A Negroni is one of many classic cocktails. The Classic Negroni has equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. It is bold and strong with bitter notes, and it is a great cocktail that has recently made a big comeback. Learn how to make a Classic Negroni Cocktail in this post!
This classic Italian cocktail was invented in Florence, Italy in 1919. The negroni aperitif is now enjoyed worldwide and has come back recently as a favorite, although the internet seems a bit divided on the bitter taste! Some say it has an acquired taste, but we absolutely love it! It's a simple, 3 ingredient cocktail, and is easy to make. The negroni also has a number of variations so almost everyone can find their favorite version.
You may have seen the viral Negroni Sbagliato video this past year, which has likely helped with the popularity of the classic negroni. The Negroni Sbagliato (or "broken" Negroni) is a twist on the classic version and is made with Campari, sweet vermouth and sparkling wine or Prosecco in place of gin. Some say this is a more approachable version compared to the classic, but as gin lovers, we prefer the classic.
For this year's Negroni Week, and we want to kick it off with the classic recipe to ring in autumn. Try the classic and enjoy what millions of people around the world love about this cocktail!
If you like negronis like we do, check out our Chocolate Almond Autumn Negroni. This version is a favorite drink of ours for this time of the year.
The classic Negroni recipe has equal parts Campari, good gin and sweet vermouth. Usually it is garnished with an orange twist that has been expressed over the drink, which means that the oil from a slice of peel has been squeezed and spritzed onto the top of the drink.
- Gin: London Dry Gin (e.g., Hendricks or Citadel) is the classic and should be used here.
- Campari: This “bitter” Italian liqueur is the essential ingredient that makes this drink famous. It gives the cocktail that deep reddish-orange color as well.
- Sweet Vermouth: This red vermouth (or Italian vermouth) isn’t intensely sweet but provides the sweet part of this classic cocktail. In addition to being a bit sweet, it has a spiced and herbal notes in its flavor profile.
- Orange slice or Orange peel: A negroni is often garnished with a slice of orange or a slice of orange peel is expressed to spritz the oils on top of the final cocktail, and placed in the drink.
- Ice: We like to pour the cocktail over a large format ice cube, but you can drink it over ice or straight up.
See recipe card for quantities.
The Classic Negroni cocktail is very easy to make and doesn't require any special bar equipment.
- In a bar glass, add ice and equal amounts of gin, campari, and vermouth.
- Stir, then serve in an ice-filled rocks glass, an old-fashioned glass over a large format ice cube, or up (without ice) in a martini glass.
- Garnish with an orange peel or orange slice.
Hint: A Negroni should never be shaken as it will completely change the mouthfeel of the cocktail as well as over-diluting the drink.
An orange slice is the classic garnish in Italy, so you can use that in place of the orange twist or orange peel. Another option is to use a dehydrated orange wheel, or the interesting looking blood orange as well.
There are a number of Negroni variations on the classic. Just a few that we have tried and love are:
- Boulevardier: Replaces the gin with whiskey.
- Cynar Negroni: Replaces Campari with Cynar (an artichoke-based bitter liqueur).
- Aperol Negroni: Rreplaces Campari with Aperol, which is less assertive than Campari.
- Cardinale: Replaces sweet red vermouth with dry white vermouth.
- White Negroni: Uses Lillet Blanc and Suze instead of red vermouth and Campari and garnished with lemon twist.
Looking for other Negroni recipes? Try out our fall version of this drink: Chocolate Almond Autumn Negroni.
You can easily batch Negronis for a ready-made version of the drink. You could use a half liter of each ingredient to a pitcher and pour that directly into your bar glass to stir over ice to make these quickly for a crowd.
Use your favorite London Dry Gin and use a quality vermouth. There are basic vermouths out there that don’t taste the best, so find one that you like. If you’re a Manhattan lover, use the same vermouth you would use there. If you want to read more about our favorite and the best gin for martinis, check out our post on Our Top 3 Gin Martinis for Gin Lovers.
The classic Negroni as found in Italy will have Gin, Campari, and sweet red vermouth, served on the rocks or up and garnished with an orange slice.
The Aperol Negroni is different than the original. Although Campari and Aperol are close cousins with bitter notes, they are significantly different in flavor profiles and will definitely change the Negroni. Try for yourself! We prefer the Campari because we are more accustomed to bitterness in a cocktail like this.
Firstly, it won’t look as nice, but most importantly, the mouthfeel of the Negroni will change and the dilution from the water will be excessive.
Classically, the Negroni is considered an aperitif, which means it is served before a meal to help stimulate the appetite. It can certainly be argued that a Negroni can be enjoyed any time, but classically it is a pre-dinner drink.
A negroni is made with 3 different types of alcohol - gin, Campari and sweet vermouth. Because of this, it is a fairly strong drink coming in at around 24% alcohol by volume (ABV).
Looking for other cocktail recipes like this? Try these:
These are some of our favorite dishes to serve with the classic negroni:
Classic Negroni Cocktail Recipe
- 1 cocktail mixing glass/bar glass
- 1 cocktail mixing spoon
- Add ice to a bar glass, then fill with the gin, vermouth and Campari. Stir briskly with a bar spoon (about 20 turns is perfect). Strain into a rocks glass with a large format ice cube. Express and garnish with the orange peel and serve.