Refreshingly bitter and just sweet enough, the Negroni is a classic cocktail that’s equal parts gin, vermouth and Campari. Cheers!


Looking for a classic cocktail with an Italian vibe? Enter: the Negroni! It’s equal parts refreshing, bitter, and complex: a drink that you’ll want to sit with and savor a while. And doesn’t it look stunning? The bright red of the Campari makes for a stunning jewel-tone statement of a drink. This three ingredient cocktail is easy to make: and memorize, because it uses 1 ounce of each of its three components. Here’s how to make it!

What’s in a Negroni?

A Negroni is an Italian cocktail that was originally intended as an apéritif: a drink for before a meal! It was invented back in the 1920’s by a Count Negroni in Florence, Italy (or so the story goes). Apparently Count Negroni ordered an Americano cocktail (an 1860’s cocktail with Campari, sweet vermouth and soda water) but wanted it with a little more kick. He asked for it with gin and the Negroni was born!

The Negroni is a classic cocktail that’s on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails. This means that there’s an “official” definition, which is:

  • Gin
  • Sweet vermouth
  • Campari

How to make a Negroni (basic steps)

The Negroni is so easy to make and memorize: use just 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of each of the elements above. You don’t even need a cocktail shaker. Simply stir it together in a cocktail mixing glass, or any glass you have on hand. Here are the basic steps to make it (or go to the recipe below):

  • Mix. Add the ingredients to a mixing glass with 1 handful of ice and stir for 30 seconds. This chills the cocktail and dilutes it less than shaking in a cocktail shaker would.
  • Strain and serve. Strain into a lowball or Old Fashioned glass filled with ice.

Negroni variations: the Boulevardier and more!

What’s an even better version of the Negroni? A Boulevardier. The Boulevardier is a spin off on the Negroni using bourbon whiskey instead of gin. Using bourbon rounds out the sweet notes in the flavor and makes it into a full-flavored sip. Both Alex and I preferred the way the Boulevardier tastes balanced, whereas the Campari in the Negroni can taste a bit sharp. Even better, make it a Negroni Sbagliato, a bubbly version with sparkling wine!

Here are a few well-known variations on the Negroni:


Campari makes it a Negroni!

Campari is what makes a Negroni a Negroni. It’s an Italian bitter with a bright red jewel-toned color. It’s also used in classic cocktails like the Americano, and is easy to find at most liquor stores.

Campari tastes bitter, fruity, and spicy all at once. It’s infused with different herbs and fruits, part of a secret recipe. Fun fact: Campari was originally colored so brightly red due to a dye made of crushed insects! That’s no longer in the modern recipe, so it shouldn’t deter you from grabbing a bottle.

What else can you make with Campari? Try all of these great Campari Cocktails! Some favorites: the Jungle Bird, a tropical rum drink, or the Garibaldi, an Italian cocktail with Campari and orange.


All about vermouth

A Negroni isn’t the same without vermouth! Vermouth is a fortified wine, meaning liquor has been added to the wine. There are two main types of vermouth: sweet (usually red) and dry (usually white). Sweet vermouth is subtly sweet and spicy, with a hit of bitter on the back end.

Whatever vermouth you have on hand, make sure to store it in the refrigerator; it will stay good for up to 3 months. Here are all our favorite Vermouth Cocktails for using up a bottle!


Use good quality gin

Simple drinks are all about quality. The better the gin, the better the drink. The easiest way to tell if a gin is high quality? Don’t buy the cheapest gin you can find. Try to invest in a mid-price range gin: the drink will only taste as good as the gin you invest in.

One note: with the Negroni, because the Campari and vermouth are so strong, the gin can be overshadowed. You’ll want to use your very best gin for gin cocktails that are gin forward like the Gin and Tonic or Gin Fizz. For the Negroni, a mid-range gin works just fine.

When to serve a Negroni

The Negroni cocktail is a sophisticated and complex classic cocktail that’s also refreshing and summery. It’s perfect for sipping as a:

  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Summer drink
  • Before dinner drink
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
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Classic Negroni

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


Refreshingly bitter and just sweet enough, the Negroni is a classic cocktail that’s equal parts gin, vermouth and Campari. Cheers!


  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) gin*
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) sweet or semi-sweet red vermouth
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) Campari
  • Ice, for serving (try clear ice!)
  • For the garnish: Orange peel


  1. Combine the gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari in a cocktail mixing glass (or any other type of glass). Fill the mixing glass with 1 handful ice and stir continuously for 30 seconds.
  2. Add ice to a lowball glass, and strain the drink into the glass (or you can use a cocktail glass without ice).
  3. Use a knife to remove a 1″ wide strip of the orange peel. Squeeze the orange peel into the drink to release the oils. Gently run the peel around the edge of the glass, then place it in the glass and serve.


*We like the Boulevardier even better, a classic cocktail that’s a spin on the Negroni. Substitute 1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) bourbon whiskey for the gin. It has a rounder flavor that’s more balanced by the bourbon.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Negroni, Negroni cocktail

More classic cocktails

Here are a few more of our classic cocktails to add to your repertoire:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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