A Complete Negroni Guide: The King of Italian Campari Cocktails

A Complete Negroni Guide: The King of Italian Campari Cocktails

As one of the most delicious, bitter cocktails that Italy offers, 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, known initially 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 it 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 flavors, 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 transparent and traceable! Created in 1919 at Caffe Casoni in Florence, Italy, Count Camillo Negroni, who had picked up a taste for more potent tipples while working and traveling as a rodeo clown in the American Wild West, asked the bartender, Fosco Scarzelli, to strengthen his favorite 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 quickly jumped 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 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 the Negroni is so famous is that it's straightforward 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 we use in our ready-to-share Negronfor its bold flavor. And the best vermouth to use is either Cocchi Storico Vermouth di Torino or Carpano Antica, both excellent all-rounders for Negroni cocktails.

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What are some Negroni variations?

There are plenty of Negroni 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 flavor.
  • 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 color and flavor, this cocktail includes gin, Lillet Blanc, and Suze liqueur.


Would you like to taste other Italian Cocktails? Then, take a look at our list and enjoy the most exciting cocktails.