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A refreshing Italian cocktail mixed with only four ingredients. This simple recipe is smooth, refreshing, and eye-catching!
History Of the Negroni
The unofficial birth of the Negroni cocktail is said to be in Florence, Italy in 1919. It was named after Count Camillo Negroni who visited the United States in the early 1900s. He was described as an adventurous cowboy who enjoyed gambling in the wild west before returning home to Florence to settle down.
While visiting America, he developed an affinity for a cocktail named the Americano. It consists of soda water, Campari, and sweet vermouth. When he returned home, he sought a stronger version of this drink and asked a bartender to make him an Americano but replace the soda water with gin. It became the Negroni Cocktail, and it remains a popular beverage worldwide.
The overall flavor profile of a Negroni is described as smooth, velvety, and slightly botanical (attributed to the addition of gin). It is always served over ice and is a popular choice in the hot summer months. The Negroni is a cocktail that is meant to be sipped slowly and enjoyed throughout the full length of happy hour.
What Goes Into a Negroni Cocktail?
There are three core alcohols used in a Negroni Cocktail: Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth. The fourth and final ingredient is an orange peel, which adds brightness to the drink and infuses playful citrus tones.
Campari is a herbal aperitif with strong and bitter flavors. It is often bright red, making it hard to miss at the liquor store. Supertasters can also pick up notes of cinnamon, orange peel, cherry, and even clove. It is robust and flavor-packed alcohol that adds complex layers to the cocktail.
The addition of gin to this recipe aligns perfectly with the existing botanical flavors of the Campari. Gin is also botanical and can carry strong floral and herbal notes, depending on the brand. Some versions of gin will carry stronger notes of pine, from the juniper berries used to distill the liquor, and are well suited to this cocktail recipe. You can experiment with different types of gin to land on your favorite version of this drink.
Sweet vermouth is the third and final alcohol used for making a Negroni Cocktail. It also hails from Italy and has a deep red color. Sweet vermouth is a type of fortified wine with added botanical flavors and aromatics. It has been used for centuries: the earliest documentation of sweet vermouth was in the 16th century. This fortified wine is also a star ingredient for the Manhattan cocktail and is well suited to a sophisticated palate.
A negroni does not have any mixer ingredients, and it maintains a boozy presence. If you are sensitive to the strong taste of alcohol, you may consider diluting this recipe with water. You can also add small ice cubes to your drink which will melt faster and naturally mellow down the intensity of the cocktail.
Tips For Making the Perfect Negroni
You may be interested in taking an extra step to pull out the fruity citrus notes in this drink. To prepare your glass, rub an orange peel around the rim of the vessel. The peel carries natural oils that tend to go bitter after being exposed to oxygen. It will add a complex bitter orange flavor to the drinkers’ lips before even tasting the cocktail which can enhance the entire experience.
Due to the low total volume of this cocktail recipe, it is recommended to use a short glass for this beverage. These types of vessels are also called rocks glass and are commonly used for an Old Fashioned. The ice will melt and the alcohol will sink to the bottom of your glass, so you may consider having a stir stick available if it needs to be remixed.
Sweet vermouth needs to be properly stored after it is opened. Like all wines, it is susceptible to spoiling if the environment is not cool and air-tight. Keep your opened bottle in the fridge and the product should hold for a maximum of three months. You can tell if your vermouth has gone off by assessing the color and odor of the wine. The potency will decrease over time, and the product becomes flat and odorless as it ages.
There are many ways you can modify this recipe. Those who enjoy fizzy drinks will replace gin with Prosecco, which is called a Negroni Sbagliato. This version closer resembles an Americano cocktail that relies on club soda to add sparkle to the drink.
If you loathe gin, try adding in whiskey instead! This rendition is called the Boulevardier Negroni, and the whiskey offers a warm and vibrant spin on the classic cocktail! The flavor profile will become spicy, rich, but still offer the familiar bitter notes associated with a Negroni.
Piggybacking off a richer taste, Mezcal is also frequently swapped into Negroni cocktails. This smokey liquor adds a layer of complexity to the drink that perfectly matches the sweetness of the vermouth. Every sip is potent with smoky tones and this Negroni experience is best enjoyed slowly.
Last but not least, you can mix things up and substitute rum in as the liquor of choice for a Rum Negroni.
- 1 oz Campari
- 1 oz gin
- 1 oz sweet vermouth
- orange twist to garnish
- Pour liquid ingredients into a shaker and add ice. Shake for about 30 seconds until the mixture is thoroughly chilled
- Strain the mixture over ice and garnish with orange peel. Enjoy!