The Negroni dates back to the early 20th century, when it was supposedly concocted by an Italian count in Florence. That lengthy history has provided plenty of time for bartenders to experiment with the classic recipe of equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari. Some choose to sub gin for another spirit, while others incorporate different fortified wines and bitter components. Chef and bar pro Kathy Casey makes the drink her own by adding fresh ruby red grapefruit.
Casey’s Grapefruit Negroni sticks with gin, sweet vermouth and Campari, but it tweaks the ratio, calling for more gin and less Campari. This adjustment yields a less bitter drink than the original. She chooses to squeeze and then drop in grapefruit wedges for a citrusy kick. You can also pour in fresh grapefruit juice, but adding the wedges lends additional grapefruit essence to the cocktail, as the peel’s oils interact with the other ingredients.
Unlike the classic Negroni, which is stirred, Casey shakes this drink. That’s because it contains citrus, and conventional wisdom dictates that you stir all-spirits cocktails and shake those that feature citrus, cream, egg white and other non-liquor ingredients.
The Grapefruit Negroni is an easy riff on the original with a reward that outweighs the effort. The versatile grapefruit complements the botanical gin, the floral and herbal vermouth, and Campari’s bitter orange notes, leaving you with a fresh and fragrant cocktail.
2 peeled ruby red grapefruit segments (or 1 ounce fresh ruby red grapefruit juice)
1 1/2 ounces gin
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce Campari
Garnish: long, wide swath of grapefruit peel
Squeeze the grapefruit segments into a shaker and drop in the fruit (or add fresh juice).
Add the gin, sweet vermouth and Campari to the shaker with ice, and shake until well-chilled.
Place one large block of ice in a rocks glass and curl the grapefruit peel around the inside of the glass.
Strain into the prepared glass.
Negroni: The classic cocktail, with equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari.
Mezcal Negroni: A simple but much-loved variation that uses mezcal in place of gin.
White Negroni: This version gets its bitterness from Suze gentian liqueur and subs Lillet Blanc for vermouth.
Boulevardier: The Negroni’s richer cousin, featuring bourbon instead of gin.