What’s Next After the Negroni? Alternatives to the Classic Bitter Cocktail

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!
Rosé Negroni
Rosé wine, Rosé wine apéritif, Bitter orange apéritif...
Bourbon, Bitter orange apéritif, Sweet vermouth...
Aged tequila, Sweet orange apéritif, Grapefruit...
Blackberry Spritz
Bitter orange apéritif, Grapefruit, Berry jam...
Negroni Bianco
Gin, White wine apéritif, Blanc vermouth...
Campari Aranciata
Bitter orange apéritif, Orange soda,
Right Hand
Aged rum, Sweet vermouth, Bitter orange apéritif...
Left Hand
Bourbon, Sweet vermouth, Bitter orange apéritif...
Other Left
Bourbon, Bitter orange apéritif, Sweet vermouth...
Gin, Lemon, Bitter orange apéritif...
Negroni Sbagliato
Sweet vermouth, Bitter orange apéritif, Sparkling white wine...
White Negroni
Gin, Gentian liqueur, Dry vermouth...
Astor Martini
Vodka, Bitter orange apéritif, Grapefruit...
Bitter orange apéritif, Sweet vermouth, Sparkling water...

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!

Get fizzy

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. Or go all-in on rosé with the Rosé Negroni, featuring three types of rosé wine!

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.

Add citrus

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.



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