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Classic Negroni Cocktail Recipe

Okay, so I’ve been REALLY busy with finishing up our book so I’m going to be posting sporadically all this month. Like maybe 2-3 times total. However, what I am very excited to bring you this week is a classic Negroni cocktail recipe. Not only is the Negroni my favorite cocktail, hands-down, but this week (June 2-8) is also Negroni Week so I’d have been completely remiss had I skipped out on this one. Let’s start first with what Negroni Week is then we’ll dive deeper into the actual cocktail itself.

The Classic Negroni Cocktail Recipe

Negroni Week – Get involved!

Negroni Week is a nationwide effort that has restaurants and bars raising money for local charities. It’s brought to us by Imbibe Magazine and Campari, one of the key ingredients in a Negroni. At the time I published this article, 1,223 bars and restaurants around the country are participating. They’ve all pledged to donate at least $1 from each Negroni served in their establishments this week to a local charity.

Here in New Orleans, thanks to the efforts of Tales of the Cocktail organization and New Orleans’s chapter of the US Bartender’s Guild, most of the restaurants and bars are raising money for the New Orleans Musician’s Assistance Foundation (NOMAF), specifically for their Safe Sounds hearing loss prevention program. NOMAF CEO/President Bethany Bultman explained this well:

“The funds raised through this program will benefit the NOMAF Safe Sounds program, which among other things, provides hearing tests, equipment, and guidance for safe decibel exposure in bars and restaurants. The goal of Safe Sounds is to promote rich sound experiences, not loud, with no degradation in quality.”

I love that our collective local New Orleans charity is NOMAF. If nothing else, New Orleanians love two things: music and cocktails. Therefore, it’s a natural fit that musicians would be the beneficiaries of the Negroni Week fundraising. Many bars and restaurants rely on musicians to bring in patrons. It’s nice to see everyone working together to make sure that our musicians are well taken care of. For years many of them have languished when it came to affordable access to healthcare and hearing tests, but through the efforts of non-profits like NOMAF and awareness/fundraising activities like Negroni Week, we’re finally making some progress here.


As I said, this program is nationwide so check out the Negroni Week website’s list of participating bars and restaurants to see how you can get involved in your city. Each restaurant or bar has its own beneficiary, but like New Orleans, other cities have rallied efforts toward one charity in particular.

The Negroni Cocktail – Explained

So, of course, I wouldn’t just write about the event and not bring you the recipe. That’s just not how I roll. Also, I’ve been wanting to put a Negroni recipe here on Culicurious for a while now, and this just seemed like the perfect opportunity. While the Negroni Week organizers are encouraging bartenders to come up with creative versions of the Negroni, I decided to go classic. Old school. Because that’s how I prefer my Negroni!

The Classic Negroni Cocktail Recipe

So what is a Negroni? A Negroni an apéritif, meaning it’s best enjoyed before a meal, that consists of equal parts London dry-style gin, red vermouth, and Campari. All of this is mixed and served either “up” or “on the rocks” with an orange peel garnish. Personally, I prefer my Negroni “on the rocks.” I pretty much prefer EVERY cocktail I have on the rocks – even my martinis (dirty, extra olives, with gin, no vodka, please). “Up” cocktails typically get warm too fast for me plus I don’t mind the ice melting and diluting the cocktail a little. If nothing else, it helps the drink last longer. I especially like ice in a Negroni because otherwise, it’s 100% alcohol in this drink. Potent stuff!

The Classic Negroni Cocktail Recipe

I fell in love with the Negroni first because of my love of Campari and then second because of my love of gin. Campari is bitter and slightly sweet liqueur that tastes like it’s citrus-based. They’re pretty cagey about the actual formula of course, so I don’t really know what’s in it. Their website has this to say about it: “Campari is the result of the infusion of herbs, aromatic plants and fruit in alcohol and water; these last two being the recipe’s only known ingredients.” See, I told you…

My friend Christina first introduced me to this mystical elixir mixed with tequila, which is another common use for Campari. Overall, it’s quite a versatile liqueur for cocktail lovers, if you’re a fan of bitter, citrusy stuff, as I am. Once I found out that a Negroni was Campari, gin, and red vermouth, I just had to try it. And of course, I loved it! It’s pretty much my go-to drink now in restaurants…

The Classic Negroni Cocktail Recipe

… Which brings me to a funny story. This past December when we were driving (more like riding in the back seat) home from upstate New York right before Christmas, we stopped in Knoxville over night. We stayed somewhere right off the interstate, nothing fancy but a pretty nice hotel overall. For dinner we ate at this little restaurant, whose name I won’t mention and you’ll see why. The meal was lovely, and after dinner, Jeremy’s parents and his brother went back to the hotel, but we stayed a while at the restaurant’s bar. I wasn’t feeling like a beer so I decided to order a cocktail. When I asked the bartender for a Negroni, she was like, “What’s that?” I quickly remember I wasn’t in New Orleans, and I explained to her what it was. Of course they had all the ingredients for it, and she was happy to make it for me. She just needed a little tutorial. Ahhhh, liquid refreshment, even in the middle of Tennessee. (Shout out to my friend P from The Saucy Southerner as the Knoxville area is her stomping grounds).

Finally, one last little tip for you: If you’ve ever wondered how bartenders get that cute little shave of orange peel without much pith, you’re wondering days are over. It’s very simple – use a sharp vegetable peeler to shave the peel off the surface of the orange. Below is a picture of the finished product. Be sure not to press down too hard so that you can get minimal pith. The drink is already bitter enough from the Campari, you don’t need more bitterness from orange pith. Plus, the pith makes for a less attractive garnish in the end.

The Classic Negroni Cocktail Recipe

So what about you? Are you a fan of the Negroni cocktail? Any plans to get one this week in your home city? Let me know what you think the comments below. I’m curious! 🙂

Yield: 1 cocktail

Classic Negroni Cocktail Recipe

This classic Negroni cocktail recipe is a real winner. It's a simple mix of gin, Campari and red vermouth. It's potent and delicious!


  • Ice cubes
  • 1 fluid ounce London dry-style gin
  • 1 fluid ounce Campari
  • 1 fluid ounce red semi-sweet vermouth
  • Orange peel


  1. Fill a rocks glass with ice.
  2. Pour in the gin, Campari and vermouth.
  3. Stir gently and garnish with an orange peel section.
  4. Enjoy!

The Negroni is an official IBA cocktail. This recipe is informed by their guidelines.

Prep:5 min

Total:30 min

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