The venerated Negroni has introduced a whole new generation to the acrid beauty of Campari, and other bitter citrus apéritif like Gran Classico or Luxardo. That said, it's not the end of the story – the Negroni is simply the first step on a journey of bitter delights.
Read on for some of our favorite alternatives to your usual Negroni!
For all of these drinks, you'll need to get out your favorite bitter citrus apéritif. Campari is de rigueur for most of these, but you can broaden your horizons with alternatives, like Cappelletti Aperitivo Americano or the lovely bitter made by Leopold Bros.
We also classify Aperol as a bitter citrus apéritif - it's much sweeter, but it still relies on a fairly bitter profile. If you can't quite stand Campari, try any of these drinks with Aperol and see if it isn't a bit more to your liking. And if that still doesn't do the trick, read on for some white Negroni riffs!
There's nothing that wakes up that bitter citrus flavor like a little fizziness. Swap out the gin for some sparkling wine for a Negroni Sbagliato, or sparkling water for an Americano. For the ultimate in simplicity, the Campari Aranciata only needs orange soda in addition to the eponymous liqueur. Stray even further off the beaten path by adding grapefruit juice and a smidge of blackberry jam for a Blackberry Spritz, a wonderful recipe from the James Beard Foundation.
Play with the base
Drop out the Negroni's gin and swap in bourbon, and you've got yourself the classic Boulevardier. Add a couple dashes of chocolate bitters, and it's a Left Hand. Use coffee liqueur instead of the bitters makes it an Other Left, or rum instead of bourbon for a Right Hand.
Real citrus juice can't help but punch up the citrus flavors of your chosen apéritif. Lemon juice and a touch of triple sec gets you a Jasmine. Vodka and grapefruit juice makes an Astor Martini, or use tequila instead of vodka for a 212.
Try it white
There are even some wonderful Negroni riffs that maintain that lovely bitter character without Campari (et. al.), or sweet vermouth. The White Negroni keeps it bitter with a gentian liqueur like Suze or Bonal, while the Negroni Bianco goes in a sweeter direction with floral blanc vermouth and a white wine apéritif like Cocchi Americano or Lillet Blanc.