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The Negroni Cocktail

The Negroni Cocktail

Posted by Karen Skerratt on 12 June 2023

The Negroni cocktail is a classic and iconic drink that has gained widespread popularity among cocktail enthusiasts and bartenders worldwide. 

It is known for its distinctive bitter-sweet flavour profile and beautiful red hue. The Negroni is often regarded as a symbol of elegance and sophistication.

The history of the Negroni dates back to the early 20th century in Florence, Italy. It is believed to have been invented by a bartender named Fosco Scarselli at Caffè Casoni (now called Caffè Cavalli). Count Camillo Negroni, a regular patron at the cafe, asked Scarselli to strengthen his favorite cocktail, the Americano, by adding gin instead of the usual soda water. This modification, along with the addition of an orange garnish, gave birth to the Negroni we know today.

The Negroni cocktail typically consists of three equal parts: gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. Each ingredient contributes to the drink's unique taste.

Gin: The base spirit of the Negroni, gin provides a botanical backbone and adds depth to the cocktail. London Dry gin is often the gin of choice, but you can experiment with different styles and brands to personalize your Negroni.

Campari: This vibrant red Italian bitter liqueur is a key component of the Negroni. Campari's bitter and herbal flavor profile, with hints of orange peel and various botanicals, gives the cocktail its signature character.

Sweet Vermouth: Sweet vermouth, also known as red vermouth or Italian vermouth, adds a rich and slightly sweet flavor to the Negroni. It balances out the bitterness of Campari and adds complexity to the drink. Popular brands include Carpano Antica Formula and Martini & Rossi.

Traditionally, the Negroni is stirred with ice to properly blend the ingredients and chilled before being strained into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. It is often garnished with an orange peel, which not only adds a touch of citrus aroma but also complements the flavors of the cocktail.

While the classic Negroni recipe remains beloved, there are numerous variations and interpretations of the drink. Some bartenders experiment with different types of gin, substitute other bitter liqueurs for Campari, or introduce additional ingredients to create unique flavor profiles. Variations like the Boulevardier (which swaps gin for bourbon or rye whiskey) and the Negroni Sbagliato (which replaces gin with sparkling wine) have also become popular alternatives.

The Negroni has experienced a resurgence in recent years, gaining a cult following among cocktail enthusiasts and inspiring dedicated Negroni bars and events around the world. Its timeless appeal, balanced flavors, and striking presentation continue to captivate cocktail lovers, making the Negroni a true classic in the world of mixology.

Try a classic Negroni cocktail recipe:


1 ounce (30 ml) Exeter Gin

1 ounce (30 ml) Campari

1 ounce (30 ml) sweet vermouth

Orange peel, for garnish


Fill a mixing glass or cocktail shaker with ice.

Add Exeter Gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth to the mixing glass or shaker.

Stir gently for about 20-30 seconds to combine the ingredients and chill the mixture. Be careful not to over-stir and dilute the cocktail too much.

Strain the mixture into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice.

Take an orange peel and express the oils over the cocktail by twisting it over the glass. This will release the aromatic citrus oils.

Rub the orange peel along the rim of the glass to further enhance the aroma.

Drop the orange peel into the glass as a garnish.

Serve and enjoy your classic Negroni!

Remember, the Negroni is a versatile cocktail, and you can adjust the ingredient proportions to suit your personal taste preferences. Feel free to experiment and explore variations by substituting different gins, vermouths, or even adding a splash of your favorite bitters.

Cheers to your Negroni adventure!

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