Booze52

The Negroni

By • February 7, 2013 • 39 Comments

Some things just go together -- and the obvious accompaniment to food is drink. Welcome to Booze52, in which we explore all manner of libations that do much more than just wash down a meal. 

Today: The best before-dinner drink ever invented, plain and simple.

Here’s a thing you may not know about cocktails: historically speaking, most of the fun ingredients that get mixed into our favorite drinks -- at least when these drinks were born -- were intended to mask the taste of cheap booze. 

Thanks to a little thing called a top shelf, we don’t have to do that anymore, but with the Negroni, we were never allowed to do anyway. Here's why: it’s a storied drink layered completely with alcoholic ingredients. It has nothing to hide behind, and when made right, it shows. 

When General Pascal Olivier Count de Negroni (yes, he was real!) walked into a Florence bar back in the 1920s, he ordered an Americano with some important changes. “No soda—gin instead,” he said. He was a bright man. Bitter and herbal from Campari, warm from the gin, and smooth from the vermouth, this is one of the best before-dinner drinks ever invented, plain and simple. 

Negroni

1 ounce smooth gin (I like Tanqueray and Plymouth)
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth
Ice
Orange peel (for garnish)

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Have your own Negroni tips? Tell us about them below! 

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Tags: booze52, negroni, classic cocktails, drink, cocktail, recipe, Campari, yum

Comments (39)

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4 days ago Clarence

I was playing around with some Pelinkovac (a Croatian liquor) and came up with this:
1 1/2 oz Original Bombay
1 oz Maraska Pelinkovac
1/2 oz St. Germain
5 Dashes Peychauds aromatic Bitters

Stir with ice. Strain up with a lemon twist. (The extra acid in the lemon compliments the sweetness of the St. Germain and the bitterness of the Pelikovac more than orange in my opinion.) Enjoy.

Stringio

about 1 year ago Daniel Prince

Replaced Gin with Mezcal recently and loved the deep smokey earthy pairing with the Campari.

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about 1 year ago Erika Kotite

Erika is the founder of Toque magazine and is guiding us through classic cocktails from A to Z in the Booze52 series.

Wow--that sounds terrific. Anything that is described as "deep, smoky and earthy" has my vote.

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about 1 year ago DebraCR

Campari, tonic and lime is lighter and just as satisfying to me.

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about 1 year ago DebraCR

If you prefer Vodka to Gin, then call it a Negronski, which I highly recommend.

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about 1 year ago katal1

I meant to say "Never gat a Negroni made with Bacardi again!"

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about 1 year ago katal1

The search for the perfect Negroni is a passion and we have found 2 things that make any acquisition all the better: 1) Uncle Val's gin. (OMG!) and 2) http://www.fixyourdrink... recipe cards. Never get a Negroni made with Campari again!

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over 1 year ago Diana Pappas

Ordering these can be risky - I've had some that were woefully unbalanced, and others which were so good I just had to indulge and order a second (Barbecoa in London made a great one). Good thing the first one I had was delicious, if the first one had been unbalanced I don't think I would have ever tried it again.

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over 1 year ago Erika Kotite

Erika is the founder of Toque magazine and is guiding us through classic cocktails from A to Z in the Booze52 series.

Just goes to show how bartenders can make or break their trusting patrons.

Noz_photo

over 1 year ago nzle

I was THRILLED to learn that you can sub the gin in a Negroni for bourbon and call it a Boulevardier. My new favorite drink, hands down.

(Kenzi, definitely trying it with Cynar next time!)

Me

over 1 year ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Managing Editor of Food52.

Ooh, such a good one! Let me know how you like it with Cynar. It's got this really appealing herbal thing happening.

Chris_in_oslo

over 1 year ago Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

Here's my question: I tend to like bitter tastes, more than most I think. But Campari is right at the edge of what I can take. So why is it so popular?

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over 1 year ago vvvanessa

You could try Aperol. It's a little lighter in intensity.

Twittah

over 1 year ago Brianne Du Clos

This is definitely the best before dinner drink ever. I've been wary to stray from the 1:1:1 ratio, but I might try a more gin heavy version soon!

Stringio

over 1 year ago ellen06

I love Campari and I can't drink gin, so I was happy to discover the "Negroni sbagliato" (in Milan it's just a "Sbagliato", which means "mistake" in Italian). It's made with the same Campari and red vermouth, but substitutes sparkling wine for gin (obviously the drier, the better)

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over 1 year ago enbe

Thank you! I love negronis but they gross out most people I drink with. I prefer a more gin heavy one as well, ChezHenry.

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over 1 year ago Erika Kotite

Erika is the founder of Toque magazine and is guiding us through classic cocktails from A to Z in the Booze52 series.

why do they gross people out?

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over 1 year ago ChezHenry

I too get that reaction. Its the Campari, definitely an acquired or instinctive taste. You like it or you don't. There is no middle ground.

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over 1 year ago enbe

People can't handle the bitter Campari, yeah. I think it's so lovely but I can't get haters to take more than a sip to even try to acquire a taste!

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over 1 year ago Mark A. Bauman

Sometimes I substitute Solerno Blood Orange liqueur for the gin.

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over 1 year ago ChezHenry

I love a Negroni, however I prefer a different ratio. I use 2 parts Gin, to 1 part Campari and 1 part Sweet Vermouth. I use Hendricks Gin, Campari and Cocchi Vermouth di Torino. The orange twist (I use a section) is essential, as is a very large ice cube, I have an ice cube maker that makes a big ball of ice sitting in my highball glass. It really enhances your appetite!

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over 1 year ago Aimless

Agreed--I like to play with the proportions. Equal parts is a bit sweet and I like to hoard my Campari. Another way to go is four parts gin, two parts campari, one part vermouth. This brings the Campari forward, and at the same time uses less of it. I recommend it.

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over 1 year ago 808katarina

Yes, Equal parts is a bit sweet for a before dinner drink. Hendricks..thumbs up. Less Campari allows the generous complexity of the Hendricks to smoothly makes it's way through and the campari is like the velvety red bow that wraps up the perfect present. Yummers on the Negroni! One of my top picks as well..I also like a nice Sidecar as a starter.

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over 1 year ago ChezHenry

4:2:1 Sounds like a plan. Staying in today to cook up some NYC Blizzard fare-braised veal shanks, soft polenta and red cabbage braised in red wine with some Honey Crisps I picked up at the Union Sq farmers market. I'll give your variation a try to start it off! Why is 5 o'clock seem so far away???

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over 1 year ago ChezHenry

My wife has just informed me that on "Blizzard Time" you get to choose when 5 o'clock comes around. I love that woman!

Susan.streit

over 1 year ago carbonarasuz

Susan is a Recipe Tester for Food52

Negronis for the blizzard--what a great idea!!! Vermouth is now on my list of provisions for the day...

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over 1 year ago Erika Kotite

Erika is the founder of Toque magazine and is guiding us through classic cocktails from A to Z in the Booze52 series.

I'm going to start playing around with ice shapes and sizes. Guess all of you easterners can pop a few icicles in your rocks glass pretty soon!

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over 1 year ago ChezHenry

Please do. A Negroni calls for one very large cube or ball of ice. I think with your expertise you can definitely recommend the proper ice for any drink!

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over 1 year ago ChezHenry

That is an awesome idea. The chilling and icing of a cocktail is essential to its composition.

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over 1 year ago ChezHenry

You inspired me to create a new drink, a Margroni. The 4:2:1 ratio was very nice indeed, obviously a bit stiffer, more cocktailly less aperitivo. I am a Martini man. So tonight i made a Negroni/Martini and it was spot on! I took a shaker full of ice, threw in some Campari, and Dry Vermouth-then tossed it out. My classic in and out Martini. Then in with some Gin(Bombay Sapphire tonight), a hard shake and into my martini class with an Orange twist. Thanks for the inspiration.

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over 1 year ago Aimless

Genius! Seems a shame to discard the Campari/Vermouth, but you could always put it in a little bottle in the fridge and recycle it for the next Margroni.

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over 1 year ago Erika Kotite

Erika is the founder of Toque magazine and is guiding us through classic cocktails from A to Z in the Booze52 series.

What else do you use your Campari for/in, Aimless? (feel so weird calling you Aimless, ha!)

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about 1 year ago Aimless

Erika: Sorry so slow to respond--just saw this. Aimless is my funny nickname because I'm not aimless at all (although I *am* Amy). I like the Autumn Leaves cocktail. An unlikely alliance of Chile, Italy and Scotland, and a drink in which the flavors are so happily married that you cannot tease them apart. 1 ounce of Pisco Portón, 1 ounce of Drambuie, 1/4 ounce of Campari, 1/4 ounce lime juice. Shake on ice and garnish with lime and orange wedge. Complex and bewitching.

Me

over 1 year ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Managing Editor of Food52.

Though I have a strong allegiance to Campari, I'm going to betray it for a moment to say: replace the Campari with Cynar next time you try one. It's totally delicious.

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over 1 year ago ChezHenry

I've done that-it's very nice!

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over 1 year ago vvvanessa

What a perfect lead-off for the series! The Negroni is one of my favorite drinks to make when I bartend; it's easy to put together but seems much more magical than the effort that goes into it. I also like to use Plymouth, and I will always choose Carpano Antica as the sweet vermouth.

I'm looking forward to reading more!

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

Marian is Food52's Associate Editor.

I love negronis so much! This is awesome.

Sausage2

over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Yay! My favorite! Best before-dinner drink ever invented is right.

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over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Love anything with Campari, the Negroni is wonderful. Campari and soda in the afternoon and Negroni after the evening meal.