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Negroni Sbagliato

Negroni Sbagliato

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1 rating

September 30, 2011


Maryse Chevriere

Darryl Robinson, host of the Cooking Channel's "Drink Up," and Dutch Kills' Richie Boccato, served up this bubbly take on the classic Negroni at the 2011 New York Wine & Food Festival's Meatball Madness event.




  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 ounce prosecco
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • Ice
  • Orange rind, for garnish


Add the liquid ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir. Strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice to serve and garnish with an orange rind.


Negroni Sbagliato

Like all good stories should, the one about the Negroni’s origin involves rakish Italian nobility. Most accounts credit the recipe to one Count Negroni, a swashbuckling proto-boho who reportedly spent time as a rodeo cowboy in the United States. Compounding his wild ways, legend has it that back at a bar in Italy in 1919, he asked for a something like an Americano, but boozier. Swap gin for soda water, and presto, the Negroni. The sbagliato addendum translates to “incorrect” or “mistaken.” The Negroni’s spritzy cousin, the Sbagliato subs prosecco in for gin, creating a buoyantly bitter Italian aperitivo drink.


Step 1

Pour Prosecco into an ice-filled large wine or rocks glass. Add vermouth and Campari and top off with club soda. Gently stir together garnish with lime wheel.

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Infused Negroni Sbagliato

  • 6 cl (2 fl. oz.) Prosecco or dry spumante
  • 6 cl (2 fl. oz.) red vermouth
  • 6 cl (2 fl. oz.) rosemary-infused Campari (see procedure above)
  • ice cubes
  • a slice of orange
  • a sprig of rosemary
  • a couple of basil leaves

The drink is made in the glass, in a standard cocktail tumbler. First put in the ice cubes, then add the rosemary-infused Campari, the red vermouth and the prosecco or dry spumante, in that order. Drop in the sprig of rosemary, add the slice of orange (Roberto uses a partially desiccated one for artistic effect), and garnish with the basil leaves.

How to make a Negroni sbagliato (basic steps)

The Negroni is so easy to make and memorize: use just 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of each of the elements above. You don’t even need a cocktail shaker. Simply stir it together in a cocktail mixing glass, or any glass you have on hand. Here are the basic steps to make it (or go to the recipe below):

  • Mix. Add the ingredients to a mixing glass with 1 handful of ice and stir for 30 seconds. This chills the cocktail and dilutes it less than shaking in a cocktail shaker would.
  • Strain and serve. Strain into a lowball or Old Fashioned glass filled with ice.

The Lighter Take On The Negroni: Classic Negroni Sbagliato Cocktail

Of the many things we feel they just do better in Italy, aperitivo would be high on the list. The Italian equivalent of happy hour, aperitvo is a p.

Of the many things we feel they just do better in Italy, aperitivo would be high on the list. The Italian equivalent of happy hour, aperitvo is a place where some of the most classic drinks in the Italian cocktail canon are put in the spotlight and served with small but delicious bites ranging from potato chips to focaccia.

Classic Italian Cocktails

When it comes to aperitvo drinks, we're partial to the classic Italian cocktails, a lot of the classic cocktails revolve around the sweet-bitter liquor that is Campari. And while the most popular Campari cocktail around -- the classic Negroni Cocktail -- hails from Florence, the spirit itself was created by Davide Campari in Novara, Italy (near Turin).

And, fittingly, the whole concept of aperitivo is said to come from the same corner of the country, which is probably why, of all the activities on our group trips to Italy, we are partial to the cocktail crawl we do in Milan. And, of all the drinks that come from Milan, our favorite is the Negroni Sbagliato.

The Origin Of The Negroni Sbagliato Cocktail

Cocktail folklore has it that this drink, the Negroni Sbagliato, is a mistake or messed up (aka sbagliato) take on the classic cocktail the Negroni.

Whereas the Negroni is a mix of gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari cocktail, it's said that the owner and head bartender at Milan's Bar Basso created the Negroni Sbagliato when he used brut sparkling wine instead of gin.

The result is a cocktail that's sort of a mash up of the Classic Spritz and a Negroni Cocktail and, to us, it's like the goldilocks of cocktails -- not too sweet, not too strong, and just right!

The Negroni Sbagliato

Until just a few years ago, the negroni was an insiders' secret. The classic Italian cocktail--equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, allegedly invented in 1919 and named for Count Camillo Negroni--was a secret handshake, a sign to bartenders that you knew what you liked, and how to order it.

"The negroni is simple yet complex in flavor, polarizing and made with a triumvirate of ingredients that add up to more than the sum of their parts," says self-declared negroni freak Naren Young of Saxon + Parole in New York.

Its simplicity has also made it something of a blank canvas for bartenders across the country, whose variations go far beyond the basic, involving rum, bourbon, and a panoply of esoteric liqueurs and aperitifs that have recently come onto the U.S. market. The progenitor of all these twists is the negroni sbagliato, a variation made with prosecco instead of gin that, the origin story goes, was a happy accident, says Jacques Bezuidenhout, the master mixologist for Kimpton Hotels.

"My friend Livio Lauro tells the story that a bartender in Milan [at the famed Bar Basso] mistakenly grabbed the prosecco instead of the gin," Bezuidenhout says. "An apprentice may have switched a couple of bottles around, so when the head bartender grabbed what would normally be gin, something else was in hand. When you are a busy bartender, anything can happen."

But rather than send back the incorrect--or, in Italian, sbagliato--cocktail, Bezuidenhout says, "the guest approved of the taste before it was too late to take it away."

Saxon + Parole's Young says that's no surprise. "The sbagliato is one of the greatest brunch or 'sundowner' drinks you will ever put to your lips," he tells me.

These days, American bartenders are adding Domain de Canton ginger liqueur or Gran Classico bitter instead of Campari, swapping in mezcal for gin, adding blood-orange juice for a dash of citrusy sweetness. Young has even started bottling versions of the drink at Saxon + Parole, while the head barkeep at another New York bar is barrel-conditioning his twist on the negroni.

Whatever the contemporary spin, the combination of Campari and sprezzatura is what keeps all these variations in the negroni family, bartenders say.

"For me it's all about the Campari and that connection to Italy that makes a negroni," says Kenneth McCoy, a co-proprietor of New York's Ward III cocktail bar. "The two are synonymous, like Guinness and Ireland."

Experimenting at home is also quite easy. My own happened, as is almost always the case, out of necessity. Holiday entertaining had depleted my supply of sweet vermouth, but I still had a stock of Death's Door Gin and a bottle of Campari handy. Mixing them with a bit of San Pellegrino's grapefruit soda--which amplified the flavors of the Campari--rounded out the refreshing yet sturdy cocktail.

To call my creation a negroni sbagliato wouldn't be quite right, though: It had gin but no prosecco. And so, drawing inspiration from the text on the side of the soda can, I dubbed it the negroni sbagliato sbagliato, deploying the Italian language tick that turns the repetition of the word "broken" into an emphatic boast.

Broken it may have been, but for me, it was just right--and much more than the sum of its parts. **

Nigella Lawson’s Favorite Cocktail Is Perfect for Summer

It’s finally, finally starting to feel like spring out there, and that means it’s almost outdoor-dining season. Or maybe we should call it Nigella Lawson season, because her new show, At My Table, features one of the most gorgeous alfresco dining setups I’ve ever seen, with a walled garden full of twinkly lights and a heavy wooden table big enough to seat 20 if they squeezed in. (OK, it’s a TV studio, but so is the White House on Scandal, and you can’t convince me Olivia Pope isn’t real.)

Summer dinner party season requires a roster of good cocktail recipes, and according to Good Housekeeping UK, Nigella’s go-to drink is a cinch for parties. In a recent Twitter Q&A, a fan asked her for her favorite cocktail, and she reported that her favorite drink is a twist on the classic Negroni called a Negroni Sbagliato.

A classic Negroni is made with equal parts Campari, red vermouth, and gin, but the “Sbagliato” version switches the gin for sparkling wine. It’s an effervescent blend of sweet and bitter that’s perfect for sipping outdoors when you’re relaxing in Italy, or anytime you just want to pretend you’re doing that (which is most times for me).

“Sbagliato” means “bungled,” and legend holds the Negroni Sbagliato was born at the legendary Bar Basso in Milan when a bartender accidentally poured Prosecco into a Negroni instead of gin, and the mistake turned out to be a fizzy delight. (Adding Champagne to things is rarely a bad idea.)

Nigella appears to make her “bungled Negronis” by the batch, suggesting that a person take one bottle of Prosecco and add 1 1/3 cups of Campari and 3/4 cup of very good red vermouth. That’d be very convenient for groups, because you could make it all at once and pour it out for guests, or even put it in a punch bowl.

Depending on personal tastes, you can vary the proportions of a Negroni Sbagliato dramatically. Nigella seems to like hers on the bitter side, with more Campari than vermouth, while other recipes call for equal parts of all three ingredients, like in a regular Negroni. Experimentation is clearly in order — good thing it’s the season for it!

Negroni Sbagliato - Recipes

3 oz (or so) Prosecco or another dry sparkling wine

In a chilled rocks glass, combine the Campari and sweet vermouth. Add ice and briefly stir. Top with Prosecco and stir gently once or twice more and garnish with an orange peel.

Sbagliato Rosa - and Other Variations

Like the Negroni, the Sbagliato is tailor-made for plug and play. Change up the vermouth portion for another fortified wine and use another bitter liqueur, aka amaro, in for the Campari and chances are you'll hit on something that works. Lighter aperitif style fortified wines and bitter liqueurs work particularly well, such as Aperol, white/blanc vermouth, Lillet Blanc/Rosé, Cocchi Americano/Rosé, Cappelletti.

Here&rsquos one that I did for Clover Club&rsquos menu a couple years back. It&rsquos one of my favorite cocktails that I&rsquove personally created, despite being among the simplest. Any of those ingredients I just mentioned above can be substituted in here.

1 oz Cocchi Rosa - can also use Lillet Rosé or Lillet Blanc

1 oz Cappelletti - can also use Aperol

3 oz sparkling rosé - prosecco works too

orange and grapefruit peels - for garnish

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If you make a Negroni Sbagliato or Rosa,

let me see! Tag a photo with @ socialhourcocktails on Instagram.

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The Sbagliato Rosa, an all-things-pink riff on the Sbagliato. Lighter, with ripe and dark fruit flavors, finishing decidedly dry and delightfully bitter, naturally.

Blush Negroni Sbagliato

This Negroni Sbagliato is full of flavor with sweet vermouth, Campari, tonic water and topped with the brand new Spritzed Rosé Moscato. A refreshing and tasty summer wine spritzer!


  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth (we used a rouge)
  • .50 oz Campari
  • 3 oz CK Mondavi Spritzed Rosé Moscato
  • 1 oz tonic water (we used elderflower tonic)


  1. Combine sweet vermouth and Campari in a glass wtih ice. Stir to combine.
  2. Top with Spritzed Rosé Moscato and tonic water.
  3. Serve with an orange peel or mint sprig if you have it.
  4. Cheers!

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Watch the video: Cocktail Negroni


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