This classic Negroni recipe is a fantastic weapon to have in your home bartending tool kit. Bitter, booze-forward but offset by the gin and sweet vermouth, it's a super classy and sophisticated aperitif to enjoy with your guests before dinner.
Brace yourself for the bitter and the booze
Negronis are not for the faint of heart, and not everyone will love this drink. Those who do may even have to take some time for their taste buds to get used to it. I promise though it's worth it.
Negronis get a very bitter flavour from Campari. It's offset by the gin and sweet vermouth used, but it's still the main flavour of the drink. On top of that, it's made totally of booze, so if you're new to the whole classic cocktail thing, this one may knock you back on your heels a bit.
The Flavour of Campari
The main flavour of this drink is going to come from the Campari, and this is why not everyone is going to love it. Although it's often described as "bittersweet", I struggle to find the "sweet" part. It's hella bitter. If it's your first time making a Negroni, try a bit of the Campari on it's own, so you know what you're working with. But, keep in mind, you're not drinking it straight - the additional elements will definitely help balance out the drink as a whole.
Campari also has flavour notes of orange citrus, and warm winter spices like cinnamon and clove, which is why it's a popular choice for a bitter addition to drinks. It also makes it a great option for a holiday cocktail party (especially before dinner)!
Build yourself up to it
A classic negroni recipe calls for equal parts Campari to gin, but if you feel like that bitter is going to be too much for you, simply adjust that ratio. Tone down the Campari to ½ oz, and up the gin to 1 ½ oz. You can also up the amount of sweet vermouth. Just play around with it and see what works for you! As you get used to the bitter flavour and the booze, you can start slowly upping the Campari until you're a legit pro at drinking these.
The booze you use is important
In any booze forward cocktail, the actual liquor you use is super important. This is a generalization, but I find that cheaper, less quality booze is often abrasive and hard to drink (leading many people to believe they don't actually like classic cocktails). Spring for a high quality gin in this one, you won't regret it. My all time favourite is Sheringham Distillery, based on Vancouver Island.
For this one, the vermouth quality is less important. This guy is more of a supporting character, while the gin and Campari are playing the lead roles. That being said, Cocci is a great choice for the vermouth. They've got a wide selection available to suit everyone's price point.
It's a Cinch to Make
And the classic Negroni recipe ratio is easy to remember as well. 1:1:1 Campari: Sweet Vermouth: Gin. It's as simple as that.
I would add the ingredients to a cocktail mixer half filled with ice, and stir for 30-45 seconds. Pour into a rocks glass over ice, and add an orange twist for garnish. Voila! Classic Negroni in minutes.
Make a Batch
Serving a crowd? No problem. Just combine your booze in a pitcher (no ice) and keep it in the fridge until you're ready to serve it. When you're ready to drink, pour into rocks glasses over ice and garnish with your orange twists.
Other Fabulous Classic Cocktails
The classics are classic for a reason: they're damn good. In most cases, these recipes have been around for decades, and people are still drinking them today. Here are a couple more of my favorites if you're interested in experimenting! And by the way, a classic variation on the Negroni is the Boulevardier (prounciation: bull-var-dee-ay). Basically it just swaps the gin for whiskey.
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Easy Classic Negroni Recipe
- Cocktail mixer
- 1 oz Campari
- 1 oz sweet vermouth
- 1 oz gin
- orange peel for garnish
- Combine the Campari, vermouth and gin in a cocktails mixer half filled with ice. Stir for 30-45 seconds, until the drink is ice cold.
- Prepare a rocks class by adding ice. Pour the cocktail over the ice.
- Add an orange twist for garnish, and enjoy.
Hi, I'm Cara! I'm a food writer, journalist, and recipe developer. I'm obsessed good food, good wine, good cocktails and entertaining. I've picked up a few tips over the years, and love sharing them with others.