That canonical expression of strong and stirred, the Negroni has gained a veritable cult status. Built most often (but not always) on an equal-parts formula of gin, sweet vermouth and Campari, this now-ubiquitous template has spurred what seems like an endless number of mutations. Even within the traditional parameters of the drink, variations abound, with several bartenders simply swapping out the traditional Campari for one of the dozens of new Italianate red bitters that have recently come to market. Then there are the drink’s close relatives—the Boulevardier, for instance, which replaces the gin with bourbon, or the White Negroni, made with gin, Suze and Lillet Blanc—which have become tried-and-true modern classics in their own right.
While these riffs might not read as Negronis at first glance, they nevertheless adhere to the bitter, bracing nature of the original. Whether it’s playing with the ratios or introducing new ingredients to the format—fino sherry in Dan Greenbaum’s Remember the Alimony, for example, or crème de cacao in Sarah Morrissey’s Negroni Absinthe—these riffs prove that even in a three-ingredient drink, there’s always room for improvement. Here are our favorites.
A more gin-heavy revision of that classic that dials back on the Campari and sweet vermouth.
A nuanced riff on the mezcal Negroni with a splash of crème de cacao.
Negroni de Nubes
An à la minute rice-wash lends a "delightful creaminess" to this Negroni.
Sour Cherry Negroni
A contemporary spin on the familiar template.
A winning zero-proof take on the Italian classic.
An unexpected spin on the Negroni featuring mezcal, Bonal and Cynar.
Sherry stands in for sweet vermouth and smoky, woodsy Sfumato for Campari in this Mezcal Negroni riff.
Bitter meets tropical.
Actually Good Cranberry Sauce Cocktail
The only cranberry sauce cocktail recipe you need.
This batched version of the classic cocktail takes an unexpected turn by way of a quick infusion in the microwave (yes, the microwave).
A “deep dark Negroni, turned on its head.”
Joaquín Simó's funky spin on the Negroni.
A large format, winterized Negroni.
A Cosmopolitan-Negroni mash-up combining cranberry, Absolut Citron and Aperol.
Frappéd, refreshing and lower-proof than the classic.
Julie Reiner’s Kula Negroni swaps red vermouth for blanc and calls on a strawberry-infused Campari.
Gaz Regan’s Negroni
In this nontraditional take on the Negroni, Jägermeister stands in for Campari.
This Negroni riff calls on CioCiaro and Cardamaro in lieu of sweet vermouth.