Three cheers for Negroni Week, a whole summer week devoted to a single, fabulous cocktail. The trio of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth is in the cocktail hall of fame — it’s sweet and bitter, refreshing and punchy. But it’s also easy to riff on endlessly. Why not add sparkling wine? Beer? Why not slush-ify the whole thing? In honor of Negroni Week, here are three of our favorite summer spins.
Easy: Negroni Sbagliato
Sbagliato (ZBA-lee-ah-toe) means “mistaken”; the story goes that a bartender, when intending to make a Negroni, once reached for Prosecco instead of gin, and a new drink was born. (It’s hard to imagine mistaking clear, juniper-y gin with a sparkling wine unless you’ve really had a few, but no matter.) Some versions keep the 1-1-1 Negroni formula, but we prefer to up the bubbles a bit.
Instructions: In a flute, combine 1 ounce of Campari, 1 ounce of sweet vermouth, and 2 ounces of Prosecco. Garnish with a thin orange peel.
Intermediate: Pilsner Negroni
Let’s take the basic idea of the Sbagliato — but then switch it up with a light, crisp pilsner. Beers have sweet and bitter qualities of their own, and Campari heightens both, blending in seamlessly. Perfect for summer afternoons; it drinks like a beer with a little something mysterious in the background.
Instructions: Pour 1/2 an ounce of Campari and 1/2 ounce of sweet vermouth into a beer glass. Add 8 ounces of chilled pilsner. Garnish with a lemon peel, squeezing over the top to spray its citrus oils everywhere.
Advanced: Frozen Negroni
When we first heard about Negroni slushies a few years ago, all we could think was — how did it take someone so long to come up with this? There’s simply no better summer treat than an ice-cold glass of a pleasingly bitter slushie. Blend up a pitcher and watch them disappear.
Instructions: To make a pitcher of four: In a blender, combine 6 ounces of gin, 4 ounces of Campari, 4 ounces of sweet vermouth, and 4 cups of ice. Blend all that up until slushy; you may need to add more ice. Pour into glasses and garnish with umbrellas and straws, because of course.