How to Make the Perfect Negroni Sbagliato Cocktail
The best inventions are always discovered by accident. Take Penicillin, Coca-Cola, tea-bags, the microwave, matches, vaseline and gunpowder (oops) among many others. We can also add the vast majority of cocktails to this list but none more so than the Negroni cocktail itself, the result of a happy whim which luckily didn’t start with a bang. When Prosecco was added to the Vermouth, Campari and Bitters instead of the ubiquitous gin, it became the famous Negroni Sbagliato. The trick to this sparkling cocktail is the equal parts of its spirits and choice of premium ingredients which makes it stand out as a classic.
What is a Negroni Sbagliato?
The bitter Negroni, crafted with equal parts gin, Vermouth, Campari and a splash of Angostura Aromatic Bitters, has become a mainstay of the classic Italian Aperitivo scene. On a typical evening in Milan, groups of friends gather at their favourite bar and choose from a delicious selection of appetisers to have along with their Negroni or Negroni sbagliato. You’ll see the barista prepare a tumbler with ice, then pour in gin, vermouth and Angostura Bitters, mix and serve. But what’s the difference between the classic Negroni and the Sbagliato? For a Sbagliato, the barista will crack open a bottle maybe of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Dry or the fresh and bubbly Pasqua Prosecco Treviso Doc Brut PassioneSentimento and use it to top up the Vermouth, Campari and Bitters. The Bar Basso also has its own Negroni Sbagliato glass, The result is a beautifully red, fragrant, bubbly drink rich in aromatics and vivaciousness.
Negroni Sbagliato Origin
Everything about the Negroni cocktail is spontaneous. It was aperitif time one evening in 1919 and Count Camillo Negroni of Florence asked for a splash of gin instead of soda water in his Americano cocktail at Caffè Casoni now known as the Giacosa. He drank it then quickly hightailed it to Canada to become a cowboy, his way of dealing with his ‘accidentally’ ever-burgeoning family. Just like that, the Negroni cocktail was born. Then, on a particular night in 1972, Mirko Stocchetto of the famous Bar Basso in Milan did something else unprecedented: as he reached for the gin, he grabbed a bottle of Prosecco by accident and as it was warm outside, went with it, introducing it as a lighter spin on the original. In those years, so many professional women in Milan also started dropping in to drink after work on their own, and they wanted something sparkling and lighter. This addition to the usual Negroni mix of Martini Rosso and Bitter Campari, was a very welcome mistake.
When a Negroni goes wrong, it becomes so right
This delicious cocktail with bitter, aromatic top notes and sparkling lift, was baptised the Negroni Sbagliato or ‘wrong/accidental Negroni’ at the Bar Basso and we have Mirko to thank for this happy accident that has been a hit ever since. If this is your new favourite drink, take a look at how to pronounce it correctly!
Negroni Sbagliato Pronunciation
If you’re looking forward to your aperitivo on your trip to Italy, and even better you’ve arrived specially at Bar Basso in Milan, where it was invented, why not impress your friends with your Italian aperitivo know-how and pass on your love for this famous cocktail? Ask for it with the right pronunciation even though Maurizio Stoccetto, Mirko’s son and team will understand what you mean but it’s better if you get a handle on how to blend right in with the Milanese nightlife! Sbagliato meaning ‘wrong’ or ‘by accident’ In Italian, is pronounced neˈɡro.ni SBAL YATO (IPA /zbaʎˈʎa.to/), so that ‘G’ stays silent. Practise saying it to yourself or with Italian friends before the big day and maybe steer clear of adding that ‘G’ , especially if you’re talking about it in a podcast or interview in the public eye.
Why everyone is talking about itYou’ll have seen the Negroni Sbagliato rise in popularity all over the world in the last couple of years, but it soared to prominence especially in 2022 when Emma D’Arcy, star of the series, House of the Dragon, announced it was her favourite cocktail in a Tik Tok interview posted by HBO. Even with it pronounced ‘SBAG- LEEATO’, it got 10 million views and Google Trends data indicated that searches for “Negroni sbagliato” increased by 4,900% after the interview. It goes to show you what viral trends can do for a cocktail. Dubbed the ‘Sba’ by rushed bar staff, it is one of the most popular drinks on the Italian aperitivo scene and it has been rushing off the shelves and into glasses at the rate of knots since this small clip.
Negroni Sbagliato Taste Profile
The Negroni Sbagliato is a less spirit-forward drink and comes in at around 13% ABV as opposed to the 22/24% of the original Negroni. It has a tantalisingly bitter-sweet taste profile intensified by the spiced vanilla and heavy fruit aromatics of sweet red Vermouth, a garnet-red fortified Italian wine. The prosecco, either dry or sweet depending on taste, elevates the lightness of the cocktail, making it crisper and more palatable for those who prefer sweeter or dryer taste profiles.
Also, if you love the taste of The Negroni Sbagliato, you might also like to try these other Prosecco-based cocktails.
Negroni sbagliato recipe
As we’ve seen, the authentic Negroni Sbagliato uses Prosecco and not Spumante as many would like to claim. You can also opt for the dry version if you prefer a slightly sweeter drink. The whole concept behind this cocktail is that it replaces the gin, so any recipes you find containing gin are also…wrong! Mirko’s mistake became the accepted formula for this bitter, bubbly drink and the trick to the Negroni is the equal parts of its ingredients. This may change slightly with the Sbagliato if you are topping up a little more with the Prosecco and your tumbler is a bit bigger. Also remember to chill your tumbler beforehand, that way the ice won’t melt as fast and dilute your drink.
To make it according to Mirko’s original recipe, you’ll need just 5 ingredients:
To get the right balance, the order you add the ingredients is important. The bitterness of the Campari should be the base so as not to override the aromatics of the Vermouth. Add our XL ice cube or sphere and your orange slice to your chilled cut glass tumbler. Then pour in your measure of Campari followed by the Vermouth Rosso. Top up with the Prosecco, leave to stand for a second or two, then enjoy!
Ways to serveFor the perfect Italian serve, chop carrots, celery, fennel and peppers lengthwise to make some crunchy Pinzimonio and dip in olive oil and garlic with olives or capers. Try Bowls of risotto, salame, crostini, focaccine, mini pizza bites, and some small slices of wholemeal bread with smoked salmon and ricotta. If you feel like putting in a bit more effort and 10 minutes more, have a look at how to prepare some very tasty sfogliatine (puff pastry bites) with pecorino cheese and tomato.
Our Negroni Sbagliato
Our delicious Negroni Sbagliato cocktail kit, with bitter, aromatic top notes and sparkling lift is crafted in Italy by leading Mixologist, Patrick Pistolesi of Drink Kong, Rome, ranked 16th in the World’s 50 Best Bars. Our premium, carefully balanced ingredients are accompanied by select Pasqua Prosecco to offer you the right amount of sparkle for a cocktail that will satisfy your taste buds from the first sip. All you have to do is shake your premixed cocktail pack containing premium Cocchi Storico Vermouth di Torino, Campari and Angostura Bitters, pour into a tumbler and top up with the Prosecco. This bar-quality cocktail kit saves you from having to select and mix ingredients or start fiddling with bottle,. so you can spend more quality time with your guests. Our kit is available in the Duty Free at an airport near you.Classic Negroni lovers might also enjoy our gin cocktail gift sets with all our great core cocktails and some innovative spins on classics or If you’re also looking to add to your home bar, take a peek at our menu and let us inspire you for your weekend with friends. Cheers!