As the weather warms up and you slowly realize that you might once again become a social person who does fun things, it’s important that you plan accordingly. One of the first things you should do is figure out what you’re drinking all summer. We suggest the Negroni. It’s easy (equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth), it travels well (i.e., great for picnics), and the cocktail itself is a luminous color that will remind you of life’s infinite possibility. Also, Negronis taste good.
So here’s everything you need in order to host a responsibly thrown gathering in which this cocktail is the much-deserving centerpiece. This includes the necessary ingredients such as the aforementioned liquors: Campari and sweet vermouth, but it also encompasses everything from the proper festive glassware to the multicolored pitchers you’ll need in order to assure everyone that you take this very seriously.
Not sure how to make a Negroni? You can find our recipe right here.
We’re recommending these products because we actually use, and like, them. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.
The First Thing You Need
As much as this sounds like an ad, you can’t really have a Negroni without Campari. This candy-apple-red Italian apéritif is what gives the cocktail its signature color and distinctive bitter bite. Sure, there are some great alternatives out there, but they’re usually hard to find, and you might as well go the classic route.
The Sweet Element
Negronis taste good and deserve to be in your mouth because all the ingredients work in harmony with one another. Sweet vermouth, for example, balances the aggressive bitterness of Campari. Our vermouth of choice is usually Carpano Antica Formula, but for warm weather drinking, we slightly prefer the French brand Dolin. It’s still elegant and complex, just not quite as heavy.
The Thing That Makes This A Cocktail
Technically, you could throw some Campari and sweet vermouth in a glass, and that would be an okay cocktail (pretty much an Americano). But gin is what gives this drink its backbone. It also adds floral elements and juniper notes, and our top pick right now is Nikka Coffey Gin. This Japanese spirit is heavy on citrus flavor, so it’s perfect for sunny days - but if you can’t find it near you, truly any decent gin will do.
The Perfect Stirring Vessel
Full disclosure, we do not own this exact mixing glass. We have a near-identical one from Cocktail Kingdom - but it doesn’t have a fuchsia tint, and this pains us. So do yourself a favor, and grab this Cocktail Kingdom Berry Wall mixing glass. You need something to stir your Negronis in, and this attractive vessel is a best case scenario.
The Proper Spoon
You would think you could stir a Negroni with any spoon you currently have in your kitchen. But bar spoons have twisted handles to help you maintain proper stirring technique (i.e., rotating the spoon as you stir), and you might actually wind up breaking your mixing glass if you use a heavy soup spoon. As for the gold plating on this thing, well, that isn’t really necessary. But you could say that about most nice things.
Appropriately Festive Glassware
Bright, translucent cocktails deserve bright, translucent glassware. That might sound like a joke, but it is in fact one of our strange, idiosyncratic beliefs. Presentation matters, and when you pour your Negronis into these multicolored glasses you’ll feel as if you’ve ascended to a higher plane of bartending.
A Subtle Alternative
If your aesthetic is a little more subdued with a hint of 1970s nostalgia, check out these stackable glasses from Our Place. They’re perfect for patio drinking, especially when you’re wearing sunglasses, a large hat, and a facial expression that communicates indifference. Our Place also happens to make a very nice pan as well.
Glassware For Purists
Do like to admire the deep-red color of your Negronis as you sip them on your porch at sunset? That sounds nice, and if that’s what you’re after, you’re going to need some fully transparent glassware. We suggest these sturdy, ergonomic Duralex glasses that are the perfect size for Negronis and nestle into your hand like a baby bird you just adopted.
Your New Summer Pitcher
When you make a big batch of Negronis, you’re going to need something to serve them in. Any sort of pitcher will do, but not every pitcher will simultaneously silence your critics and make you feel as if you’ve mastered the art of entertaining. That’s why you need this one from Sophie Lou Jacobsen.
A Picnic Essential
If you’re drinking Negronis outdoors, you can try to be subtle about it, or you can purchase a 25oz Glitter Mermaid canteen from Brümate. Technically, this insulated bottle is meant for wine, but you should be able to fit around six cocktails in here.
The Right Cubes
Ideally, you’ll drink your Negronis over one big cube. But if you’re too lazy to make your own crystal clear ice in one giant block that you eventually hack apart, don’t beat yourself up. These silicon trays will produce perfectly great oversized cubes.
A Shortcut To A Perfect Garnish
A twist (i.e., thin strip of citrus peel) is the traditional garnish for a well-made Negroni. You could always try to cut one with a knife, but if you’d rather take a shortcut and make perfect twists every time, a y-shaped peeler is definitely the way to go.
The Finest Orange Slicer Around
You know what another acceptable garnish is? A plain orange slice that bathes in your drink before being consumed. You probably already have a knife at home that can cut an orange slice or two, but why not go overboard and get yourself a Japanese chef’s knife that turns fruit cutting into a weirdly gratifying exercise? This one from Mac is lightweight and rigid, and it holds a razor-sharp edge. Hand wash and dry immediately, please.
How To Tell People What You're All About
If you’re going to drink Negronis all summer, you might as well be annoying about it.