Ahh the negroni, such a classic drink. One of the drinks that people either love or give you crazy looks for ordering because “It’s so bitter!”. The drink itself follows a very basic 1-1-1 “equal parts” recipe, comprising of Gin, Sweet Vermouth, and Campari. Obviously a recipe like this opens itself up to countless variations (check out this post from The Straight Up for a barrage of them) I really only have a couple that I use as go-to cocktails.
My first variation is really a modification of the most common negroni variation, the Boulevardier. The Boulevardier switches the gin for bourbon, however if you change that bourbon to rye and go from sweet to dry vermouth, you have yourself an Old Pal. This is a real treat because unlike bourbon, the spicy rye can really shine through and make an excellent drink.
1 oz Rye
1 oz Dry Vermouth
1 oz Campari
My second variation, and my favorite, is to substitute the gin for a nice, smoky mezcal. The only reason this drink works is because of the power of Campari. Without it the strong smoky flavor from the mezcal would overpower everything, but in this case the balance is sublime. I used Briscas blanco for my example below, and it makes it right. Others work, but in this case the strongest and smokiest can be used well to make a memorable drink.
1 oz Mezcal
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Campari