Giancarlo Mancino, International Bartender & Drinks Consultant
What does a negroni mean for you?
It’s the original Italian aperitif. And it’s now the second biggest selling cocktail in the world, after an old fashioned. It’s super popular because there’s so much variation on it – you can use red vermouth or white, sweet, dry, chinato – and almost any gin you like.
Where did you discover it?
Well, I’m Italian so I’ve always known about them. I first tried one about 25 years ago – it was sweet, bitter, strong and I liked it instantly. Years ago, Italians used to drink them to get pissed as they weren’t made with the same balance or lots of ice like they are now. You’d have five or six, and have a big night!
How do you serve it?
Always in a beautiful cut-crystal rocks glass with lots of ice and a huge wedge of orange.
Which gins work best?
For a negroni, it has to be a London dry gin. I like Sipsmith and Berry Brothers & Rudd No. 3.
Any secret tips?
It doesn’t have to be a short drink. Serve in a highball glass and top with tonic or soda water for a longer serve on a hot afternoon.
What’s the difference between a good negroni and a great negroni?
The quality of the vermouth. Personally, I’d recommend buying a bottle of Gordon’s – which works really well in a negroni – rather than a £40-£60 bottle of gin, and then spend more on an excellent vermouth. It’s what makes the biggest difference: you could pour out six different glasses of the same mix of gin and Campari, add a different vermouth to each and you’d have six very different cocktails.
When do you tend to drink one?
It is a classic aperitivo. That said, it really is an anytime drink. I think it always works well after dinner, as the bitterness cuts through and helps digestion. A negroni also goes well with a post-meal cigar or dark chocolate.
GIANCARLO’S ULTIMATE NEGRONI RECIPES
This is something I would love to drink every day with good friends.
- 30ml of gin
- 20ml of Campari
- 50ml of Mancino Vermouth Rosso Amaranto
- 2 dashes of The Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
- 2 dashes of The Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters
- Stir with high-quality ice and strain on the rocks in a rocks glass.
- Garnish with a wedge of orange and grapefruit twist.
This is a slightly lighter version of a classic negroni.
- 30ml of Genever gin
- 25ml of Aperol
- 40ml of Mancino Vermouth Bianco Ambrato
- Stir the ingredients with high-quality ice and strain on the rocks into a rocks glass.
- Garnish with a lemon and orange twist.