- In a mixing glass, add gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth.
- Stir rapidly to chill.
- Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice or king cube.
- Express orange peel over the drink by twisting the peel between your fingers, run outside of peel along rim, then drop into glass.
Variations and Substitutions
The negroni has exact measurements, with equal parts of all three ingredients. However, there's still some wiggle room to change things up.
- Add a splash of orange liqueur for a little touch of sweetness and added citrus flavor.
- If you don't want any added sweetness but want a little extra citrus flavor, include a few dashes of orange bitters.
- While you need to stick to gin, otherwise the cocktail changes entirely, you can test out different styles of gin, such as Old Tom, Plymouth, London dry, or genever.
- Play with the proportions but avoid going overboard too much. Use a 2:1:1 ratio, cycling through the ingredients.
An orange peel garnish is the signature negroni garnish, but that doesn't mean you don't have other options.
- Use a lemon peel instead of orange.
- Double the subtle citrus notes and use two citrus peels. Express one orange peel over the drink by twisting the peel between your fingers, then run the colorful outside of the peel, not the inner pith, along the rim, before discarding. Express the second orange peel over the glass and leave this peel in the drink. This can be done with an orange, lemon, or both in combination.
- Try a lemon or orange wheel, wedge, or slice.
- A dehydrated orange or lemon wheel gives an elegant touch.
- Carefully carve a design such as a star or citrus peel coin for a tastefully done over-the-top look.
About the Negroni
The negroni has been kicking around since the early 1900s, first appearing in Florence when a patron requested a stronger cocktail from his usual Americano, a cocktail made up of Campari, sweet vermouth, and club soda. The bartender decided to skip the club soda and add gin instead, creating the negroni. Unlike the Americano, he opted for an orange peel garnish in place of the standard lemon peel.
Named for the patron, Pascal Olivier Count de Negroni, his family would eventually establish the Negroni Distillerie in Italy. The soon-to-be classic cocktail began to catch on in the middle of the century, when a reporter noted that, "The bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other." Whether that statement is true is a good enough reason to give the negroni a try. Especially if you subscribe to the belief that bitter liqueurs can cure a hangover, then it might be worth a shot.
Today, negronis have found a solid footing beyond the cocktail world. Campari sponsors a yearly negroni week, in which bars will participate to raise money for charity. If you weren't sold on a negroni before, at least enjoy it for a good cause.
The Bitter Truth
It might have those solidly bitter notes, but the gin and sweet vermouth complete this iconic cocktail. While the flavors can be an acquired taste, they're worth returning to as palettes change. The negroni has served as the mother drink to countless a dozen other well-known cocktails, including the boulevardier and old pal, making it well worth knowing and loving.