Negroni Week Ends, but Rosemary Negronis Are Forever

a pair of rosemary Negroni cocktails sit alongside a bottle of Rosemary Proof Syrup

Our favorite version of the classic Negroni takes down the bitterness and brings out the herbs

Fall's just starting, and that puts us in the mood for cocktails that are spirit-forward, non-fruity, and a little more sophisticated than our summertime faves. We're talking Old Fashioneds, manhattans, and (drumroll) Negronis.

As it happens, we’re also smack at the end of Negroni Week, a celebration of one of the world’s great cocktails. Timing is everything, people.

The Negroni was created a century ago when an Italian count, Camillo Negroni, asked his bartender to replace the soda water in his favorite cocktail with gin. He had his reasons, and whatever they were, an amazing cocktail was born.

Here’s how to make the classic, textbook Negroni and our favorite version, the rosemary Negroni; a little more about why this cocktail is both widely loved and one of our favorites; and our gin and sweet vermouths of choice. It’s a cornucopia of Negroni delights!

The Negroni Recipes

Classic Negroni

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 oz Campari
  • Orange Peel to Garnish

Steps

  1. Measure the gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari into a mixing glass; add ice and stir until well combined and chilled.
  2. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.
  3. Garnish with orange peel.

Rosemary Negroni

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ oz Gin
  • ½ oz Rosemary Proof Syrup
  • ¾ oz Campari
  • ¾ oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Lemon Twist and/or Rosemary Sprig to Garnish

Rosemary Steps

  1. Measure the gin, Proof Syrup, sweet vermouth, and Campari into a mixing glass; add ice and stir until well combined and chilled.
  2. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.
  3. Garnish as desired.

Variations

Smoked Rosemary Negroni: Using a kitchen torch, heat the rosemary until it smokes and snuff out before serving. 

Less-Citrus-Heavy Negroni: If your rosemary Negroni is still too heavy on the grapefruity, orange-pithy side for your liking, play around with more Rosemary Proof Syrup or less Campari. Make it so you like it. 

The Reasons

Why We Love the Negroni

It's so, so easy. The classic Negroni is an equal-parts cocktail — you pour equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari into a mixing glass with some ice, stir, strain, and sip.

It's bitter and sweet and herbal. Between the gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, the Negroni ticks a whole lot of our favorite flavor boxes.

It uses Campari. We keep Campari around for a lot of cocktailing reasons, but even for an amaro, it's potent stuff. It's also not really drinkable on its own, so any recipe that helps us get through a bottle before it loses its oomph gets a thumbs-up from us.

It's good-looking. Looks aren't everything, but the Negroni's a gorgeous drink — rich, deep red, with that bright slash of orange peel. Fall colors plus fall flavors? We’re in.

Why We Love Our Version Even More

We happen to love rosemary in all its forms, but the way it works in a Negroni is something extra-special.

Even for those who aren't usually wild about rosemary, there's a lot to love here. The woodsy, peppery flavors in Rosemary Proof Syrup play well with the herbs and botanicals in the gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. Meanwhile, the clean, natural sweetness of organic cane sugar takes down the bitterness of Campari just a notch without tipping over into too-sweet territory. If you find classic Negronis too bitter, the rosemary Negroni might be your jam.

What Brands?

Gin: In a Negroni, we like good ol' Beefeater, but also Monkey 47 and The Botanist. Because of everything else going on flavor-wise, the Negroni isn't the fussiest gin cocktail — it works with a whole lot of good-quality gins. Use your favorite, but don’t be afraid to experiment.

Campari: Uh, Campari. This is one of those "if you don't use Brand X, it's not really Cocktail Y" situations.

Sweet Vermouth: Carpano Antica Formula is the winner here. This is The Good Vermouth, and it's got everything you need for a perfect Negroni — complexity, nice botanicals, some nutty-vanilla-cocoa flavors. It stands up to Campari, too, and that's saying something. 

In Conclusion

The Negroni is one of those cocktails enthusiasts love to write about, so there are some fascinating articles about it scattered across the internet. Here are a few good ones:

If you're looking for Negronis 101, try this Liquor.com article.

Imbibe Magazine really kicks out the jams for Negroni Week every year, but they also have some fantastic features about the cocktail — like this bit on how Negronis became popular in the U.S., and this article on riff after riff after riff.  

If Carpano Antica’s not at your local bottle shop, or you just want to experiment, peruse this Vinepair piece

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