Classic Negroni with Jigger

Crafting a Campari Negroni – The Most Classic Italian Cocktail

In Cocktail Recipes, Italy by Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Follow our classic Negroni recipe and learn how to make the sophisticated Italian sipper with just five ingredients including ice. Unique for its deep red color and acerbic flavor, a Campari Negroni packs a punch with equal parts of bitter Campari, dry gin and sweet vermouth.

Campari Negroni on Window Sill

Like many, we remember the first time we drank Negronis in Italy.

Our memory involves drinking ruby-red Negronis in Naples as an aperitivo between pizza sessions back in 2012. Initially surprised by the Italian cocktail’s bitterness, we were believers by the time we gulped down the scarlet liquid until ice and orange peel were the only remaining things in our glasses.

Classic Negroni with Orange Twist

Drinking a Campari Negroni is a must during an Italian vacation.

Little did we know that we’d later drink classic Negronis throughout the boot-shaped country from Puglia in the south to Venice in the North. We’ve also imbibed Negronis in European destinations like Turku, Finland.

And why not? This cocktail centenarian is one of the most popular drinks in Italy and the world.

Fun Fact: Beyond the Negroni, signature Italian cocktails include the Americano, Aperol Spritz, Bellini and Hugo.

History of the Negroni

Classic Negroni with Jigger

Although the Negroni was invented in Florence, it’s readily available around the world. We crafted this one at home in Lisbon.

The Negroni is having a moment. It’s the subject of books and has its own dedicated week each year. However, the Negroni’s bitter citrusy flavors are both unique and unforgettable.

According to Italian folklore, Florentine bartender Forsco Scarselli invented the Negroni in 1919 when Camilo Negroni requested an Americano with gin instead of club soda. With the addition of an orange twist, a cocktail icon was born.

Expressing Orange Peel for a Negroni

An orange twist completes a classic Negroni.

No flash in the pan, the Negroni’s popularity was limited to Italy for decades. One could say that the Italians had an amore (love) for amari (bitters) before bitter amaro liqueurs like Averna and Fernet became part of the cocktail zeitgeist.

Today, cocktail connoisseurs drink classic Negronis at bars around the world. They also drink Negroni variations like the White Negroni (Negroni Bianco) with Suze and the Broken Negroni (Negroni Sbagliato) with prosecco.

Pro Tip: Check online for details related to the next Negroni Week. The dates change every year.

What’s in a Classic Negroni?

Negroni Work Station

These simple ingredients and tools are almost all you need to make a classic Negroni at home. All that’s missing is ice chilling in the freezer.

The Negroni’s simple recipe includes equal parts of three liquors – gin, vermouth and Campari – plus ice and a twist of orange. These five items complete the succinct Negrroni ingredient list.

Three Negroni Liquors

Use the best available liquor when you craft a Negroni. We used these bottles to craft our cocktail at home.

We like to use quality liquor when we make Negronis at home and you should do the same. Right now, we have bottles of dry Bombay gin, rosso Martini vermouth and Campari bitters that we bought at a local Lisbon liquor store.

These three bottles cost us 11 €, 9 € and 15 € respectively, though the prices may be different where you live.

Fun Fact: The same Italian liquor conglomerate, Gruppo Campari, produces red Campari and orange Aperol.

Campari – The Negroni’s Essential Ingredient

Pouring Campari into Jigger

It’s not a Negroni without Campari. The Italian liquor provides the drink’s bitter flavor.

Using Milan’s Campari is unnegotiable if you want to craft a truly classic Negroni. Invented in the 19th century and previously colored red with bugs, the bitter aperitif, made with a unique combination of herbs and citrus fruit, is an essential Negroni component.

Negroni Birds Eye View

Red is the new black when it comes to a Campari Negroni.

Don’t be fooled by the Italian liquor’s fun red color – Campari is both strong and bitter. Although Campari closely guards its secret recipe, it’s common knowledge that the Campari recipe includes bitter herbs in addition to alcohol, water, aromatic plants and fruit.

In terms of strength, Campari’s ABV % ranges from 21 to 28.5% around the world. It’s 25% here in Portugal and 24% in the US.

Pro Tip: Don’t worry if you’re a vegetarian or not a fan of eating bugs. Campari no longer uses insects to achieve its distinctive red color.

How to Make a Negroni at Home

Pouring Campari for Negroni

Be careful when you pour the Campari ingredients. You don’t want to lose a precious drop.

Let us cut to the chase. Crafting a classic Negroni is ridiculously easy with just the following three steps.

  1. Mix the three liquors in a rocks glass.
  2. Add ice to the glass. We use jumbo ice cubes since they don’t melt too fast. Plus, they look cool.
  3. Garnish the Negroni with a freshly peeled orange twist.

The only required tools are a jigger, stirring implement and peeler.

Pro Tip: You can alternatively prepare a classic Negroni using a shaker.

Mixing a Campari Negroni

We used a bar spoon to mix this Campari Negroni but any stirring implement will suffice.

Could the classic Negroni recipe be any easier? We think not unless you compare it to opening a bottle of Amarone or Barolo wine. Yes, Italy also produces some of the world’s best wines.

Once you follow our Negroni recipe, all that’s left to do is to pair your creation with snacks like olives and nuts. Better yet, add a meat or cheese plate for a full Italian aperitivo experience.

Negroni on Lisbon Street Close Up

Campari Negroni

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

A Campari Negroni tastes like Italy in a glass. You can make this classic cocktail at home with just a handful of ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz. Campari (1 jigger)
  • 1.5 oz. dry gin (1 jigger)
  • 1.5 oz. sweet red vermouth (1 jigger)
  • orange twist
  • ice, one large cube or a large piece chipped off an ice block

Instructions

  1. Pour Campari, dry gin and sweet red vermouth into a glass.
  2. Stir gently.
  3. Add ice.
  4. Express the orange peel by twisting it over the glass and rubbing it along the rim. Then drop it into the glass as garnish.

Notes

  • Serve Negroni in a low ball or rocks glass.
  • As an option, shake the Negroni and serve in a coupe or martini glass.
  • Use a 1:1:1 ratio if you modify the serving size.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 356Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 7mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 3gSugar: 27gProtein: 1g

Nutrition Disclosure: We used an online calculator to calculate this information. Though 2foodtrippers.com has attempted to secure accurate data, these nutritional figures are estimates.

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Thirsty for more global cocktails? Check out our Bee’s Knees, Caipirinha, French 75, Mauresque and Porto Tonico recipes.


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About the Author

Saveur Magazine's BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

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