Michael's favorite cocktail, the Negroni. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

I actually hadn’t heard of a Negroni until Bourdain ordered one after an event we did at the 92nd Street Y. It wasn’t like him to be order a girly drink, I thought, when the server arrived with a pinkish, on-the-rocks concoction, so I took note.

It would become one of my favorite cocktails, and I like it both on the rocks and up. It’s a simple but complex elixir originally created in Italy, comprising equal parts Campari, sweet vermouth, and gin. I prefer Hendrick’s gin for this but am not sure why—probably because of the cool bottle.

Any decent gin will do. The VTR likes to flame orange zest oil over the drink. I prefer an actual squeeze of orange, its citrusy sweetness offsetting the bitter Campari. Some people suggest some orange bitters.

All to your taste. A classic Negroni is equal parts, garnished with orange zest.

The recipe below is for an enhanced Negroni, with a little more gin, because I find, straight up, it’s a little on the syrupy side for me. On the rocks, equal parts is just right, as the ice melts.

Happy Friday all!


The Enhanced Negroni

  • 40 grams/1.5 ounces gin
  • 30 grams/1 ounce Campari
  • 30 grams/1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1 thin orange wedge or orange zest
  1. In a 2-cup measuring glass, combine the gin, Campari, and vermouth.
  2. Fill the measuring glass with ice and stir more or less continuously for 90 seconds. It’s fine to pause while you retrieve your glass from freezer, and ready the orange.
  3. When the ice and alcohol have commingled for the appropriate time, strain it into the glass, and garnish it with the orange wedge. This is excellent over ice as well


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© 2012 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2012 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.