A Negroni is perfect the way it is. But if you're looking for a breezy, summery riff on the classic cocktail that dials down the intensity a bit whilst still being plenty interesting, try the Unusual Negroni. Created for Hendricks Gin by Charlotte Voisey, it's fun and beautiful and easy to sip.
Why we love this recipe
Depending on the context, we are equally big fans of the Negroni, the Aperol Spritz, and many a cocktail made with Lillet blanc. The Unusual Negroni borrows a bit from each of those traditions and holds its own as a fun alternative, perfect for when the weather warms up.
What you'll need
Here's a glance at the ingredients you'll need to make this recipe.
- You'll start with one part (or more, as I prefer it) London dry gin. This drink was literally made for Hendricks, but it works well with other, stronger-tasting London drys, too. This Scottish product is a terrific gin, but it has a substantially milder flavor profile than many other London drys. Hendricks leads with cucumber and rose, and juniper takes a backseat. This makes it great for folks on the fence about gin and also for mixing with light ingredients like Aperol and Lillet blanc.
- Aperol is a slightly sweet and fruity, gently bitter Italian apéritif made with oranges, rhubarb, herbs and some top-secret ingredients. It's been around since 1919 and has a gorgeous orange color. "Aperol" comes "apero," the French slang word for apéritif.
- Lillet blanc is a French aperitif wine. It’s made from Bordeaux grapes, aromatized with herbs, spices, and citrus, and fortified (to 17% ABV — stronger than wine, but gentle for a cocktail ingredient) with macerated fruit liqueurs. It’s similar to vermouth in those respects. In fact, I once heard a NJ bartender refer to it as “French vermouth,” which might make any sense at all if a large portion of actual vermouth didn’t come from France. Not too sweet, not too bitter, Lillet blanc is great on its own over ice, and it also makes an amenable cocktail ingredient.
- Beyond that, all you need is an orange slice to garnish
How to make it
Here's an overview of what you'll do to make an Unusual Negroni. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.
- Fill a mixing glass halfway with ice. Pour in the gin. The original recipe calls for equal parts, but I prefer the balance when you add a little more than one part gin. It's up to you.
- Add Aperol and Lillet blanc.
- Stir well, until very cold.
- Serve on the rocks in an old-fashioned glass or up in a a cocktail glass, garnished with an orange slice. That's it!
Expert tips and FAQs
You can. To make eight drinks, combine one cup gin, one cup Aperol, one cup Lillet blanc, and ½ cup water in a pitcher up to 24 hours before serving time. Stir, cover, and chill in the refrigerator. At serving time, divide among glasses and garnish each with an orange slice.
More favorite Negroni variations
- 1 ounce (30 ml) London dry gin (see note 1)
- 1 ounce (30 ml) Aperol
- 1 ounce( 30 ml) Lillet blanc
- Orange slice, to garnish
- Fill a mixing glass halfway with ice.
- Pour in gin, Aperol, and Lillet blanc.
- Stir until well-mixed and well-chilled.
- Strain into a glass. You can serve this drink on the rocks in an old-fashioned glass or up in a cocktail glass.
- Garnish with an orange slice and serve.
- The original recipe calls for equal parts, but I prefer the balance of this drink with a little more gin, up to 2:1:1. It's up to you!
- If you like, you can batch this cocktail for a party. To make eight drinks, combine one cup gin, one cup Aperol, one cup Lillet blanc, and ½ cup water in a pitcher up to 24 hours before serving time. Stir, cover, and chill in the refrigerator. At serving time, divide among glasses and garnish each with an orange slice.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200