Celebrate With These Negroni Variations

Written by Seb  /  Edited by Natalia  /  Design by Andy

Negroni week 2023

Every year there is an entire week in the middle of September dedicated to this famous, bittersweet, little red drink – This year it’s celebrated from the 18th to the 24th.  Get involved supporting bars involved and get creative making some Negroni variations at home! 

The classic and Negroni variations

The Negroni is an old classic cocktail comprising just three simple ingredients; gin, sweet vermouth and red bitter aperitivo (the most famous being Campari of course).

However, its simplicity doesn’t mean that your options are limited. Not only are you free to choose your preferred gins, sweet vermouths and red bitter aperitivo liqueurs to make the classic Negroni just as you like it. 

There are also a number of Negroni variations and Negroni adjacent recipes that appeal to a wide variety of different palates to allow everyone to get involved with Negroni week. 

Here’s our list of Negronis and Negroni adjacent recipes to try and make at home to celebrate Negroni week…or any other week for that matter.

The Classic Negroni

The Negroni is a must know classic cocktail for any cocktail aficionado. Typically it’s made with a 1:1:1 ratio of its three core ingredients of gin, sweet vermouth and red bitter aperitivo. 

Even within these fairly strict confines, Negronis can taste very different from one another depending on your choice of brands. Importantly, not every brand necessarily suits every cocktail. So your favourite dry martini gin might not make your favourite Negroni. This philosophy is also true for both sweet vermouths and red bitter aperitivos. 

Stirred or poured straight into the glass over ice. Orange twist, orange slice or both? 1:1:1 or maybe you prefer a subtly different ratio. There’s plenty to consider when it comes to creating your perfect Negroni experience. 

Oolong Negroni

We took the classic Negroni formula and introduced the delicious creamy nutty flavour of oolong tea to it. 

The tea character is added through a cold brew of the tea into the gin. This adds all the flavour of the tea without upsetting the dilution of the drink. 

To allow the flavour of the tea to come through in the final drink, and because of the dry tannins that are part of the tea’s character, the 1:1:1 ratio of the ingredients is tweaked to find the perfect balance of this delicious Negroni variation.

White Negroni

A variation on the classic Negroni that has now become a classic in its own right. 

Gin is still a key part of the White Negroni recipe, but sweet vermouth is replaced with a ‘blanc’ or ‘bianco’ off-dry vermouth. The original version was made using Lillet Blanc, a delicious off-dry aromatic fortified wine from France, which is still a great option today. 

In place of the red bitter aperitivo used in the classic Negroni, the white version was made with Suze. This is still a great option although we have a preference for Luxardo’s Bitter Bianco, but there are a number of options for you to try these days.

Mezcal Negroni

Want some smoke in your Negroni? Well there’s an easy solution to that, try a Mezcal Negroni. 

Mezcal is the agave spirit of Mexico. Unlike the specifically regional variety of Tequila, Mezcals have between moderate and very powerful smoky characters. 

In a cocktail that has other rich and powerful ingredients, namely sweet vermouth and red bitter aperitivo. The Mezcal doesn’t overpower the drink and works very well in this traditionally gin classic. 

You can use richer, more powerful versions of both other ingredients if you like. Antica Formula sweet vermouth is a perfect example. A sweet vermouth with a delicious rich and full bodied vanilla character that works brilliantly in this Negroni variation.

Bottle Batched Negroni

When you have friends coming over and you want to make life simple for yourself.

Or maybe you just want to have a bottle of perfectly made Negroni in the fridge ready for you to have a tipple when the mood takes you. 

Either way, we have the solution for you! Using the delicious modern classic Fords Gin and their now iconic bottle, you can prepare a whole bottle of perfectly made batched Negroni to live in the fridge, with no other equipment required.

The Fords Gin bottle has measurement markings up the back of it. We collaborated with Fords Gin and worked out exactly to which points on their bottle you need to refill it with Negroni ingredients, as well as the perfect amount of water. 

This means, once it’s chilled, your Negroni is ready to be served straight from the bottle and into your glass!

Negroni Sbagliato

Some mistakes turn out great! Sbagliato literally translates from Italian as ‘mistake’, and that’s because, as you will notice when you check the recipe, there’s no gin to be seen!

Legend has it, during a busy service, a bottle of Prosecco was poured into a Negroni instead of the gin, and the Negroni Sbagliato was born.

Somewhere between a Negroni and a Spritz, this is a lovely light alternative to the classic Negroni. One for any Negroni lover to try.

Boulevardier

A classic in its own right, and only a little younger than the Negroni. 

Simply put, it’s a Negroni that switches out gin for Bourbon or American Whisky. Created, not in Italy or even America, but in 1920s Paris by American expats. 

A little bolder and heavier than the Negroni, this option is perfect for those not in love with the juniper and botanical character of gin. It also seems a little less sweet, due to the more powerful character of whisky.

Old Pal

OK, we know it’s not exactly a Negroni, but we also know some (one is even a member of the Candra team!) who say this is a better balanced cocktail than a Negroni. Controversial! 

Dry vermouth replaces sweet and Rye Whiskey replaces gin in the typical Negroni formula, it’s also served up. However, this drier, spicier number sits very comfortably within the category of short bitter red cocktails. 

Regardless of whether the Old Pal ‘should’ be in this list or not, it’s certainly a cocktail you should know, and it’s certainly a drink that any Negroni lover should try on for size.

Strawberry Negroni

Bonus recipe! You’ll want to make this delicious and subtly fruity Negroni variation. However, the Strawberry Negroni recipe can only be found in our book, ‘How to Make Better Cocktails’. Get your copy now!

Try them all and choose your partners

Whichever of these recipes you pick, we don’t think you can be disappointed. Getting to know each of them will also allow you to appreciate their differences so you can choose your favourite and further customize for your palate. 

With simple recipes, quality and profile of ingredients will be as important as ever. The gin you like for your Dry Martini may very well not be the same as your Negroni gin. 

If you need some inspiration, check out our Gin Guide / Vermouth Guide / Bitter Aperitivo Guide

As always, don’t forget to show us what you made by tagging us!
@Candra_Drinks  #MakeBetterDrinks  #CandraDrinks

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