A Beginner's Guide To Negronis

A Beginner's Guide To Negronis

There are those who venerate the Negroni, and there are those who despise it. Let's go over some commonly asked questions.

Edd Siu

There are those who venerate the Negroni, and there are those who despise it—none the wiser.

Today, the topic is Negronis and some common questions.

What's a Negroni?

The Negroni is a boozy, bitter, and sweet cocktail—another gift from Italy to the world—that's one of the most iconic mixed drinks in the world.

Negroni Cocktail

How do you drink a Negroni?

If you haven't had one, and you consider yourself a cocktail enthusiast, the time is now to level up.

It's best to sip your Negroni slowly. It packs a punch and will sneak up on you if consumed in a hurry.

It provides solace after a hard day, it can mend a broken heart, or it can enhance any festive occasion.

Is a Negroni strong?

Hell yes. It's pure booze.

Remember, sip slowly.

How do you serve a Campari Negroni?

A traditional Negroni made with equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari. Stirred in a mixing glass, then strained into a rocks glass with ice cubes (or a clear ice rock) and an orange slice or peel.

Alternatively, you can serve it "up" in a chilled coupe.

Negroni served on a chilled coupe glass.

Why is my Negroni so bitter?

That's the nature of the beast. Campari is an Italian bitter red aperitif. It's okay if you don't like it. It's not everyone's cuppa tea.

How do you make a Negroni taste better?

If you can't get past the bitter taste, then a Negroni is not for you—and that is perfectly okay.

Can you make a Negroni without vermouth?

Not technically, it wouldn't be a traditional Negroni.

But, there are tasty Negroni variations that substitute vermouth for something else, like in White Negroni.

How do you make a Negroni without Campari?

You can substitute it with Aperol or any other red aperitivos.

You can also make other tasty Negroni variations.

Sidenote: try an Ultimate Negroni by legendary Gaz Regan.

Can you premix Negroni?

Hell yes, you can. Pre-batching cocktails is an efficient and low-impact way of throwing a cocktail party.

Bottled Negroni with three shot glasses filled.

Grab an empty and clean 750ml container then add: 12 oz gin, 8 oz sweet vermouth, 8 oz of Campari, 3 oz of water. Store in the fridge for but no longer than 24hrs.

Pour over a rocks glass and garnish with orange peel or slice. No need to stir, careful not to over pour though!

What vermouth should I use?

Carpano Antica is you want to be fancy. Cocchi Vermouth di Torino is my go-to. If you're on a budget, Martini & Rossi vermouth.

It's vital that you store vermouth in the refrigerator and consume it within a week or two. Use a wine saver. Treat vermouth like wine.

Is Negroni a manly drink?

A Negroni is a badass drink that does not care about gender. It only matters if you can handle it.

If you're a guy asking this question, the "manly" thing to do is to have the confidence to drink whatever you enjoy: pink, blue, sweet, straight, umbrella, etc.

What are some Negroni variations?

Try a classic Boulevardier, Negroni Sbagliato,  a Cafe Negroni, or a Mezcal Negroni.

For more variations, check this list of riffs by Imbibe.

Should Campari be refrigerated?

No, there's no need. It's shelf-stable. As I've been saying ad nauseam, your vermouth needs to be refrigerated and consumed promptly.

Can you substitute vodka for gin in a Negroni?

Ordering a Negroni with Vodka is akin to ordering a Prime cut New York Strip well done.

Will the steakhouse oblige you? Yes, but it's not recommended—it's frowned upon.

What makes a Negroni great is the perfect harmonious trifecta. Vodka as a substitute does not bring anything to the table.

Can you drink Campari neat?

Drink it however makes you happy. You can drink it straight, over ice, or over ice with a splash of soda.

Negroni cocktail with old photos in the background

Is Campari still made from beetles?

Since 2005, Campari stopped using the cochineal insect as a natural source for its red dye.

If you want an aperitif that still uses natural red dyes from cochineal, hunt down a bottle of Leopold Bros. Aperitivo.

What do you garnish a Negroni with?

Orange peel or slice.

What is the best gin for Negronis?

This is a matter of personal choice.

The best thing to do is to try it with different gins and see where you gravitate towards.

If I'm throwing a party and showering everyone with Negronis, I'd get a liter of Beefeater. Some folks swear by Plymouth, my choice is St. Augustine New World Gin.

I hope this steers you in the right direction in your exploration of the world of Negroni.

-Edd