Seductively vermillion, bracingly bitter, complex yet refreshing – it’s no wonder the iconic drink continues to enjoy a revival. To stir one up at home, follow our tips and the recipe below to make the perfect Negroni.
With its associations of Italian style and la bella vita, the Negroni has always had a blush of romanticism about it. And, like all classic cocktails, it was created many years ago in 1919 when Count Camillo Negroni marched into the Caffè Casoni in Florence and asked for a stronger version of an Americano, which is an equal parts mix of Campari, sweet vermouth and soda. Faced with this spirited request, the bartender swapped the soda water for gin and the rest, as they say, is history.
Or is it? Dig a little digger and a second origin story emerges – one that features Count Pascal Negroni from France. In this version, the reimagined cocktail was a Milano-Torino, which is believed to predate the Americano. But let’s not dwell on the past and instead turn our attention to the present as we share tips to help you craft the perfect Negroni.
A COCKTAIL OF EQUAL PARTS
As one of our favourite gin cocktail recipes, a perfect Negroni is relatively straightforward to make. Famously, the classic recipe calls for 1:1:1 ratios of its three main ingredients (gin, Campari and sweet vermouth), making this a great cocktail for home bartenders to mix up.
But while this easy-to-remember recipe produces reliably delicious results, we sometimes like to slightly nudge up the proportion of gin in our perfect Negroni for a final result that’s beautifully balanced and oh-so sippable.
THE BEST INGREDIENTS MAKE THE PERFECT NEGRONI
Now, you might find yourself asking: shaken or stirred? Served straight up or on the rocks? And what kind of glassware should you use? Let us answer all your questions. Like any short, spirit-based drink that doesn’t feature fruit juice, which tends to emulsify, a perfect Negroni doesn’t need to be shaken. In fact, shaking will actually dilute the drink. Instead, it’s best to layer up your Negroni in a tumbler over ice.
Unlike a classic Martini, for example, the Negroni works well served straight up or on the rocks. If you prefer yours without ice, simply stir the ingredients over a few cubes before straining into a chilled coupette. On a personal note, however, we tend to enjoy a Negroni on the rocks for its sunny, aperitif quality. For this, adding a large block or sphere of ice is a good way to chill your drink without over-diluting.
As for the sweet vermouth, there are a number of different options. We find that Carpano Antica is an excellent all-rounder for Negronis, while Cinzano Rosso also works well (as does Martini Rosso). For a Negroni of extra bitterness and complexity, rich and potent Punt e Mes is also a good selection.
When it comes to a garnish, orange is the classic choice. Some like to flame their twists, while others drop in whole slices for an extra citrusy boost. We say it depends on your mood as both are a good option.
- 25ml Sipsmith London Dry Gin
- 25ml Campari
- 25ml sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica, Cinzano Rosso, or Punt e Mes)
In a mixing glass, give all three ingredients a few quick turns over ice until combined. Strain into a rocks glass over a large ice block or sphere (or no ice, if that’s your preference) and garnish with an orange twist or slice.
Once you’ve mastered making the perfect Negroni, show off your bartending skills on social media – remember to tag us @Sipsmith so we can see your creations.