Fans of the classic Negroni cocktail will definitely want to try its lighter, French cousin, the White Negroni. This cocktail swaps out the traditional Italian bitter Campari for a combination of Lillet Blanc and Suze gentian liqueur, resulting in a refreshing and complex drink with a bitter edge. You can find the White Negroni on menus at bars and restaurants around the world, from New York to Bordeaux.
To make a White Negroni, you’ll need gin, Lillet Blanc, and Suze gentian liqueur, as well as a lemon twist for garnish. Simply combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled, then strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with a lemon twist. The result is a refreshing and sophisticated cocktail with a bitter edge that’s perfect for sipping on a summer evening.
The White Negroni is a modern variation of the classic Negroni cocktail that was invented by Count Camillo Negroni in Florence, Italy, in 1919. The Negroni is made with gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, and is typically served as an aperitif.
The White Negroni, on the other hand, was invented by British bartender Wayne Collins in 2001 at Vinexpo, a beverage trade show in Bordeaux, France. Collins wanted to create a Negroni riff that featured gin but not Campari or sweet vermouth. He used Suze, a French aperitif made from gentian root, and Lillet Blanc, a French aperitif wine, to create a new version of the classic cocktail.
The White Negroni was a slow burner and was quietly forgotten for many years until it was rediscovered and popularized by bartenders in London and New York. Today, it is one of the most famous modern variations on the classic Italian cocktail and is beloved in the aperitivo-loving world.
Collins included the recipe for the White Negroni in his cocktail book, “Cocktail: The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century,” which was published in 2002. Since then, the White Negroni has become a staple in many bars around the world and is enjoyed by cocktail enthusiasts and novices alike.
How to Make It
- 1 oz Gin
- 1 oz Lillet Blanc
- 1 oz Suze
- Add all ingredients to a mixing glass.
- Stir with ice for about 15 seconds or until well-chilled.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe or rocks glass over fresh ice.
- Garnish with a grapefruit twist or lemon twist.
- Use a good quality gin, such as Plymouth Gin, to enhance the flavors of the cocktail.
- For an alternative to Suze, try using Cocchi Americano or gentian liqueur.
- If you prefer a sweeter cocktail, add a bar spoon of sweet vermouth.
- To add a French twist to the cocktail, use Dolin Blanc vermouth instead of Lillet Blanc.
- For a more herbal flavor, add a dash of gentian root or other botanicals.
Choosing Your Spirits
When making a White Negroni, it is best to use a gin with a subtle flavor that won’t overpower the other ingredients. A London Dry gin or a Plymouth gin works well in this cocktail. Some recommended gins for White Negroni include Beefeater, Tanqueray, and Plymouth Gin.
If you can’t find Suze, you can substitute it with other bitter liqueurs such as Cynar. Remember, the White Negroni is a variation of the traditional Negroni cocktail, so it’s important to use bitter French aperitif, such as Suze, Lillet Blanc, or Cocchi Americano. These spirits give the cocktail its signature citrusy and bitter taste. However, keep in mind that the taste of the cocktail may vary depending on the substitute used.
While the White Negroni is a delicious cocktail on its own, there are plenty of variations you can try to mix things up. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
The French Twist
Substitute Cocchi Americano for Lillet Blanc and Dolin Blanc vermouth for sweet vermouth. This will give your cocktail a more French twist and a slightly different flavor profile.
The Pegu Club
Use Plymouth gin instead of the traditional London Dry gin. This will give your cocktail a slightly different taste and aroma, as Plymouth gin has a more floral and citrusy flavor.
The Orange Negroni
Add a few dashes of orange bitters to your cocktail for a subtle twist on the traditional Negroni. This will give your cocktail a slightly sweeter, more complex flavor.
The Gentian Root
Use a gentian root-infused gin instead of regular gin for a more bitter, herbal flavor. This will give your cocktail a unique twist and a more complex flavor profile.