Gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth.
Stir until chilled.
Strain into either a rocks glass over a big cube, or serve up in a coupe.
If you’re feeling fancy express an orange peel over the top and drop it in.
You might be asking, why not shake it?
There’s a couple reasons for this.
Most importantly, with three equal ingredients, they all play off each other in a careful balance. So by shaking it you’re making it too cold, too diluted, and throwing off the balance of the drink.
Check out the book Liquid Intelligence if you want to learn more about the science behind shaking vs. stirring.
How to Serve a Negroni: What Glass Should You Use?
In keeping with the theme of the easiest and most versatile cocktail in the world to make, how you serve a negroni is just as versatile.
You can truly serve this drink however you want.
The two most common ways are in an old fashioned glass over a big rock, or for those who prefer, you can serve it up in a coupe glass.
There You Have It, The Negroni Cocktail
So there you go, the negroni.
That’s it. Easy right?
Well just because it’s easy, that doesn’t mean you’re going to like it. But if you’re struggling then maybe go opposite of Count Negroni’s wishes and try and Americano.
Simply remove the gin, and add soda water over an ounce of Campari and an ounce of sweet vermouth into a Collins glass.
Looking to taste some of the world’s best variations on a negroni? Head to Caffe Dante next time you find yourself in New York City.
Like Negronis and Want to Try Something Else?
We got you covered. Try:
- Pineapple Negroni – Another great use for Plantation Pineapple Rum (one of my all time favorite spirits)
- Boulevardier Cocktail – Switch out the gin for bourbon and you have a boulevardier. We tweaked our favorite even a little bit more.
- Artsy Bird – A Rum Negroni – This is a super funky take on a negroni that is perfect if you want a dark, complex drink after dinner.
- Union Club Cocktail – Described as a “brighter boulevardier,” this is a great intro to Campari for people who are on the fence.
- Mixing Glass
- Hawthorne Strainer
- Coupe Glass
- 1 oz London Dry Gin I prefer Ford's Gin
- 1 oz Campari
- 1 oz Sweet Vermouth I prefer Carpano Antica Formula
- Combine all ingredients into mixing glass
- Add ice and stir until chilled
- Strain into coupe glass or rocks glass
- OPTIONAL: Express orange peel over drink and drop peel in glass