This Classic Negroni Recipe is delicious, refreshing, and made with just 4 simple ingredients. Shaken or stirred, and poured over ice, learn everything you need to know about making your own classic Negroni cocktail.
Classic Negroni Recipe
Strikingly beautiful, the Negroni is one of my personal favorite summertime aperitifs. Perfect for sipping slowly on warm summer evenings, this classic Italian cocktail is easy to mix together and requires no fancy or expensive equipment.
Made with equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, this easy to memorize 2-minute cocktail is an equal balance of dry, bitter, and sweet all at the same time. The results are somewhat unexpected but equally refreshing and delicious.
The exact origin of the Negroni is still largely debated, but here’s the story of how people think the Negroni came to be:
In 1919 Count Camillo Negroni walked into Caffè Giacosa in Florence, Italy. He requested that the bartender, Fosco Scarselli, strengthen his favorite cocktail, the Americano (a cocktail made with Campari, sweet vermouth, and club soda) by adding gin in place of the club soda. To signify that the two were different drinks, the bartender swapped the lemon found in Americanos for an orange peel.
Is this true? No one really knows. After all, some people doubt that Count Camillo Negroni was a count, or alive, at all.
One super fun fact though? Campari (the red, bitter one) gets its rich red color from crushed-up little bugs called cochineals. At least, it did until 2006. Now it uses artificial dye.
To make this Negroni recipe, you’ll need the following four ingredients.
- Vermouth – A flavored, aromatic, and fortified white wine, Vermouth is often served as an aperitif, or more popularly, as the main ingredient in cocktails such as the Martini, Manhattan, and Negroni. Historically, there were only two types of Vermouth, sweet and dry. These days, however, you will see extra-dry white, sweet white (blanc or Bianco), red, amber (Ambre or Rosso), and rosé. The best vermouth to use in negronis is a sweet or semi-sweet red-colored vermouth.
- Gin – I do not recommend substituting the gin for vodka, tequila, or any other liquor. Stick with gin. Now, depending on your own personal taste and preference, you may or may not have a strong opinion about the brand of gin you add. In general, I drink Tanqueray or, if I want something a little better, Hendricks.
- Campari – A popular bitter Italian aperitif made by infusing herbs and fruit in alcohol and water. Characterized by its dark red color, the popularity of Campari has exploded thanks to the Spritz (also known as the Aperol Spritz), a simple Italian drink made by mixing Campari with Prosecco.
- Orange Peel – Traditionally, a Negroni is served with an orange peel. No clue how to slice off an orange peel? Carefully run peeling knife around a freshly washed orange.
While researching the Negroni, I learned that some people have very strong opinions about this fabulous cocktail. I urge you to try it for yourself and form your own opinions.
If you’re generally drawn to sweeter cocktails, it may take you a little time to appreciate the somewhat bitter, dry, refreshing, and sweet taste. I love dry cocktails, so I immediately loved the 1:1:1 ratio of Vermouth to Campari to Gin. If you’re struggling, however, you may want to consider dialing back the Campari to half an ounce and work your way up once you’ve developed a taste for the liquor.
How to Make a Negroni
- Combine the vermouth, gin, and Campari in a mixing glass or shaker filled with ice.
- Stir or shake until combined and chilled.
- Fill a rocks glass with ice. Strain mixture into the glass.
- Garnish. Add 1 orange peel to each glass and serve.
Tip – Negronis don’t taste as delicious when they’re watered down. To prevent this from happening too quickly, serve your cocktail in a rocks glass with 1-2 large ice cubes. The larger the ice cube, the less surface area there is for melting. I always have these ice trays filled and frozen for my next Negroni.
Looking for more delicious cocktail recipes? Try these reader favorites:
- Espresso Negroni
- Classic Margarita Recipe (How to Make a Margarita)
- Paloma Recipe
- Mojito Recipe; How to Make a Mojito
- How to Make a Gin and Tonic
- Spiced Mulled Wine Recipe
Have you tried making your own Classic Negroni at home?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
- rocks glass
- 1 fluid ounce Campari
- 1 fluid ounce Gin
- 1 fluid ounce Red Vermouth (sweet or semi-sweet)
- orange peel (to garnish)
- Add the Campari, gin, and vermouth into a mixing glass (or cocktail shaker) filled with ice. Stir well until chilled.
- Strain into a rocks glass filled with large ice cubes and garnish with an orange peel. Serve immediately.
- Large ice cubes work best as it's less surface area for the ice to melt. These are the ice molds used in this recipe.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)