Skip to main content

Why the (Endlessly Variable) Negroni Should be Your Go-To Cocktail

Negroni Cocktail
Wikimedia Commons

The Negroni is the perfect cocktail, with its deceptively simple formula creates a perfect harmony of warming flavors, with piney aromatics from Juniper-forward gin and a bitter Campari backbone tempered by the spiced sweetness of vermouth. Sophisticated enough for a soirée and forgiving enough to splash into your coffee cup without measuring, this four-ingredient aperitif is one of the simplest cocktails to make, and packs everything you need to make it through this year.



Related Videos
  • 1 oz. Gin
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • Orange peel, for garnish


  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass or over fresh ice in a double old fashioned glass
  3. Express orange oil over drink, then drop peel into glass

Drunk History

Like all classic cocktails, the true history of the Negroni is a source of contention amongst historians and bartenders, but both popular versions make for good fireside reading.

One story is that the cocktail was invented by Italian Count Camillo Negroni in Florence in 1919. The Count was a swashbuckling figure (who might not actually have been a count at all) who spent years traveling the American West wrangling cattle, gambling, and, we assume, drinking his fair share of American whiskey. When he returned to Italy, his taste for strong spirits clashed with the European preference for mild aperitifs, and he asked his local bartender to mix his favorite cocktail, the Americano, with gin instead of the usual soda water.

It’s a fun story, but the Negronis don’t have a Count Camillo Negroni on their family tree. They do, however, have General Pascal Olivier de Negroni de Cardi, a verifiable nobleman with an equally badass backstory. He joined the military at 18, and was decorated for his gallantry in the Franco-Prussian War, where he spent months as a prisoner of the enemy. Nobody needed a drink more than this guy, and he is said to have invented the Negroni at the officer’s club while serving in Dakar, Senegal, long before Count Camillo ever set sail.

There are holes in this story, too (Campari wasn’t invented until half-way through his service in Senegal), but regardless of which Count you support, the Negroni’s status as a classic is unassailable.

How to Hack Your Negroni

One of the things that has kept the Negroni in bartenders’ arsenals for more than a century is how easy it is to riff on. You can switch up your base spirit for a totally different cocktail–try bourbon for a Boulevardier or mezcal for a Rosita. Campari too bitter? Try subbing Aperol instead. And there are enough sweet vermouths on the market that it’ll be another season before you’ve finished trying them all.

If you feel like getting fancy, you can infuse your Negroni with other flavors. Try soaking coffee or cocoa nibs in your Campari overnight for a perfect sip, maybe some rosemary in your gin, or toss a bag of your favorite tea in your cocktail while you stir. You can bottle up your concoction and give it as a gift, or become the life of the party when you show up with Negronis instead of wine. But if there’s one trick you should absolutely try to elevate any Negroni from good to great, it’s this: add a pinch of salt.

Editors' Recommendations

Is erythritol harmful? What a dietitian says new data means for your Keto diet
Erythritol is common in many keto foods - what does that mean for your health?
erythritol in keto diet advice

While sugar substitutes have been around for more than a century, they didn't really become mainstream here in the United States until around the mid-70s. According to Carolyn De La Pena, professor of American Studies at UC Davis and author of Empty Pleasures: The Story of Artificial Sweeteners from Saccharin to Splenda, between 1975 and 1984, Americans increased their consumption of artificial sweeteners by 150 percent. This timeline makes sense when you take into account that the late seventies coincided with the start of our crazed diet culture and the revolving door of fad diets.
One such diet that doesn't seem to be going anywhere, however, is the Keto diet. Still hugely popular among Americans trying to shed a few pounds, Keto focuses heavily on limited or no carbohydrates. Because sugar contains carbohydrates, followers of Keto have turned to artificial sweeteners to satisfy those late-night cravings - sweeteners that, more often than not, contain erythritol. Erythritol in particular has become hugely popular because it's much better for baking than other sugar substitutes, has less of an artificial flavor, and will keep the eater in Ketosis, which is key for losing weight on the Keto diet.
A new study has made waves recently because its findings indicate there's a link between erythritol and higher rates of heart attack and stroke (though the study did note that only an association was found — not causation. So should you be worried?
We asked Dan LeMoine, RD, the award-winning author of Fear No Food and the Clinical Director at Phoenix-based Re:vitalize Nutrition, what he had to say about erythritol, including its benefits and potential health risks. "Artificial sweeteners are still sweeteners. While many are non-nutritive or zero-calorie, we tend to view them similarly as we do regular sweeteners or sugars — moderation is key. While many have amazing implications on weight loss – being low to no-calorie options and having little impact on blood sugar, some have their downside," he says.

While some of that sugar substitution has been good for waistlines and health issues that come from obesity, it seems to be causing more and more concern when it comes to other potential health issues. "For example," says LeMoine, "some research indicates the popular sweeteners stevia may have negative effects on the gut microbiome. And the recent study showing correlation between the sugar alcohol, erythritol, and heart attack and stroke."

Read more
Feeling adventurous? 5 of the weirdest cocktails from around the globe
Would you order a cocktail with a pickled human toe? You can in Canada, apparently
unusual and unique cocktails sourtoe cocktail

We all love a good cocktail, but it's easy to tire of the classics. There's nothing wrong with a perfectly frosty, salted-rimmed margarita, or a warm-to-your-bones, cherry-topped old-fashioned, but sometimes, you just want something new. Something that makes you think. Something that, perhaps, gives you a chuckle. These are those cocktails.
Pig's Blood Piña Colada (USA)

Back in 2014, bartender Jason Brown of Chicago's Kinmont restaurant and bar, concocted this cocktail after listening to a Werewolves of London lyric about a werewolf drinking a pina colada. His creativity sparked, and the "Werewolves of London" cocktail was born.

Read more
The 8 best protein shakes that are ready-to-go
These shakes come with all the good stuff, and none of the crap

With as busy as we have become as a society, we always seem to be on the go. This can make life challenging, especially when it comes to wellness goals. In a perfect world, you could hit the gym hard, crush a workout, then immediately refuel with a balanced, home-cooked meal. But, since life happens and we are always on the go, it’s not always feasible to take the time to actually cook up a muscle-building meal right after your workout. Whether you’re on the go and short on time, or just can't stomach a full meal after exercising, having a quick and easy, protein-packed option that doesn’t require kitchen time, is a helpful alternative to refuel your body and maximize your results.

This is where protein shakes come in handy. Numerous ready-to-drink shakes are available that provide muscle-building protein, vitamins, minerals, and calories to fortify your body after a workout. They offer the benefits of protein powders with the convenience of eliminating the need for a shaker bottle, or high-speed blender, let alone making a mess with powders. Simply give the bottle a quick shake, pop the top, and you’re good to go.

Read more