Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Tequila & Mezcal Cocktails


This modern tequila classic goes beyond the standard Negroni riff.

Rosita cocktail in rocks glass with single large ice cube and lemon twist, on blue-metal background / Tim Nusog

The Rosita is a modern classic cocktail most often described as a tequila Negroni, though this simplistic explanation vastly undersells the drink. Both involve a combination of spirit, Campari, and vermouth, though the Rosita splits the latter ingredient into equal parts sweet and dry vermouth, making it more akin to a Perfect Negroni. Further, it incorporates a dash of Angostura bitters, to bring added depth to the bittersweet combination.

The Rosita’s history is murky, like that of so many classic and modern-classic drinks before it. Iterations of the cocktail date to at least the 1970s, before an early recipe was eventually featured in the Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide. There, it sat buried in the book’s pages for years until eventually being unearth and riffed upon by bar legend Gary “Gaz” Regan.

As Regan wrote for The San Francisco Chronicle, in the mid-2000s fellow drinks writer Terry Sullivan had discovered the drink, but upon further conversation between the two, neither could recall where the origins of Sullivan’s Rosita recipe lay. A bit of digging and the pair finally realized where Sullivan had found his information—in Regan’s own 1991 cocktail book, The Bartender’s Bible.

“I didn't remember putting Rosita in The Bartender's Bible, but it's there all right,” wrote Regan. “Where did I steal that one from, I wondered.”

The cocktail continues to work on every level. Regan’s version dials up the amount of tequila, deviating further from the equal-parts Negroni template. Splitting the vermouth to include both sweet and dry iterations creates a smoother tasting drink that avoids the sometimes-cloying profile many Negroni variants get from a full sugary ounce of both Campari and sweet vermouth. The final touch, a single dash of Angostura bitters, helps bring additional backbone to the Rosita, and helps to even out this rebalancing of vermouth.

The result is a cocktail that perfectly fits the definition of a “modern classic.” It will appeal to those looking for a new spirit-forward tequila cocktail that avoids the trap of yet-another Margarita riff, or for Negroni fans seeking a variation that goes beyond a simple swap of the main spirit.


  • 1 1/2 ounces tequila

  • 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth

  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth

  • 1/2 ounce Campari

  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

  • Garnish: lemon twist


  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass filled with ice.

  2. Stir smoothly for 15–20 seconds, until well-chilled.

  3. Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice, or single large ice cube.

  4. Garnish with a lemon twist.

What’s the Best Tequila for a Rosita Cocktail?

Regan calls for 100% agave tequila in his Rosita, which is a good rule of thumb for almost all tequila cocktails (or neat sipping). He also specifies that either blanco or reposado tequila will work well. Opt for a blanco offering for brighter, more up-front tequila notes, or choose a reposado for a bit of added oak depth that may be more akin in style to a Boulevardier than its Negroni parentage.

What’s a Perfect Cocktail?

While many drinks will claim to be the “perfect,” in the world of cocktails, the term also acts as a modifier meaning to split equal parts dry and sweet vermouth in a drink whose recipe traditionally calls for only one or the other. While most commonly used in Manhattan or Martini drink orders, it’s become a stylistic shorthand that can apply to a wide range of cocktails, including the Negroni.