The Very Best Negroni Craft Cocktail Recipe Ever

Posted on: June 21, 2019   |   Posted in: Food & Drink, Things To Do In Saugatuck

A Negroni Cocktail, amber colored drink with ice and a twist of orange in a short cocktail glass


Negroni Potion, amber colored drink in a molded glass tall bottle with a ceramic stopper on a table with plants


Bottle of Campari drink on a shelf in front of a sunlit window


Bubbly spritz on the Wickwood porch with a cheese and fruit board on the table


room with upholstered chairs, pillows a white brick fireplace with golden framed pictures on wall, an Italianate looking oil painting, vase of tulips, a dresser and a bed with dark rich linens.


The Negroni, One Of The First Genuine Craft Cocktails Is 100!

Craft cocktails like the Negroni are having their moment.  New Bar Chefs and Mixologists customize and artistically create every element of a delightfully and intriguingly named drink. Ordering from Bar Menus has never been more fun!  And the layers of flavors are astounding.  You can have an adventure before you dine……and gain a flavor education simultaneously.

Wickwood is surrounded by knowledgeable Cocktail Craftsman with new drink creations every night. Some of the most talented are behind the bars at Bowdie’s, The Southerner, Clearbrook, Everyday People and The Butler.  Of course, there’s creativity apparent in our local craft breweries, distilleries and cideries as well and visiting those are very easy.

The term “cocktail” originated in the United States in 1803 with the Bitter Sling chronicled in The Farmer’s Cabinet. Shortly after The Sazerac, a pharmacist in New Orleans created another bitter drink.  A cocktail made with bitters is not to the taste of everyone but with the craft cocktail revival, bitters have played a key role as a secret ingredient.  And, The Negroni seems be the new media star at centerstage with new variations galore.


My First Negroni In Florence, Italy

My first introduction to The Negroni was in the best possible place on earth…..Florence, Italy.   Coincidentally, it’s where the Count Camillo Negroni  invented this craft cocktail in 1919 at the Café Casoni on the Via de’ Tornabouni.  A favorite of James Bond from the first 007 novel, it was a variation of a different craft cocktail.  That was The Americano, a favorite of Americans vacationing in Italy during Prohibition.  Even the great Orson Welles praised The Negroni cocktail where he made “Black Magic” in Rome in 1947.  Once tasted, it’s forevermore my cocktail of choice.

One evening in late 1985, my first affection with The Negroni began.  It happened at The Lungarno, a hotel on the Arno River just blocks from where the Count invented the drink.  My Mom and I stayed there during Christmas, on our holiday from The Silver Palate.  We visited The Lungarno so many times over the years that the hotel staff felt like family.


“Negroni is the perfect cocktail because it is three liquors that I don’t particularly like … But you put them together with that little bit of orange … It sets you up for dinner, in a way it makes you hungry”
~ Anthony Bordain


Unfortunately, late one morning shortly after we arrived from Monte Carlo, Mom took a tumble while focused on admiring my moments-old brand new black Borsalino.   We then spent six weeks in Florence while Mom recuperated and my routine rarely varied, going from hospital to hotel and back.

It began that first night, after a long day at Hospitale Carregi, when I returned to The Lungarno.  It was 2AM. The staff awaited my arrival and the bartender had a Negroni on the bar with my name on it.  News travels fast in the tight community of Florentine locals.   I slept like a baby and woke up at 5AM to two strong Cappuccinos that put some sass in my step before I returned to the hospital.  And, so the routine began and continued.   After that every night Gino had one, then two, waiting for me when I returned.   I made my calls to America and then slept like a baby until those two strong Cappuccinos arrived while it was still dark in the early morning.


The Original Classic Negroni

Those original Negronis, made in the classical way, are one part each:  Campari, Gin, and Sweet Vermouth with a twist of orange peel.  Short thin glass. No ice. Simple. Neat. Powerful. For years I drank The Classic Negroni and it became my pre-dinner cocktail.  Sometimes one, sometimes two, rarely three.


The Very Best Negroni Ever Recipe

Over the years, we tweaked it, as you might guess, given my nature.  My husband, Wills, makes a batch of “The Potion” as we call it and pours it into a porcelain topped Italian faceted bottle (that we used to bottle the SP vinegars in).  Now it’s always at the ready.  These days, he mixes equal parts Campari, Sweet Vermouth and Vodka.  He then fills a tall glass with ice, half way.  Top it off with club soda and a good squeeze of an orange wedge before adding it to the glass……with finally, the secret ingredient….a small squirt of fresh grapefruit juice. To me, it’s The Very Best Negroni Ever!

No bartender has ever made one better, in my estimation.  Is it too bitter?   To me it tweaks the taste buds, opening them for the food flavors to follow.   Too bitter? As the Negroni celebrates it’s 100thBirthday, given the age we now live in, I think it’s perfect.


Where To Find A Negroni Craft Cocktail In Saugatuck Near Wickwood Inn?

Now at Wickwood Inn, our bed and breakfast in downtown Saugatuck, we don’t serve Negronis.  You may taste our own Bubbly Rose Spritz at Sips And Small Plates At Six.  But, to taste a Negroni during your stay, you may bring the ingredients and mix your own.  Or, visit our favorite craft cocktail makers in Saugatuck. We have listed a few below…and many more mixologists are within 5 minutes of Wickwood.

  • Bowdie’s Chophouse – Known for the best steaks in Saugatuck, Bowdie’s bartenders craft amazing cocktails, too.
  • The Southerner – This delicious Southern inspired casual restaurant makes some of the best craft cocktails in Saugatuck.
  • Clearbrook Golf Course & Grill Room – Great golf, great food and great cocktails!
  • The Butler – Order a Classic Negroni and sip it with a water view.
  • Everyday People Café – In downtown Douglas, it’s a vibrant restaurant filled with locals and visitors for their cocktails and their food.


Plan Your Visit To Wickwood Inn Today!

Our love of great food and drink make us the perfect destination for food lovers.  If my Italy story intrigues you, then stay in our Villa Suite.  My adventures to Florence were the inspiration for its sophisticated decor.   And when you stay at the Inn, don’t forget to ask the Innkeepers for suggestions on where to eat and drink during your stay.


“Hear no evil, speak no evil, and you won’t be invited to cocktail parties.”
~ Oscar Wilde

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