Feeling Bitter: Negroni Bar



There was a time I turned up my nose at bitter drinks. Italy changed my mind.

Now I think there are few things as delicious as a good Negroni—a little bit bitter, a little bit sweet, and served with the faintest aroma of vacations gone by. Rumor has it that a count named Camillo Negroni asked for gin instead of soda water in his favorite mix of Campari and Vermouth and … ecco tutto! 

The Classic Negroni
It’s most traditional to serve this in an Old Fashioned over ice with an orange peel, but I sometimes use an orange wedge or slice to enjoy at the finish. It should be stirred, and not shaken.
1 oz gin
1 oz sweet vermouth
1 oz Campari
Orange peel, for garnish

I love drinks that are “equal parts,” don’t you? But the real beauty of the Negroni is how many variations on it you can try and still take advantage of those beautiful jewel tones.



My favorite, perhaps, is the something sparkling. Even the name is effervescent when it rolls off your tongue:

Negroni SbagliatoSimply replace the gin with prosecco.

Or for a bit less alcohol, try:

The Americano. Replace the gin with soda water.


And one of Aron’s favorites:

The Boulevardier, replaces the gin with bourbon and uses a 2:1:1 ratio.

1-1/2 oz bourbon
3⁄4 oz Campari
3⁄4 oz sweet vermouth
Orange peel, for garnish


It’s a gateway to all kinds of creative ways to enjoy things a bit more bitter. Try a dry vermouth and Campari’s lighter cousin, Aperol instead. Use Carpano Antica in place of the standard sweet vermouth. And I’d take an Aperol Spritz (Aperol, procecco, and soda) any day—summer or not.

Alexis recommends a version of the Negroni made with Cappelletti instead of Campari, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, and gin.

Are you a fan? Any favorite variations using these or perhaps a bitter Amaro? 

I’ve heard you can make the Negroni Sbagliato in large batches by pouring of bottle of prosecco, a bottle of gin, and a bottle of Campari into a punch bowl with a big block of ice. Would be a fun party mix!

P.S. An Italian-themed dinner-and-a-movie night. Also, Upside Down Citrus Cake.  And finally, I think I really first starting like these flavors in Sardinia, specifically.

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