The Negroni, a cocktail that brings together spirit, bitter aperitif, and sweet vermouth in a knife’s-edge balance, is a modern essential. The classic (with gin and Campari) may have been the Negroni’s first expression, but it certainly isn’t the last. For Negroni Week 2019, June 24th to June 30th, we offer a handful of variations to geek out on, after a quick refresher on the original.
Negroni Week—a collaboration by Imbibe magazine and Campari that started back in 2013 and seeks to raise money for charities as it stretches the nation’s creativity—will see bartenders across the country mixing up inventive twists on the classic cocktail. So why not try some variations at home?
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The traditional mixture is equal parts Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth with an orange twist and an ice cube, simple and yet alluringly complex in flavor. The 12 Negroni cocktail recipes below are mostly just as easy, but make for fun new flavor combinations—and a couple fizzy and frosty versions are perfect for summer.
1. The Starlight’s Frozen Negroni
Kick up a classic with bartender and owner John Roberts’ icy version. It’s the perfect summertime treat for a hot, humid day. Just be sure to avoid brain freeze, because that’s certainly the opposite of fun and refreshing.
Did Camillo Negroni, a flamboyant count and famous drinker, first ask for a splash of gin be added to his Americano cocktail back in 1920s Florence? Maybe, though others say the Negroni is more a natural evolution of the Americano. We just know we can’t get enough of them. Get our Negroni recipe.
For a sweeter take, add a splash of blood orange that is equal parts delicious and beautiful. Serve with a slice to make any tablescape reach Ina Garten level status. Get the Blood Orange Negroni recipe.
Blood orange brings the sweet, but grapefruit brings the bitter. Now you have a cocktail for every mood. How happy is that happy hour now? (Very.) Get the Pomelo Grapefruit Negroni recipe.
When substituted for Campari, Cynar, an amaro that prominently contains artichoke, adds a deeper and more savory level of bitterness to the Negroni. It deepens the color, too. Get our Cynar Negroni recipe.
The Italian aperitivo Aperol stands in for Campari in a twist on the original Negroni. Aperol is made along the same lines as Campari, but it’s less bitter, milder, and contains less alcohol. Get our Aperol Negroni recipe.
Swapping the Northern Italian sparkling wine Prosecco for the gin in a classic Negroni yields something closer in spirit to the original Americano, a gentler, fizzier aperitif. It’s a natural prelude for a range of festive occasions, from wedding dinners to date night. Get our Prosecco Negroni recipe.
Blended Scotch, Cynar, and a dash of grapefruit bitters provide carefully articulated depths to the classic Negroni. We adapted ours from a recipe by Carey Jones and John D. McCarthy in Food & Wine magazine. Get our Scotch Negroni recipe.
Tequila blanco stands in for gin in a version of the Negroni that expresses global solidarity. The grassy, vegetal taste of agave gives this version a subtle freshness. Get our Tequila Negroni recipe.
10. Slushy Negroni
Sometimes classic needs to kick back and have fun. To the textbook Negroni, we factored in a blender, ice cubes, and a bit of simple syrup to yield something to hang out with around the pool. Get our Slushy Negroni recipe.
Bittersweet cocktail…bittersweet chocolate; makes sense, and sounds delicious. The twist comes in the form of a simple syrup made from unsweetened cocoa powder, orange extract, turbinado sugar, and water. Try this one as an after-dinner drink/liquid dessert. Get the Chocolate Orange Negroni recipe.
13. Virgin Negroni
If you don’t drink but want to experience the flavors of the spirit-forward Negroni, well, you have a bit of a project ahead of you—but if you like to tinker, it’s well worth it. We call for making two infusions of nonalcoholic white and red wines, adding citrus peel and toasted spices like juniper and anise to mimic the spicy, herbal complexity of gin and sweet vermouth. The Campari is swapped out for Italian Sanbittèr soda, which is bright red and bitter in the best way. Get our Virgin Negroni recipe.