The Nergoni Sbagliato has been around for a while, but it soared in popularity after Emma D’Arcy (who plays adult Rhaenyra Targaryen in HBO’s House of Dragon hit show) said in an interview that they enjoy this particular cocktail. So now everyone’s tried it and so have I and, well, I have to say I totally get the love for this drink.
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What is Negroni Sbagliato ?
Negroni Sbagliato is a vermouth and orange aperitif cocktail, which uses prosecco instead of the traditional gin. Allegedly the ‘sbagliato’ comes from the Italian ‘incorrect’, alluding to a bartender’s incorrect use of prosecco instead of gin. Other say the drink was made with prosecco on purpose, when a customer asked for prosecco instead of gin and the bartender complied.
Now, whether that’s true I don’t know, but it makes for a good story since many bar mishaps actually turn into really good cocktails !
When is this drink best ?
Personally I get some strong orange notes, and the color is a deep reddish amber, so I think it’s more of a wintery cocktail, even if it’s served on ice. I couldn’t see myself drinking this in summer; the colder season just pairs well with this. Perhaps it’s the red vermouth, perhaps it’s the orange, but this just screams winter sunset to me.
I may be a little biased though, as we were putting up the Christmas tree when I first had this cocktail and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
- Carpano Antica Formula Red Vermouth 100cl
- 1.5 oz sweet vermouth red
- 1.5 oz bitter orange aperitif
- 1.5 oz prosecco or sparkling wine
- Orange peel and 2-3 wheels
- Peel an orange, and try to get a thin, long piece. Cut a slice of orange (or several) for garnish. Set aside.
- In a shaker add 1 part sweet vermouth, 1 part bitter aperitif, and a couple of ice cubes. Shake well for 3-5 seconds to mix and chill.
- Fill a rocks glass 3/4 with ice. Strain drink from shaker. Add 1 part prosecco/sparkling wine to the rocks glass.
- Express the orange zest into the glass, add your orange slice(s) in.
- Give it one final stir, you're done.
- This Negroni Sbagliato is roughly 4.5 oz. If you want a larger drink, use a 1:1:1 ratio for each ingredient.
- You can also serve this without ice, in a smaller glass such as a flute, a coupe, or martini.
- The orange zest is optional, but really cuts through the vermouth and makes the orange aperitif less overwhelming.
My thoughts on this drink
This Negroni Sbagliato will give you a nice buzz, and anything past 3 servings is going to give you a hangover the next day. Personally I like cocktails a little lower in alcohol content, more akin to a long drink, so this one kind of took me by surprise. But a pleasant surprise !
It’s also quite bitter, due to the bitter orange aperitif, so keep that in mind when you first taste it. This, paired with the vermouth, makes it the kind of drink that grows on you. I used Aperbitter (similar to Aperol) instead of Campari (as the original asks) because I truly can’t handle the bitterness in Campari.
If you like Negroni Sbagliato, you might also like…
Old Cuban – rum and prosecco, with a touch of Angostura that just brings everything together.
Notes, substitutes, and tips
If you don’t have prosecco or don’t like it very much, you can try sparkling wine instead, that’s what I used. The flavor will be largely the same.
If you want to tone down the bitterness, swap the bitter orange aperitif for a sweet one. For example Campari is far more bitter than Aperol, so you could try Aperol if you want a sweeter cocktail. Or, if you have neither of those you can add an orange liqueur and a 3-4 dashes of Angostura orange bitter. It’s not 100% the same but will get you similar results.
Expressing the orange zest right into the glass, and then adding the peel in gives the drink an orange boost. I think grapefruit also works wonderful in this.