Negroni is a rich, strong cocktail that you’ll love to sip on. It’s also a bit of a power move, since not everyone can handle the richness and bitterness in a Negroni, but those who can have reason to call themselves connoisseurs.
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What is Negroni ?
The Negroni is a classic, old cocktail that you build in a glass, over ice. It’s one of the stirred cocktails, resulting in a smooth silky feel, as opposed to a lighter one. All Negroni cocktails have some form of orange added to them as a garnish, it’s kind of their signature.
When is this drink best ?
This is a year-round cocktail that really brings a lot to the table and takes a bit of a connoisseur to enjoy it. It’s got gin, sweet vermouth, and orange aperitif, and all of them combined result in a pretty high alcohol content. This is definitely one of the cocktails you learn to love in time.
You might not like it at first sip, but it slowly grows on you. It’s equally bitter, mysterious, sharp, and has just a hint of sweetness. If you’re making this with Campari it’s a very strongly flavored cocktail, and it can easily overwhelm first-timers.
The Classic Negroni
A classic cocktail, but not for the faint of heart. Bitter, a bit sharp, and definitely something to savor.
- 1.5 oz gin
- 1.5 oz orange aperitif
- 1.5 oz sweet vermouth
- orange for garnish
- Build in a chilled rocks glass, half-filled with ice.
- Stir with the ice, then garnish with the orange.
- The Negroni uses orange aperitif, which is always going to be a bit bitter.
- Expressing the orange into the glass before serving elevates the drink a little.
My thoughts on Negroni
The first sip of this was ‘wow this is bitter’, and I used a sweet orange aperitif in place of a bitter one. Still, it’s a very strong cocktail, both in alcohol and in flavor. Once you get used to it a little you begin to appreciate the subtlety of the sweet vermouth and how it pairs beautifully with the orange aperitif.
Then the gin became too much. I used to love gin (in gin and tonic with my mom) but as of 4-5 years ago I just can’t stomach it. In this Negroni the gin isn’t overwhelming but it’s still noticeable. If you’re a gin fan this might be a very good match for you since I feel the orange aperitif really bridges the gap between the gin and sweet vermouth.
If you like Negroni, you might also like…
Negroni Sbagliato – a Negroni with sparkling wine instead of gin
Americano – a variation of the Negroni
Between the Sheets – a split base variation of the Sidecar
Rum Old Fashioned – a rum version of the classic
Notes, substitutes, and tips
The recipe calls for orange aperitif, and you can use whichever you like. Most of the time it’s made with Campari, which is high proof and very bitter. It imparts a very beautiful color to the drink though. I can’t really handle Campari, it’s too bitter for me, so I used Aperbitter which is classed as a sweet orange aperitif (still bitter, but less so). Another option is Aperol.
Expressing the orange peel into the drink helps its flavor a lot, I think. I also think some grapefruit would also work well, perhaps even better with the gin.