Thursday, 25 February 2010


My first ever Negroni, way back in 2009, came in a pint glass and filled most of it. That may sound reckless now, in 2010, but at the time W and I were simply following these simple proportions: one part gin, one part sweet vermouth, one part Campari. The ratio, at least, was right, so memorise it forthwith if you haven't already. And remember this too: if it's an aperitif you're after, or a little stimulation in the afternoon, the Italian Negroni is your friend.

Here I used Plymouth gin, Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth (the red stuff) and, er, Campari. While some recipes call for a burnt orange garnish (instructions here if you're hard enough), I took the liberty of adding a couple of dashes of orange bitters instead, along with a conventional orange twist. Since it was February, in England, I served it simply chilled - off the rocks, as it were.


15ml (0.5oz) gin
15ml (0.5oz) sweet vermouth
15ml (0.5oz) Campari
Two dashes orange bitters
Orange peel to garnish

Add ingredients to a mixing glass and stir with ice. Strain into a small glass and garnish with a twist of orange peel.

The bitterness of the Campari ensures this little drink isn't for everyone, but then - what is? This was the first outing of my new bottle of Angostura orange bitters, and I loved what they did, providing a slightly sweet citrus twist and taking a little edge off the Campari, but not much. I believe W may have approved too, although come summer we may have to pull out the pint glasses again.

FACT! The Negroni was created in Florence in the 1920s when Count Camillo Negroni asked for a stronger version of the longer Americano (which was, and remains, sweet vermouth, Campari and soda water).

NEXT FACT! Tequila lovers should take a look at the Agavoni, which replaces the gin in the Negroni with silver tequila.


  1. As a big fan of the Negroni myself I was delighted to discover what tastes pretty much like a pre-made Negroni - Amaro Nonino - an Italian bitters but with the sweetness and kick of a Negroni. Whilst doing some research on cocktails for it I stumbled across the Black Manhattan replacing sweet vermouth with Amaro Nonino. It's just a shame that it's not cheap because the amount of Black Manhattan's I seem to make in a week are driving me towards bankruptcy.

  2. Thanks for the tip, Alex. I haven't come across Amaro Nonino before but I'll be keeping a look out for it. Ever seen it in London? Otherwise, I guess I'll have to wait til my next trip to Italia.