The indisputable poster child of Italianate drinking, the Negroni has enjoyed a success story unlike any other cocktail in the modern era. The bittersweet recipe has become a ubiquitous flavor unto itself, inspiring ice cream, donuts, even lip balm; it’s flowed from communal fountains, and spawned countless variations. Some, like the White Negroni, have gone on to become classics in their own right.
Part of the drink’s success owes, no doubt, to the formula’s inherent mutability. Even within the traditional bounds of the formula, swapping out Campari for any of the dozens of aperitivo liqueurs now on the market yields novel interpretations. Other variations stretch the parameters of the drink even further by marrying the cherry-hued cocktail with an existing template, like the highball or Daiquiri, turning the Negroni tall, tropical and everything in between.
Consider, for example, Orlando Franklin McCray’s White Negroni Highball, which takes the fairer Negroni, albeit with Salers standing in for Suze and blanc vermouth in place of Lillet, and tops the whole thing with tonic water. Chris Amirault’s White Negroni Piña Colada also draws inspiration from the French-leaning Negroni, but steers it toward tropical territory with the addition of pineapple juice and coconut rum. Likewise belonging to the aperitiki canon, The Black Stallion Sets Sail is inspired by the Jungle Bird and consists of equal parts blackstrap rum, Ferrari (Fernet and Campari) and sweet vermouth.
One of the more popular approaches to the Negroni mashup, however, sees the stirred cocktail transformed into a juicy shaken drink. Such is the case in Douglas Derrick’s Negroni Alla Fiama, which adds fresh peach juice for a Bellini-like, breakfast-ready take on the drink. The Cosmogroni, a mashup of a Cosmo and a Negroni, retains the Absolut Citron, orange liqueur and cranberry aspects of the former, but shakes them up with Aperol for an aperitivo-inspired spin. Alec Bales’ More Supreme, meanwhile, hews closely to the Daiquiri blueprint, but a quarter-ounce of Campari is sunk to the bottom of the cocktail for an unexpected last sip. As Bales explains, “the idea was, if I had to have one cocktail right before eating a meal and I couldn’t decide between a Daiquiri and a Negroni.”