Sipping off the Beaten Track: Negroni twists you need to try

Sipping off the Beaten Track: Negroni twists you need to try

Posted by Spirits Kiosk on 16 Jul 2023

The Negroni — as Italian as a summer's day in Florence and as reliable as an old friend. It's the time-tested trinity of ginvermouth, and Campari that dances on your taste buds, each equal part adding to the harmony. 

But what if we told you there's more to the Negroni story than its well-tread, equal-part narrative? What if a bit of disruption that harmony creating something just as spectacular.

Even more so when you go rogue and go beyond quantities and swap some ingredients around…

Today, we raise a toast to the daredevils, the mavericks, and the adventurous souls who, like us, believe in stepping away from the safe confines of the classics to explore the tantalising and enigmatic wilderness of flavour.

Here are three remixes on the beloved Negroni; each certain to imbue your palate with a sense of intrigue and, dare we say, provide an nice break from the stringent orthodoxy of the equal-parts Negroni.

Meet the boisterous Negroni Sbagliato, who, with its bubbly prosecco charm, humbly invites us to a spirited ‘festa’. Then there's the smoky, edgy Mezcal Negroni that swaps London Dry Gin for the seductive, intoxicating allure of agave. And finally, we invite you to venture into the realm of the avant-garde with fruit-infused Campari in an Strawberry Negroni, a summer dream that promises a symphony of flavours.

Prepare to meet the audacious members of the Negroni family who are keen to remind us all: in the world of discerning drinking, rules are there to be expertly twisted, turned and sometimes — in the name of delicious discovery — entirely forgotten.

The Negroni Sbagliato

In Italian, "sbagliato" translates to "mistaken" or "wrong" – a word that conjures up images of botched experiments and misadventures. However, when it comes to the Negroni Sbagliato, it's a delicious reminder that sometimes mistakes can lead to the most delightful of creations.

The Negroni Sbagliato was born in the 1970s at the famed Bar Basso in Milan. The bar's owner, Mirko Stocchetto, allegedly reached for a bottle of prosecco instead of gin while making a classic Negroni. He decided to serve the "mistaken" concoction anyway, and it was a hit. 

The lighter, bubblier version of the classic Negroni took off, and the Sbagliato has been a beloved staple on bar menus ever since.

Negroni Sbagliato Recipe

30ml Campari

30ml sweet vermouth

30ml Prosecco


Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice.

Add the Campari and sweet vermouth.

Top with Prosecco and gently stir to combine.

Garnish with a half-wheel of orange or a lemon twist.

Tips to make a great Negroni Sbagliato:

Always chill your Prosecco before making the cocktail to ensure that it remains refreshing and effervescent.

While the standard recipe calls for equal parts, feel free to adjust the ratios to your liking. Add more Prosecco for a bubblier drink, more Campari for a bitter edge, or more vermouth for extra sweetness.

This is a simple cocktail to assemble, but using high-quality ingredients will significantly elevate the result. Opt for a decent bottle of Prosecco and a vermouth you enjoy.

So, there you have it, the charming tale of the Negroni Sbagliato. A happy accident, a delightful mistake, and a testament to the serendipitous surprises that the Aperitivo hour has to offer.

The Mezcal Negroni

This is a straight forward substitution at first sight, but it is an audacious remix on the classic to taste, replacing the resinous charm of gin with the wild spirit of mezcal. This cocktail is a bold maverick, sizzling with a smokey edge, sure to set alight the taste buds of even the most seasoned Negroni drinkers.

Mezcal, the mystical spirit of Mexico, is distilled from the heart of the agave plant. With its diverse flavour profiles ranging from sweet to earthy, herbal, grassy, citrus and smoke it's no wonder that this fiery spirit has found a place in the modern mixologist's repertoire. 

By swapping gin for mezcal in a Negroni, we replace the bright, botanical notes of gin with a complex smoke and cooked agave, balancing the sweetness of the vermouth and the bitterness of the Campari in a uniquely alluring way.

Mezcal Negroni Recipe

25ml mezcal

30ml Campari

30ml sweet vermouth


Combine mezcal, Campari, and vermouth in a mixing glass filled with ice.

Stir until the outside of the glass is frosty, about 30 seconds.

Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice.

Garnish with an orange twist.

Tips to make a delicious Mezcal Negroni:

Experiment with different mezcals to find one that suits your taste. The flavour can greatly influence the overall taste of the cocktail, so select a mezcal that you would enjoy sipping neat. Not all are smokey and the agave varietal makes a huge impact so look at what's being used - be it TobalaEspadin etc.

Mezcal changes a lot when you add dilution, so this is a Negroni that will evolve over time as the ice melts in your glass. Campari is an equal partner at first, but more water in the mix makes smoke easier to detect and more pronounced, allowing the Mezcal to build its presence in your glass as you sip. If it blooms too much for you, reduce the Mezcal amount by 5ml in the recipe.

Suspend your disbelief! There’s a beautiful paradox at play with this combo too - Mezcal and the Negroni have long stood as iconoclasts in the vast world of spirits and cocktails, each a challenge to the uninitiated with their robust, no-holds-barred profiles. Mezcal, with its smoky essence and earthy undertones, seems to divide opinions into love or loathe with a single sip. Likewise, the Negroni, with its bitter and complex allure, can come off as an enigma, something to be decoded and understood rather than merely tasted. 

Both are distinct, strong, rather uncompromising – they polarise opinion.

Yet, when these two seemingly disparate worlds collide in the Mezcal Negroni, a curious transformation takes place. Suddenly, the bitter becomes balanced, the smoke becomes symphony, and the lines of division blur into a compelling concoction that both mezcal and Negroni enthusiasts find impossible to resist.

In the most surprising twist, this meeting of mavericks forms a gateway, a portal that opens doors for lovers of one to explore the nuances of the other. And isn't that the most delightful paradox of the cocktail world?

The notion that two polarising elements, when harmoniously combined, create an unlikely but utterly irresistible invitation to venture deeper into the vast world of spirits. Call it a gateway, call it a bridge, or call it a delicious defiance - trust us when we say that the Mezcal Negroni is your ticket to uncharted territories of taste.

Strawberry Negroni

Not convinced that subbing out Gin is the way forward in either the form of Prosecco or Mezcal? Here’s a summer twist to try instead.

The perfect solution to mellowing Campari's assertive bitterness while keeping its signature charm is introducing it to the sweet allure of freshly picked strawberries. This infusion creates a beautifully balanced, fruit-forward symphony of flavours that will breathe a fresh gust of summer into your Negroni. 

The delicate sweetness of the strawberries adds a delightful counterpoint to Campari's inherent bitterness, making it more accessible, especially to those new to the world of aperitifs. To make one, you'll need one punnet of fresh strawberries and 1/2 a bottle Campari.

Instructions for a Campari infusion:

Rinse the strawberries and hull them, removing the green tops.

Cut the strawberries into halves or quarters, depending on their size.

Place the cut strawberries in a clean, large glass jar.

Pour the Campari over the strawberries, ensuring they are fully submerged.

Seal the jar tightly and let it sit in a cool, dark place for 3 to 7 days. The longer it sits, the more intense the strawberry flavour will become. Don't add sugar - this isn't making a liqueur, or syrup, it's about twisting Campari with singular intentions...

After the infusion period, strain out the strawberries, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible.

Pour the infused Campari back into a clean, airtight bottle. Store in the fridge.

Tips to step up your game:

When choosing strawberries, opt for the ripest, sweetest ones you can find. The better the quality of your fruit, the better your infusion will be. 

If you want to add an extra tone to the drink, drop in a couple pink peppercorns to add to the complexity.

Don't discard the strawberries post-infusion! They make a boozy treat and can be used in desserts (stir them into greek yogurt and freeze them), or muddled into the bottom of a cocktail.

Remember to gently shake the jar once a day during the infusion process to help mix the flavours.

With your strawberry-infused Campari in hand, your Negronis are about to get a summer makeover. This infusion will imbue your classic Negroni with a nuanced, fruit-forward character that is as exciting as it is delicious.

Your turn!

Are you ready to push boundaries and challenge norms? We've taken a trusted companion, the iconic Negroni, and introduced you to both old and new twists, delighting in the dance of mixing the familiar with novel flavours.

Each of these variants offers a unique exploration of the drink, from the effervescent to the smoky, from the sweetly seasonal to the bold and daring. So why not step away from the beaten path? You might just stumble upon a new favourite..