The Perfect Negroni, According to Anthony Bourdain
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How to Make the Perfect Negroni, According to Anthony Bourdain

(Photo: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube)

The culinary industry will never be the same without the influence of renowned chef, author and television personality, Anthony Bourdain. As his legacy lives on, let’s take a little look at the beloved chef’s favorite cocktail, the Negroni.

While experiencing a resurgence in popularity, the history of the Negroni dates back to the 19th century in Italy, where aperitifs were a mealtime staple. The cocktail is widely believed to have been invented by Count Camillo Negroni, who added a dash of gin to the Americano cocktail in place of soda water. Bartender Frasco Scarselli then perfected the recipe, substituting the usual lemon slice with an orange slice.

Sharing his own interpretation of his favorite cocktail, Bourdain once mixed up a Negroni while appearing on Jimmy Fallon’s “The Tonight Show” in 2012.

The recipe includes filling a rocks glass with ice and pouring in “equal” parts of Campari, Bombay Sapphire Gin and sweet vermouth. The drink is then stirred and topped with a slice of orange instead of the orange twist we usually see adorning the cocktail today.

Related: Bombay Sapphire Gin Review

Besides switching up the garnish a bit, Bourdain modifies the cocktail by adding in a heavy measure of gin, which appears to be almost double as much as the pours he used for Campari and sweet vermouth. So, to make a Negroni Bourdain style, don’t be afraid of the gin (but do drink responsibly).

“Now I know what you’re thinking,” Bourdain said as he finished pouring his liquid ingredients. “That doesn’t sound good to me. And in fact, I don’t really like any of these things by themselves.”

“But together — oh yes!”

Bourdain advised having no more than two servings of the drink, jokingly adding that after three drinks, you might be asking, “Where’d my pants go? And who the hell are you?” His recommendation is a good one to follow, as the Negroni can be quite potent.

The Perfect Negroni Recipe, Via Anthony Bourdain

(Photo: Allan Francis/Unsplash)

  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Sweet vermouth
  • 2 oz Dry gin (Bourdain used Bombay Sapphire, but we have a few of our own recommendations here)
  • Garnish: Orange slice

Fill a rocks glass with plenty of ice and pour in your liquid ingredients. Give your cocktail a quick stir and top it off with a thick orange slice.


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Candie Getgen is the managing editor for Gin Raiders. Before immersing herself in the world of spirits journalism, Candie has been many things: a bartender, a literary journal editor, an English teacher — and even a poet. Now, Candie shares her passion for gin with the world and hopes to help others fall in love with it, too (if they haven't already!). When not writing, Candie enjoys sipping a Negroni while drawing or relaxing by the pool with a campy mystery novel.