A Guide to Making the Perfect Negroni

Best Negroni Cocktail Recipe

What is a Negroni Cocktail?

The Negroni is a classic cocktail that originates from Italy around 1920.

Italian bartender Gaspare Campari created Campari, a bitter red liqueur, in 1860. Shortly after, he mixed his bitter liqueur with sweet vermouth and named it the ‚ÄúMilano-Torino‚ÄĚ, paying homage to the Italian ingredient‚Äôs origins (Campari from Milan and vermouth from Turin).

  • Milano-Torino = Campari + sweet vermouth

Gaspare’s bar started adding carbonated water to the Milano-Torino. It became popular with American expats during the 1920s, therefore it was named the Americano.

  • Americano = Campari + sweet vermouth + carbonated water

Years later an Italian count named Camillo Negroni ordered a gin-fortified Americano at Cafe Casoni in Florence. It became his regular drink.

  • Negroni = Campari + sweet vermouth + gin

The Ultimate Negroni Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide

The team at punchdrink.com asked 10 of America’s best bartenders to submit their best Negroni recipe, then blind tasted them all. They discovered the ultimate Negroni recipe.

Here are the top 3 recipes that were submitted.

Perfect Negroni Recipe

Negroni #1 - submitted by Anthony Schmidt | San Diego

Negroni recipe #1 is more gin-forward and calls for a great vermouth. A higher ratio of gin with a slightly higher than average abv (42%). It is also set apart from the others with expressed lemon oils.

  • 30 ml London dry gin
  • 22.5 ml Campari
  • 22.5 ml Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
Method
  1. In a mixing glass, add all the ingredients
  2. Add ice and stir
  3. Strain over fresh ice (preferably a large cube) into an old fashioned glass
  4. Express lemon oils over the top of the drink
  5. Garnish with a slice of orange

 

Negroni #2 - submitted by Jeffrey Morgenthaler | Portland, Oregon

Negroni recipe #2 is a traditional Negroni made with equal parts and features Cinzano Rosso vermouth (an inexpensive sweet vermouth that has been produced for hundreds of years).

  • 30 ml London dry gin
  • 30 ml Campari
  • 30 ml Cinzano Rosso vermouth

Method

  1. In a mixing glass, add all the ingredients
  2. Add ice and stir
  3. Strain over fresh ice into an old fashioned glass
  4. Garnish with a twist of orange


Negroni #3 - submitted by Naren Young | New York City

Negroni recipe #3 is similar to #1 with a higher ratio of gin, just with a different choice of sweet vermouth. It does lack the lemon oils expressed atop the drink.

  • 30 ml London dry gin
  • 22.5 ml Campari
  • 22.5 ml Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth

Method

  1. In a mixing glass, add all the ingredients
  2. Add ice and stir
  3. Strain over fresh ice (preferably a large cube) into an old fashioned glass
  4. Garnish with an orange wedge

How to Make the Perfect Negroni at Home

Although these 3 Negroni recipes are remarkably similar, there are a number of key takeaways that you can learn from. Using a combination of these takeaways will enable you to find your own perfect Negroni recipe.

Negroni Cocktail Recipe

  1. Increase the ratio of gin if you prefer a bolder flavour with less bitterness.
  2. Select a gin with a slightly higher ABV (around 42%) which will further highlight the gin and its featured botanicals.
  3. A classic Negroni uses a London dry gin which typically heroes juniper and citrus but try playing around with your favourite gins.
  4. Campari is a non-negotiable for a classic Negroni but there are locally made alternatives out there.
  5. Pick a great quality sweet vermouth. Cocchi di Torino is an excellent choice although the inexpensive alternatives, such as Cinzano and Martini & Rossi, also make fine choices.
  6. Try expressing lemon oils atop the drink for more aromatics.

Traditionally a London dry gin is used for a classic Negroni but I personally love using our Blood Orange Gin. It features Mediterranean botanicals (which give a nod to the drink’s Italian heritage) and strong citrus notes that complement the other ingredients.

The Most Famous Negroni Variations

Negroni Sbagliato (with prosecco)

  • 30 ml Campari
  • 30 ml sweet vermouth
  • Top with prosecco
  • Garnish = orange peel

White Negroni (with gentian liqueur)

  • 45 ml gin
  • 30 ml Lillet Blanc
  • 22.5 ml Suze
  • Garnish = lemon peel

Americano (with soda and no gin)

  • 45 ml Campari
  • 45 ml sweet vermouth
  • Top with soda water
  • Garnish = orange slice

Boulevardier (with whiskey)

  • 45 ml bourbon or rye whiskey
  • 30 ml Campari
  • 30 ml sweet vermouth
  • Garnish = orange peel

Old Pal (with whiskey)

  • 30 ml rye whiskey
  • 30 ml Campari
  • 30 ml dry vermouth
  • Garnish = lemon peel

Kingston Negroni (with rum)

  • 30 ml Jamaican rum (Smith & Cross)
  • 30 ml Campari
  • 30 ml sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica)
  • Garnish = orange peel

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