We’ll spare you the Negroni Sbagliato’s cute origin story. By now, I think we can all agree that it’d take a monumentally harried bartender in a blindfold to accidentally grab a bottle of prosecco in place of gin. However the drink actually came to be, many of us have undoubtedly stumbled across the oversized version served at its place of birth. At Bar Basso in Milan, the Negroni Sbagliato is ceremoniously trotted out in a goblet the size of a pineapple over an ice cube that would put even the largest craft cubes to shame. It’s a sight to behold.
Like its forebear the Negroni, the sbagliato has ridden the aperitivo wave well beyond Italy’s borders. And just like the Negroni, its simple construction—equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth, topped with prosecco—has yielded countless variations. This stands to reason. The sheer volume of nouveau sbagliatos is a reflection of just how expansive both the vermouth and red bitter aperitivo categories have become—to say nothing of a new, more diverse world of sparkling wines. In fact, the form has been stretched so far that the question of when the drink can no longer reasonably bear the name is a salient one.
But we’re not here to debate—we’re here to drink. Here are a few of our favorite variations on the Milanese classic, each demonstrating how subtle swaps and additions can make it feel new again.