Looking for a new cocktail to try out this weekend? Want to wind down with a fresh new drink? We’ve got you covered. Here’s what you should drink this weekend.
As bitter Italian spirits have climbed in popularity these past few years, so too have their cocktails. The spritz was a hot topic of debate recently, the refreshing Americano has been popping up on summer cocktail menus, and the Negroni is arguably one of the most beloved cocktails in the world right now. The simple, three-ingredient cocktail is easy to make and a fantastic drink to have in one’s arsenal.
Bitter, refreshing, bracing, and delicious, the Negroni has had many riffs and slight alterations resulting in cocktails that develop their own cult following. The Negroni Sbagliato is an even more refreshing alternative to this boozy Italian masterpiece. And the Boulevardier is a close relative of the Negroni.
This weekend in particular is a great occasion to whip up a few Negronis. The double-header of a Super Bowl on Sunday and Valentine’s Day Monday means you’ll want some simple yet refined drinks for friends and your partner. The beauty of a good Negroni is that it’s elegant enough to be served with a fancy dinner and simple enough to sate football fans alongside a plate of nachos. So, we’d recommend memorizing the basic Negroni recipe.
Campari – It all starts with the classic bitter Italian aperitivo. Most Negroni recipes specifically call for Campari but you could swap in just about any bitter red aperitivo. Aperol could work in a pinch but we’d suggest sticking with Campari or opting for some American alternatives like Forthave Spirits Red Aperitivo, St. Agrestis Inferno Bitter, or Don Ciccio & Figli Cinque Aperitivo.
Sweet Vermouth – Make sure you opt for sweet vermouth in this recipe rather than dry or blanc vermouth. The sweetness will balance out the bracing bitterness of the Campari or whatever aperitivo you end up using. Plus the vibrant red color adds to the beautiful presentation of the cocktail. Martini & Rossi Rosso Sweet Vermouth is a solid reliable option but you can upgrade here with Lo-Fi Aperitifs Sweet Vermouth, Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth, or Cocchi Storico Vermouth di Torino.
Gin – Rounding out your Negroni is the humble gin. Most bartenders would tell you not to fuss over the gin in your Negroni, but that depends on your appreciation for the botanical spirit. I tend to rely on whatever I have handy like Tanqueray London Dry Gin or Beefeater London Dry Gin. Green Hat Gin or Ivy City Gin are great craft alternatives, too.
A classic Negroni is made with equal proportions of ingredients so follow a 1:1:1 approach here. An ounce is usually a good starting point but dial it up or down depending on how you’re feeling. Also, while it doesn’t follow the traditional recipe, you can alter the proportions of your Negroni if, for example, someone isn’t a huge fan of gin.
Combine an ounce each of Campari, sweet vermouth, and gin in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until chilled, about 20 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with an orange slice, peel, or twist. Enjoy!