The Negroni, or the Perfect Dinner Cocktail

The Negroni CocktailWhen it comes to gin, only two cocktails come to mind for most people: the Martini and the G&T.  Gin has an amazing flavor profile due to the many botanicals it is infused with, and there are many more than just two great cocktails that can be made with gin.  The Negroni is a classic prohibition era cocktail that is equally delicious at a dinner or the bar.

The Negroni
  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • 1.5 oz Campari
  • 1.5 oz Sweet Red Vermouth
  • (optional) garnish with an orange slice or twist

There are two ways to mix and serve this cocktail.  You can build this drink in an old fashioned glass over ice.  Once the gin, Campari, and vermouth have been added, gently stir the cocktail and serve garnished with an orange slice or twist.  The negroni can also be served up in a cocktail glass.  For this preparation, stir the ingredients until completely chilled in a mixing, as there will be no ice in the cocktail glass to further cool the drinks.  It also helps if you chill your cocktail glass, whether in the freezer or by simply filling with ice for a few minutes.  Once both the drink and glass are sufficiently chilled, strain the contents into the cocktail glass and garnish.  Some people feel that you can also shake the negroni, but in my opinion doing so makes the drink lose its perfect hue and translucence.  In my opinion, it is far better to stir this cocktail with a little patience than to shake it.

Now for a note on the ratios in the cocktail itself.  The recipe provided here is the historically accurate one.  Negronis were made with the 1:1:1 ratio until fairly recently, when people began to expect more spirit forward drinks.  Now it is not uncommon or the amount of gin to be doubled, or conversely for the amount of Campari and vermouth to be halved.  This isn’t in any way wrong, in fact the esteemed cocktail historian David Wondrich follows this trend in his negroni recipe, it is just a different variation on this classic drink.

The sweet vermouth is key to the taste and quality of the cocktail and if I wanted to raise the level of the drink by spending a little more on just one ingredient, it would be the vermouth.  Molly Pratt and Martini & Rossi are fine basic vermouths, but the miss a lot of the flavor and nuance in their more expensive counterparts.  My preferred budget vermouth is Dolin, because at $15/fifth I find it offers an excellent balanced flavor.  Also, just take a second to think about it.  How much vermouth do you really use per drink?  Unless you start drinking it on the rocks, it is going to last a while.  Just remember that it needs to be refrigerated and you will be set to make drinks with vermouth for quite a while.

Total cot per drink: $2.01

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Posted in Cheap Cocktails, Gin, Liqueur, Vermouth
2 comments on “The Negroni, or the Perfect Dinner Cocktail
  1. […] in the states.  One of his many inventions was the Boulevardier, a wonderful twist on the classic Negroni which substituted good old American bourbon for the usual […]

  2. […] and it gets its name from substituting the sparkling wine in for the original gin in a classic negroni.  Despite the name, there is absolutely nothing inferior about this cocktail and it magnificently […]

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Nick McAfee
Nick McAfee is a student of Princeton University and is passionate about mixology. As a student with a low monthly income, he has developed ways to create simple cocktails with complex flavors from inexpensive ingredients. Learn more about Nick and Broke & Thirsty.
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