Our editors share their favorite recipes
If you love classic menswear, chances are you love the Negroni cocktail as well. Like good style, there is no one way to make a Negroni properly. So in the spirit of unique personal style and expression, we asked our editors to share their best Negroni recipes. We know there’ll be at least one that you love.
Gary Harrison’s Perfectly Timed Negroni
Let me buck an idea to state that to me there is no single perfect Negroni. To have a deep seated preference for one particular recipe is tantamount to confessing that you’d seriously like to own only one watch. I wouldn’t wear a Cartier Tank whilst diving nor a Seamaster to opening night of an opera. The perfect Negroni too depends on timing and circumstances.
In the light of a sunny afternoon, with seemingly endless possibility ahead of me, and warm smiles and food on the way, I often prefer a fresh, vigorous St. John inspired Negroni as a sharpener. 1/2 Tanqueray, 3/10 Punt E Mes, 2/10 Campari and a lemon peel (not orange) for extra fresh bitterness. Served in a large tumbler with lots of ice.
After dusk, full of food and contentment, with Coltrane and Ellington playing on the hi-fi, I always reach for something different. One of my favorites is 1/3 Berry Bros No. 3 Gin, 1/3 Martini Bitter Riserva Speciale, 1/3 Vermouth (Antica Formula or Cocchi Vermouth di Torino depending on what I might of eaten and whether I feel like vanilla or dark chocolate to top it off). Garnished with a dehydrated orange wheel. Served in a DOF glass with single cube of clear ice (made from mineral water).
Drew Chambers’s Four-Ingredient Negroni
1 oz Amass Dry Gin
0.5 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth
0.5 oz Punt e Mes
1 oz Contratto bitter
Combine the above ingredients, stir over ice, serve over a clear cube — I love the Wintersmiths ice makers — and garnish with an orange peel. I find that by splitting the vermouth into these two parts it limits the sweetness and also incorporates all the herbaceousness that makes Punt E Mes so great. I also know that this is sacrilege, but I think Contratto is better than Campari. The Contratto accomplishes the same thing as Campari here, but with a recipe that’s almost as complex as Chartreuse it adds a level of depth that is fantastic. (And I also love that there is no added coloring.)
Finally, I think Amass gin is one of the most interesting new gins of the last several years. There are citrus notes that work well, but also a bit of smoke and spice that makes for a really great sipping gin if you’re interested. And, of course, it also makes a killer Negroni.
Casper Lundmose’s Negroni Vecchio
1 oz. Beefeater gin
1 oz. Vintage Punt E Mes
1 oz. Vintage Campari
Dried orange slice for garnish
If you follow me on Instagram you know that I am a huge Negroni fan. Would a be a self-respecting menswear enthusiast if I wasn’t? I love experimenting with ingredients, proportions, and different variations – however, I never deviate too far from the original.
My favorite is the Negroni Vecchio. (Actually a 2/3 Negroni Vecchio since I’m not using vintage gin.) Over the years, I’ve happened upon a 1980s bottle of Campari as well as a variety of sweet vermouths from the same era with my personal favorite being Punt E Mes.
The 30-plus years of aging gives the spirits a much more complex taste. The Campari, for example, has a much stronger bitterness that I quite like. And the Punt E Mes has lost a bit of its sweetness and taken on a flavor profile that is darker and deeper. As far a gin goes, I generally opt for Beefeater, as I think it’s one of the highest quality bangs for the buck.
Since I really enjoy bitter tastes — I’ll take an IPA over an ale any day of the week — I typically go a little heavier on the Campari compared to the vermouth. But when I’m working with a vintage vermouth, I always go with the classic equal parts measurement.
For garnish, either a fresh slice of orange the “right” way, or a slice of dried orange I keep in my home bar. I like home it adds flavor in the nose as well as to the drink. My top tip – if you come across a vintage bottle, do not surpass the opportunity – it takes your negroni to another level.
Brian Sacawa’s Rich & Classic Negroni
1 oz. Tanqueray London Dry Gin
1 oz. Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
1 oz. Campari
Orange slice, halved, for garnish
I’m a creature of habit. I know what I like and once I’ve dialed that in, it rarely changes. Paradoxically, though, my taste for a particular Negroni recipe ebbs and flows with the season and my taste buds. Plus, with so many possibilities and permutations, I feel like not experimenting from time to time would be doing oneself a disservice. However, when I do dial in a recipe, I tend to stick with it for a good while and this is the one I’ve been favoring recently.
Before getting into the ins and outs of my current favorite Negroni recipe, let’s talk about my previous favorite. Equal parts Beefeater gin, Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth, and Campari. A super classic, no nonsense approach and how every Negroni I’ve ever had in Italy was prepared. And like my Italian bartenders, I didn’t bother measuring anything — eyeball each ingredient right into the glass, add some ice, stir a few times with my finger, and enjoy.
Now, my current favorite recipe. It’s certainly classic, but ratchets a couple things up a notch from the old Beefeater, Martini, Campari stand by. First, the Tanqueray London Dry. In addition to being a more potent potable, it’s got a bigger bite and snap to the flavor profile, which plays nicely with the Campari. That also contrasts extremely well with the Cocchi Vermouth di Torino’s rich flavor and texture — a lot deeper and more complex than Martini & Rossi.
For this recipe, I do break out the mixing glass and jiggers because having tried to eyeball this one a couple times, I can tell you that precision matters here. Stir with ice for 30-seconds, strain into a double Old Fashioned glass over a large ice cube, and garnish with an orange wedge.
Tony Gorga’s Original #Menswear Negroni
1 oz. Monkey 47 Gin
1 oz. Punt E Mes
1 oz. Campari
1 slice Cara Cara orange for garnish
While I’ll make a Negroni with most non-cucumbery gins (Tanqueray is an excellent and readily available one — good choice, Brian), I’ve recently been fancying Monkey 47. It’s definitely pricey, but the subtle balance of citrus and herbal notes complement any good vermouth. For me, though, the vermouth is what gives a Negroni character-and Punt E Mes is exactly the ticket.
It’s rich and thick, with a mouthfeel similar to good balsamic. It can be syrupy, but far from overly sweet. I feel like I’m drinking something substantial, and it’s an excellent companion to a good ribeye on the grill.
As for Campari, I don’t have much experience (or feel like shelling out for) with the vintage goodies. Get me some of the bright red stuff from the local liquor shop and we’re good to go.
My first Negroni had an orange slice, and that’s the way I make them now. I will do a blood orange if I can find it- but the subtle sweetness of the Cara Cara variety works really well. They’re also a good size for glassware.
Quality ice is a supremely underrated component to any cocktail. I’ve got pretty good tap water in my house, but I run it through my Brita filter anyway. I prefer, as well, a round block of ice to a square or multiple cubes. Slower melting equals a less watered-down drink.
As for proportions, I’m a classic equal-parts guy. I mix mine up in batches and stash it in my fridge. It’s a little nod to my late grandfather, whose wife used to keep a jar of his “medicine” (a dry VO Manhattan) in the refrigerator so he could have a half-pour every afternoon. He lived to 101, so I suppose it’s a good practice to follow.
Brad Lanphear’s Shaken, Not Stirred Negroni
1 oz. Tangueray No. Ten
1 oz. Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth
1 oz. Campari
Orange peel for garnish
I like my Negronis extra cold, which makes them that much more refreshing in the warmer months. (However, that’s not to imply they can’t be enjoyed year round…) I happen to be much more particular about the process of making the Negroni than the drink’s actual ingredients. As long as you have Campari, any decent gin and sweet vermouth will do the trick. I happen to have Martini & Rossi along with Tanqueray No. Ten on hand right now, so let’s go with those.
What I am extremely particular about is the ice. It has to be ~1” cubed ice — no chips or crescent shaped ice machine ice. You will need a good old fashioned ice cube tray, which is what you should be using for all your cocktails anyway. If you can find the one of those 1960s style metal lever trays that makes perfect cubes, the kind your grandfather probably used, you’re in business.
The preparation starts with grabbing a large handful of ice then placing it in a large metal cocktail shaker. Next, pour 1 oz. of each ingredient over the ice. Shake vigorously! Then put another, smaller handful of ice in a rocks glass. Strain the shaker into the glass, over the ice. Garnish with an orange peel for an extra dash of citrus and pop of color. Enjoy resplendently.
Steven Elliott’s Mezcal Negroni
1 oz. Del Maguey mezcal
1 oz. Dolin or Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
1 oz. Campari
Orange peel for garnish
Let’s be honest, the classic Negroni recipe is a one that every self-respecting cocktail aficionado should know how to make. While I won’t ever discriminate against the iconic drink, the truth is, I’ve grown a bit bored of them. Maybe it’s the constant idolatry or maybe it’s how after a few too many I feel like absolute death. Damn you, gin!
What I do praise about the Italian-born drink is its balanced 1-1-1 mix of spirit, bitters, and aperitif. I’m not someone who keeps a fully-stocked bar in my home so on a regular day, a cocktail with more than four ingredients doesn’t fit my style, which is one of the reasons I like Negronis.
My favorite interpretation of the Negroni is the mezcal Negroni. What I appreciate about mezcal is the smoky flavor it adds to the mix. Combined with the sweetness of the vermouth and bitter orange flavor of Campari, it’s an easy drinking cocktail that I prefer nine times out of 10.
I like to switch things up a lot and often change out one or all of the three ingredients to get a different flavor profile. Replacing Campari with Zucca amaro, changing up the sweet vermouth or trying a new bottle of mezcal. Each change adds a nuance to the Negroni that keeps it interesting and enjoyable.
Your Favorite Recipe?
Chime in below with your best Negroni recipe!