The Negroni is a superhero of cocktails — bold, confident, and effortlessly cool. With just three ingredients — gin, Campari, and red vermouth — it has been popular in Italy for decades as a ‘digestivo’, or after dinner tipple. But there’s a lot more to it than that!

Recently it’s become one of the more fashionable cocktails worldwide, helped by the proliferation of diverse, high quality gins and the popularity of amari, or bitter Italian liqueurs, of which Campari — essential to the Negroni — is probably the most famous.

To make a Negroni you need three ingredients:

  • Gin. I use my favorite Irish gin, Drumshanbo — made in a tiny Irish village of the same name where my stepmom is from! But go with your preferred level of herby-ness and flavor profile.
  • Campari (of course);
  • Sweet red vermouth. The brand doesn't matter that much but go with a high quality one if you can. I like Antica Formula or Punt e Mes.

You'll also need:

  • Ice — I prefer a single large ice cube as it melts more slowly, but it can be whatever you like or have available;
  • an orange peel for garnish;
  • and my secret ingredient: a few drops of orange bitters

In the video below, I'm going to show you two preparations: on the rocks, and my favorite — straight up. Let's get mixing!

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Negroni on the rocks — Preparation

  • Start by putting a large ice cube in a tumbler glass
  • Next, add one measure of gin, one measure of Campari, and one measure of sweet red vermouth
  • Add a dash of orange bitters
  • Stir until it's chilled
  • Express (fancy word for squeeze) an orange peel over the glass, drop it in, and you're done

A perfect blend of bitterness, sweetness, and herbal goodness, yet packing a huge punch. But you can also have a bit more fun with it….

Negroni variations

The standard recipe calls for equal parts, however I prefer to add more vermouth than the other two, as it makes it sweeter and less alcoholic — though when it comes to a Negroni, that’s (literally) a matter of degrees. On the other hand you might prefer to add a little more gin.

You can also replace the gin with whiskey, which makes it a Boulevardier. Or replace the gin with mezcal which makes it an absolutely delicious Mezcal Negroni, but closer to a Boulevardier than the standard recipe because of its punchy smokeyness.

Swap the gin for prosecco, and you’ll have a Negroni Sbagliato. And for a lighter and more refreshing aperitif option, substitute the gin with soda water and you’ll get an Americano — a great pre-dinner (or lunch) aperitivo.

Negroni variations

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Negroni straight up — Preparation

You can also have your Negroni “up” (chilled in a martini glass with no ice), which is my preference. Rather than mixing the recipe above directly in the glass, instead you can add some ice to a cocktail shaker or a large glass, pour the three mixtures in, and give it a shake or stir.

Then get a cocktail glass (I like to keep mine in the freezer until the very last second), pour and add the orange garnish.

And there you have it: Negroni on the rocks and a Negroni straight up (also known as a great night in!)

Remember: it's a straightforward cocktail with three equal measures. However, if you play around with the levels a little bit you can get it just to your taste. And don't forget my secret ingredient: a little dash of orange bitters.

Now sit back and enjoy your Negroni, your favorite way. Alla salute!

Alan Dunne,
Inevitaly contributor and home mixologist

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👉 Not sure where to get started? We've put together some shopping recommendations to help you mix the perfect Negroni (and other aperitifs): check it out!

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