The Perfect Negroni Recipe

July 13, 2012 11:11 PM EDT | By Anthony Smith
Negroni (Photo: Creative Commons)

Count Camillo Negroni was probably laughed out of court when he declared that he wanted to find a way to strengthen the Americano, his favorite cocktail, by adding gin to it instead of the soda water that the recipe usually calls for. As the legend goes, Fosco Scarselli, Florentine bartender and enabler extraordinaire, was up for the challenge.

Among the fans of the Count's creation ranks Orson Welles, who, while working on his 1947 film Cagliostro, remarked that "the bitters are excellent for your liver; the gin is bad for you. They balance each other out."

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We'll show you how to achieve that perfect balance with this bittersweet, blood-red, and boisterously strong cocktail. It derives its namesake from the 20th century lush that called for its creation. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the perfect Negroni. Don't let the color fool you: this is as manly a drink as it gets. One sip, and you'll see why.

1. Choose your gin.

You're going to want to pick a gin that's sweet and floral for this. Eschew Bombay Sapphire in favor of a brand like Hendrick's or Beefeater.

2. Choose your sweet vermouth.

Martini & Rossi will do just fine here in a pinch, but I really think that the best negronis come from the best sweet vermouth. I really love Vya Sweet Vermouth for this. Carpano Antica works too.

3. Grab a bottle of Campari.

Nothing more needs to be said here. Grab the bottle of Campari that's been gathering dust.

4. Mix.

Mix equal parts of the drink in a Boston shaker filled with ice.

5. Serve.

Serve the drink neat in a rocks glass.

6. Garnish.

You can either leave the drink as is, squeeze a slice of orange into it, or do what I do:

-Using your zester, remove some of the orange peel.

-Squeeze the orange peel over a lighter to extract some of the orange oil. Be careful.

-Let the toasted orange oil fall into your drink.

-Using a slice of orange, rim the glass with orange juice.

Serve and enjoy.

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