Episode #077 – Negroni Cocktail Week and the Many Variations

Negroni Week is a week-long celebration of a great cocktail and an effort to raise money for charities around the world. Learn more about this three-part classic and the many variations.

We’ve mentioned Negroni countless times on the show. Until now, we haven’t done a show specifically about this wonderful and wonderfully simple drink. It’s Negroni Week, a bar charity week that we strongly endorse as good drinking for a good cause.

A Negroni is a summer favorite of ours while the Boulevardier (subbing bourbon for gin) tends to reprise the role of its cold weather doppelgänger.

A Perfect Negroni is a Negroni of equal parts – an ounce each of dry gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth – and is what we mean when we talk about Negroni. Plenty of bartenders will honestly tell you they actually prefer it we a little less Campari, and plenty wouldn’t make it any other way.

For vermouths, we favor Carpano Antica Formula and Punt e Mes, but definitely explore your vermouth options for your favorite. Cinzano Rosso, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, and Martini & Rossi Rosso are also good options.

You should also feel free to explore amaro other than Campari, although we also recommend finding another name for any variation you decide is repeatable. The Man about Town is one of our favorite variations that uses two ounces of rye, and substitutes an ounce of Cynar for Campari, and a brandied or maraschino cherry for an orange peel.

Negroni can be served up or on the rocks with equally successful results, but if you are serving it up, make sure to stir the drink very well to chill the liquid, and you’ll definitely want to chill the glass either in the freezer or with ice while making the drink.

Our favorites our Negroni and Boulevardier, but the combination of Campari and sweet vermouth is a bitter-sweet symphony that plays well with plenty of base liquors other than gin and bourbon. Mezcal, Repasado Tequila, Jamaican Rum, Rye Whiskey to name a few we trust.

Vodka? No, sorry, not vodka. We were reluctant to try it and decided we’d live vicariously through Kara Newman, writer for Wine Enthusiast, and accept that the vodka variation is a poor substitute.

Perfect Negroni

  • 1 oz. dry gin
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • Orange twist

Combine ingredients in mixing glass, add ice, and stir until well chilled. Stain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a twist of orange. OPTIONAL: some like to add a dash or two of orange bitters.

Americano

  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 4 oz. club soda
  • Twist of lemon

Add Campari and vermouth to a highball glass, add ice, then top with club soda. A quick stir will suffice. Garnish with a twist of lemon.

Negroni Sbagliato “messed up”

  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz. sparkling white wine
  • Orange peel or wheel (depending on how fruity you feel)

Combine vermouth and Campari in ice filled Old Fashioned glass. Top with sparkling wine and give it a brief stir. Garnish with orange peel.

Caffè Negroni

  • 1 ½ oz. Campari
  • 1 ½ oz. sweet vermouth
  • ½ oz. cold brew coffee
  • ½ oz. mescal

Combine ingredients in mixing glass, add ice, and stir until well chilled. Stain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a twist of orange.

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