Brandy Rand

Thirsty Writer, Libations Marketer

The Inspired Negroni

The Negroni is perhaps my favorite cocktail. It hits the spot come summer or winter with a perfect balance of bitter and sweet. And for me (and millions of Italians), it signifies the start of aperitivo or happy hour – an evening filled with cocktails and companionship.

It was invented in Florence, Italy in 1919 by Count Camillo Negroni, who, like many of us, asked the bartender to make his favorite drink a little stronger. The (weak)drink was an Americano, made with Campari, sweet vermouth and club soda. The soda was replaced with gin, and the Negroni became a boozy hit.

One of the lovely things about the Negroni is that it’s easy to make – pour all equal parts in to a glass filled with ice, give it a quick stir, strain in to a fresh glass with ice or up in a cocktail glass, garnish with an orange peel garnish and you’re done. I particularly like this formula for those times I am at a bar with no cocktail menu; it’s pretty hard to screw up the directions.

For variations, you can play with the sweet and bitter elements and replace the sweet vermouth with Punt e Mes or Lillet Rose, the bitter Campari with Aperol or Cynar. You can even swap out the gin for bourbon and the cocktail becomes a very Manhattan-esque Boulevardier. Or replace the bourbon with rye, the sweet with dry vermouth and an Old Pal is born.

There are a handful of sweet vermouth brands out there, but I like Carpano Antica or Cinzano. If you aren’t a big vermouth drinker, purchase a 375ml size. With any fortified wine, especially vermouth, you must refrigerate and use within 30 days. Below are several recipes that, with good practice and frequent sipping, should drain your bottle in no time at all.

Classic Negroni
1 oz gin
1 oz Campari
1 oz sweet vermouth

Unusual Negroni
1 oz Hendrick’s gin
1 oz Lillet Blanc
1 oz Aperol

Aperol Negroni
1 oz gin
1 oz Aperol
1 oz sweet vermouth

Sorella Negroni
1 oz gin
1 oz Aperol
½ oz sweet vermouth
½  oz dry vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters

Cornwall Negroni
2 oz gin
½ oz Campari
½ oz Punt e Mes
½ oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters

Boulevardier
1 oz bourbon
1 oz Campari
1 oz sweet vermouth
Stir, strain, straight up, cherry

Old Pal
1 ½ oz rye whiskey
3/4 oz dry vermouth
3/4 oz Campari

Firenze
Created by Sam Treadway from Backbar in Somerville, MA
1.5 oz Bulliet Rye
0.75 oz Campari
0.75 oz Cynar
1 dash Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters

Sparkling Ginger Negroni
Avery Bar at the Ritz Carlton in Boston
½ oz       Campari
3 oz        Nolet Silver Dry Gin
½ oz       sweet vermouth
½ oz       Canton Ginger Liqueur
Prosecco
Candied Ginger

Add Campari, gin, Canton, and sweet vermouth to a shaker with crushed ice, shake contents and strain into a champagne flute, and float Prosecco on top and garnish with candied ginger.

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2 comments on “The Inspired Negroni

  1. sharingmyitaly
    June 2, 2012

    Negroni is my favorite aperitivo. Thank you for sharing these tempting variations.

  2. eric witz (@aphonik)
    August 10, 2012

    I purchased a bottle of Lillet Rose this evening and I’m enjoying an improvised riff on the Negroni featuring Lillet Rose, Gin, and St. Germain (a much kinder, gentler Negroni). I generally agree with you about using up vermouth within 30 days. However, I’m shocked to admit that I’ve had a bottle of Carpano Antica in my fridge for 1.5 years and it actually still tastes great. Perhaps because it is so much better to begin with; I don’t typically drink it straight but I find it still makes a mean cocktail. In my experience dry vermouths go “off” much faster than sweet.

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This entry was posted on May 7, 2012 by in aperitifs, gin, recipes, WBZ Radio and tagged , , , , .
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