Sip a beautifully hued Negroni, a classic Italian cocktail that is refreshingly bitter, and easy to make.
Why you’ll love it: This cocktail is beautiful and not too sweet.
How long it takes: 5 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: cocktail jug or large glass, strainer, ice
Served ice cold, with an orange slice garnish, a Negroni might very well become your favorite sipper especially if you don’t enjoy overly sweet drinks. Considered an apéritif, or a before-dinner drink, but great all on its own, a Negroni consists of equal parts Campari, red vermouth, and gin.
Reportedly a favorite of Ernest Hemingway and more recently, Anthony Bourdain, a Negroni is a classic. There’s even a special Negroni week to celebrate this cocktail (September 13-19, 2021).
Worried you might say it wrong? The pronunciation is easy: “nuh.grow.nee”.
A Negroni packs a punch since there are no mixers. Take your time and savor every sip. Appreciate the complexity of flavors in this refreshing cocktail.
About this recipe
A Negroni is easy to make, so easy in fact, that after the first time you stir one up, you’ll probably never have to refer to this recipe again. Don’t forget about me, though, I’ll still be here with lots of exciting cocktail recipes!
The ratio is 1:1:1. That is, one part Campari, one part red vermouth, and one part gin.
You’ll find the complete printable recipe at the end of this post but here’s a quick overview.
What you need
- Campari: No substitutes here, you have to buy the one and only Italian-made Campari, a red bitters that is made from an herbal and fruit concoction. It contains alcohol and is often mixed with prosecco for a spritz cocktail.
- Red Vermouth: A sweeter and richer vermouth than the white variety, it’s also known as Rosso or Rijo vermouth. It’s a fortified wine flavored with botanicals. Since it is a wine, vermouth should be refrigerated once it’s opened and it will keep about a month.
- Gin: A London dry gin is the best gin for this cocktail.
How to make a Negroni
This recipe makes two cocktails. It’s easy to halve, double, or triple. Just keep in mind the 1:1:1 ration.
First, add ice to a pitcher or large measuring cup. Add measured amounts of Campari, red vermouth, and gin.
Stir well, until the ingredients are well chilled by the ice.
Put the desired amount of ice into two glasses. Pour the cocktail evenly into the glasses, straining out the ice from the pitcher.
Garnish each cocktail with a slice of orange. If you prefer, a curl of orange peel makes a nice garnish too. Enjoy immediately!
It’s a little hard to describe the taste of a Negroni. It’s on the bitter side, there are herbal notes, and definitely citrus. It contains a lot of spirits and no mixers so there is no fizziness, but a lot of warmth.
This cocktail is named for Italian Count Camillo Negroni, from the early 1900s, who asked his bartender to make an Americano a bit stronger (more alcohol). The bartender obliged and replaced the soda water with gin, and garnished his creation with an orange slice to distinguish it further. Thus the Negroni was born.
Both are bitters but Aperol is somewhat sweeter than Campari. Another big difference is the color; Aperol is orange while Campari is a deeper crimson red. The red color up until 2006 was derived from crushed dried cochineal insects but isn’t anymore. Looking for a cocktail with Aperol? Try this easy Aperol Spritz!
There’s a few variations you could make to dial down the bitter edge. Add a dash of simple syrup to taste; squeeze in an ounce of fresh orange juice; or top your drink with splash of club soda or prosecco which will also add fizziness. You won’t have a classic Negroni but it’s your drink so certainly feel free to make it to suit your taste.
How to make this cocktail your own
- Add sweetness to your cocktail, tempering the bitterness. See the above paragraph for ideas.
- Make your Negroni with ice but strain it into glasses without ice.
- Double the amount of gin for a stronger drink. Or double the Campari or the red vermouth. Totally up to you!
This cocktail is best served immediately. To get a head start, slice the oranges for the garnish and make sure you have plenty of fresh ice. Polish up your glasses so they’re sparkling clean.
More classic cocktails
And some classic recipes with a twist …
- Classic Gin and Tonic Recipe – tips to make the best!
- Blood Orange Gin Fizz with Elderflower
- Orange Gin and Tonic with Cinnamon
- Cherry French 75 – sweet tart perfection!
- White Russian Recipe – make it your own!
- White Chocolate White Russian – a twist on a classic!
- Vanilla Bourbon Fizz (Bourbon Champagne Cocktail)
- Orange Mojito – refreshing and delicious!
- Raspberry Rosé Spritzer – easy cocktail!
- Apple Cider Mule (Fall Moscow Mule)
- 2 ounces Campari
- 2 ounces gin
- 2 ounces red vermouth
- ice cubes
- Orange slices
- Add ice cubes, Campari, gin and vermouth to a cocktail jug, measuring cup, or a big glass.
- Stir for 20-30 seconds until liquid is cold and strain into two glasses.
- Garnish with half an orange slice each or a twist of orange peel.
- Add sweetness to your cocktail, tempering the bitterness. Add simple syrup, to taste, or an ounce of fresh orange juice, or top the cocktail with club soda or prosecco.
- If desired, make your Negroni with ice but strain it into glasses without ice.
- Double the amount of gin for a stronger drink. Or double the Campari or the red vermouth.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.