A Complete Negroni Guide: The King of Italian Campari Cocktails

As one of the most delicious, bitter cocktails that Italy has to offer, the Negroni is classed as the king of Italian Campari cocktails!

Simple to make and perfectly balanced, the Negroni is the ultimate Italian aperitif cocktail to enjoy on a warm summer evening just before a meal. Keep reading to find out everything there is to know about the charming Negroni in our complete guide.

What is a Negroni?

Negroni - NIO Cocktails

The famous Negroni is actually a variation on the Americano cocktail, which was originally known as the Milano-Torino because of its origins. Named after its creator, Count Camillo Negroni in Florence, Italy, the Negroni was designed to be a pre-dinner cocktail to stimulate the appetite.

While it remained a quiet classic for almost a century, the Negroni really began to soar in popularity over the last decade. And is now known as one of the best Campari cocktails from Italy! With its striking red appearance, ideal for brightening up any social media feed, and strong, bitter flavours it’s easy to see why people adore this Italian classic.

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The history of the Negroni

Making a Negroni - NIO Cocktails

The Negroni is actually one of the very few classic cocktails from the 20th century where its history is clear and traceable! Created in 1919 at Caffe Casoni in Florence, Italy, Count Camillo Negroni, who had picked up a taste for stronger tipples while working and travelling as a rodeo clown in the American Wild West, asked the bartender, Fosco Scarzelli, to strengthen his favourite cocktail, the Americano.

The bartender swapped the standard soda water for a dash of gin and the beloved Negroni was born. He also added an orange slice rather than a lemon garnish to differentiate the two drinks. Soon enough, everyone was visiting Caffe Casoni for a Negroni cocktail!

After the cocktail's success, the Negroni family were quick to jump on board the trend and founded the Negroni Distillery in Treviso, Italy where they worked hard to produce a pre-made Negroni. This distillery is still open today but is now owned by a different family.

The Negroni is now so popular that it's teamed up with the Martini and the Manhattan to complete the Triple Crown of classic cocktails.

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How to make a Negroni cocktail

Negroni - NIO Cocktails

One of the reasons why the Negroni is so popular is because it’s extremely simple to make as it contains just 3 ingredients. This means that no matter where in the world you are, if you order a Negroni at a bar, you can be confident that you'll be getting a great cocktail!

The Negroni combines equal parts of gin, sweet vermouth and bitter Campari. Mixed in a glass with ice and garnished with an orange slice, or orange peel, you've got yourself a wonderfully refreshing cocktail.

If you plan on making this cocktail yourself at home, you can easily experiment with different gins, vermouths and bitters to create your perfect Negroni. In our opinion, the best gin for a Negroni is the Tanqueray London Dry Gin which is what we use in our ready-to-drink Negroni , for its bold flavour. And the best vermouth to use is either Cocchi Storico Vermouth di Torino or Carpano Antica which are both excellent all-rounders for Negroni cocktails.

What are some Negroni variations?

If the Negroni is too strong, or just not quite to your taste, there are plenty of variations to try.

The NIO Negroni - Our own variation of the classic Negroni includes Angostura Aromatic Bitters along with gin, vermouth and Campari for the ultimate bittersweet flavour.
The Negroni sbagliato - Made in the same way but replaces gin with sparkling white wine or prosecco to make it sweeter.
Americano - The predecessor to the Negroni includes Campari, vermouth and a splash of soda water.
Boulevardier - This cocktail uses whiskey instead of gin.
White Negroni - Lighter in both colour and flavour this cocktail includes gin, Lillet Blanc and Suze liqueur.


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