The Mezcal Negroni is an old-time favorite with a modern twist!
Based on the classic Negroni recipe, this 3-ingredient cocktail features smoky mezcal for a fun Mexican spin.
A little stiff and a touch sweet, it’s a deceptively sophisticated drink.
Also known as the “Oaxacan Negroni,” the Mezcal Negroni is a riff on the infamous Italian cocktail.
It’s made with just three ingredients: mezcal, Campari, and sweet vermouth.
So it’s similar, but unlike the original Negroni, this Mexican version gets big smoky flavor from the mezcal.
It adds even more depth, making this Negroni a super complex cocktail.
And it’s not all about the smoke, either. Sweet vermouth and the bitter herbal notes of Campari balance out the drink beautifully.
If you’re a fan of robust, smoky cocktails, you have to try it!
What I love about this modern take is that it’s still a 3-ingredient cocktail. And yet, the flavor is so complex!
Here’s what you need:
- Sweet Vermouth
- Orange Twist (Optional)
You can really taste every component. And together, they create a surprisingly well-balanced drink.
What Is Campari?
Campari is a popular Italian aperitif.
Invented in 1860 by Gaspare Campari, this bright red liquor is well-known for its bitter flavor.
It also has notes of fruit, herbs, and spices like cinnamon, clove, and orange peel. It’s quite complex and a must for a Negroni.
What Is Mezcal?
Like tequila, mezcal comes from distilled agave.
The difference is it can be produced from other agave varieties besides blue agave.
When making mezcal, the agave gets smoked in a large earthen pit. Then, it undergoes distillation.
This is how it gets a distinctly smoky profile.
What Is Sweet Vermouth?
Vermouth is a fortified wine flavored with botanicals.
It can either be dry or sweet. The latter is what we use in a Mezcal Negroni.
It has a sugar content of about 10 to 15 percent. Perfect for bridging the gap between the smoky mezcal and bitter Campari.
How to Make a Mezcal Negroni
With so few ingredients, the Mezcal Negroni takes no time at all to make.
You don’t need any fancy equipment, either. Just a mixing glass and a spoon.
Here’s how to make a Mezcal Negroni:
1. Mix. Pour the mezcal, Campari, and sweet vermouth into a mixing glass with ice. Stir until well-chilled.
2. Strain. Strain the cocktail into a fresh rocks glass full of ice.
3. Garnish. Add an orange twist, serve, and enjoy!
Tips for The Best Mezcal Negroni
Don’t let the simplicity fool you! How you craft this drink matters. So for the best Mezcal Negroni, follow these tips:
- Express the orange twist. Twist the orange peel over the cocktail to release the oils. Then, rub the peel along the rim before popping it in the drink. This will make the drink more aromatic and enhance the flavor.
- Use jumbo ice cubes. Large ice cubes don’t melt as fast. So they keep your drink cold longer without watering it down.
- Chill the glass. Chilling the glass helps keep the cocktail cold. So let it chill in the freezer for 30 minutes to 1 hour before mixing.
- Choose your mezcal wisely. Not all brands of mezcal are equal. So be sure to pick a quality brand. (See more tips below.)
- Make a batch cocktail. Entertaining guests? Turn the Mezcal Negroni into a batch cocktail. Just multiply the ingredient quantities by the number of servings. Then, mix it in a pitcher and refrigerate until ready to serve.
The Best Mezcal for A Negroni
When choosing mezcal, you want a quality brand with a nice flavor profile. Like other liquors, you can tell a decent bottle from a cheap one.
But this doesn’t mean you have to fork over the big bucks! Some affordable brands make one pretty impressive spirit.
Here are a few options in various price ranges:
- El Silencio Espadin – For an affordable option, try this mezcal. Notes of sweet ripe fruit and spice make it great for mixing. It will cost you about $30.
- Derrumbes San Luis Potosi – Aromatic, smoky, and sweet, this mezcal is excellent for a Negroni. The price tag is also mid-range at about $40.
- Montelobos Mezcal Espadin – Not overly smoky, this mezcal is an excellent mid-top range option for newbies. A bottle will cost about $50.
- Del Maguey Santo Domingo Albarradas – Made in Oaxaca, this mezcal has tropical notes with lots of citrus. A bottle will set you back about $80. They also make Vida Clasico for half the price.
- Ilegal Anejo – If you’re looking to splurge, try Ilegal Anejo. Handcrafted in small batches. This mezcal is rich and full-bodied and you’ll find it for about $100.
More Negroni Variations
Want to try some other cocktails similar to the Negroni? Give these variations a whirl:
Classic Negroni: Instead of mezcal, use gin. The Campari and sweet vermouth stay the same.
White Negroni: You’ll use gin again, but add Lillet Blanc and Suze for a crisp and sweet finish.
Cynar Negroni: This one is closest to the OG recipe. You’ll keep the gin and sweet vermouth, but swap out the Campari for Cynar.
Negroni Sbagliato: I know you’ve heard of this one! Just swap the gin for Prosecco and you’re in business.
Frozen Negroni: This “fro-groni” is such a fun way to enjoy this normally potent beverage. Just take the OG drink and blend it with orange juice and ice. Easy!
More Robust Cocktails to Try
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