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Photo of two Negroni cocktails in glasses.
Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Michelle Gatton

It couldn’t be simpler to mix a classic negroni cocktail—the celebrated Italian aperitivo combines equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. Botanical dry gin and herbal, citrusy Campari give the drink a complex, bitter flavor profile with notes of fruit and spice, while red vermouth (try Punt e Mes, Carpano Antica, or Cocchi Storico) adds some welcome acidity and sweetness. Once stirred, you can serve the drink up in a martini glass or pour it into an ice-filled old-fashioned glass; the choice is yours, but the version on the rocks will become a bit less concentrated and boozy than its strained counterpart. In either format it makes for a bracing and relatively strong drink with a beautiful jewel-tone orange-red hue. If you find the negroni too sweet for you, one option is to actually make it stronger—increasing the gin by ¼ ounce will give you a slightly drier drink—see more notes on variations below the recipe.

Often, a negroni is finished with an orange twist, which adds a spray of aromatic, zesty citrus oil to the glass, but cocktail consultant Eben Freeman, who served this version at the now-closed Tailor restaurant, suggests going the extra mile and making a “flaming orange twist” instead: From a whole orange, cut a piece of zest about the size of a half dollar—cut the peel so there is just skin, no bitter white pith. Light a match, let it burn for two seconds to get rid of excess sulfur, and then hold it three inches over the cocktail and about one inch away from the zest. The darker orange side should face down, over the drink. Squeeze to release the oils into the drink. Then drop in the zest and serve.

Editor’s note: This recipe was originally published January 2009. Right this way for more classic cocktails →


Makes 1 serving

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) sweet vermouth
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) Campari
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) dry gin
1 cup ice cubes
1 navel orange peel twist
  1. In chilled cocktail shaker or pint glass, stir together vermouth, Campari, gin, and ice until well combined. Strain into a martini glass or ice-filled rocks glass and garnish with orange twist.

Bartenders' Note

Interested in variations? Play around with the ratios to find your perfect negroni recipe. Or, switch out the gin for rye or bourbon and suddenly you have a boulevardier. Use soda water for the gin and you’re drinking an Americano. If bubbles entice you, but you want to keep the booze, use sparkling wine and you’ve turned your drink into a Negroni Sbagliato. Want to keep the gin? Play around with the aperitif and fortified wine, swapping in Cynar for the Campari and sherry for the vermouth and you’ve got yourself a Remember the Alimony. Use Lillet Blanc and Suze instead and you'll have a White Negroni in your hands.

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  • The perfect summer cocktail!

    • Anonymous

    • Tucson, AZ

    • 6/29/2021

  • This made a fantastic Thanksgiving apertif! Be sure to invest in good gin and vermouth for a really standout cocktail.

    • Anonymous

    • Boise, ID

    • 12/1/2010

  • Wonderful.

    • caren

    • Dallas

    • 7/26/2009

  • The Negroni is a noble cocktail; the campari's bitter piquancy married to the gin's robust pungency. An acquired taste well worth the acquisition.

    • Anonymous

    • Port Townsend

    • 3/22/2009

  • A drinker's drink. The Campari is too "herby" for easy sipping.

    • Anonymous

    • San Mateo, CA

    • 3/12/2009

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