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Negroni Sbagliato

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Credit: Photo: Paola + Murray; Food Styling: Drew Aichele

I first tasted a negroni sbagliato in a haze of jet lag after moving to the tiniest Italian town for graduate school. My father and I slipped into a dark, cozy bar on a blustery fall night and refreshed ourselves with an aperitivo: Italy’s wonderful pre-dinner cocktail ritual. In my rusty Italian, I asked the bartender to make me what he liked, and this bubbly, lighter interpretation of a negroni landed in front of me.

The 1:1:1 combination of bitter Campari, Italian sweet vermouth, and sparkling wine falls somewhere between a boozy gin-based negroni and an easy-drinking spritz. It’s become one of my go-to drinks ever since, whether I order it at a cocktail bar or make it at home.

Credit: Photo: Paola + Murray; Food Styling: Drew Aichele

What’s the Difference Between a Negroni and a Negroni Sbagliato?

Both the negroni and negroni sbagliato are classic Italian cocktails, and the difference between the two is quite slight.

  • Negroni: A negroni is made up of equal parts Campari, sweet vermouth, and gin. It also typically features an orange peel garnish. The drink is stirred, rather than shaken, and served in a rocks glass over ice. It’s traditionally enjoyed as an aperitivo — a cocktail that’s sipped before dinner.
  • Negroni sbagliato: A negroni sbagliato is just like a negroni with the exception of the gin. The gin is replaced with prosecco for a bubbly interpretation of the three-ingredient cocktail.

What Does Sbagliato Mean? And How Do You Pronounce It?

Sbagliato (prounouced spah-lee-ah-toh) is the Italian word for “wrong” or “mistaken.” The cocktail is a “wrong” negroni because the traditional gin is swapped out for prosecco. It is said to have been mistakingly created by a Milanese bar owner in the 1970s when he accidentally reached for a bottle of bubbly instead of gin. It was such a hit that the drink has been popular in Italy and beyond ever since.

How to Serve a Negroni Sbagliato

Just like a negroni, a negroni sbagliato is served in an ice-filled rocks glass and typically garnished with an orange peel twist.

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Negroni Sbagliato Recipe

This classic Italian cocktail is a bubbly twist on a traditional negroni.

YieldServes 1

Prep time 5 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Fill a rocks or Old-Fashioned glass with ice. Add 1 ounce Campari and 1 ounce sweet vermouth and stir to combine. Top with 1 ounce prosecco and gently stir again to combine. Garnish with an orange twist if desired.

Sheela Prakash

Senior Contributing Food Editor

Sheela is the Senior Contributing Food Editor at Kitchn and the author of Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food. She received her master's degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy and is also a Registered Dietitian.

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