The Origins of the White Negroni Recipe
The White Negroni was first created by Wayne Collins in an attempt to make a Negroni with all french ingredients, leading him to use Lillet Blanc and Suze in place of the standard Campari and Sweet Vermouth.
Since there are several different options in the same categories as Lillet Blanc and Suze, the drink has taken on many variations.
The first version I tasted used Salers and Dolin Blanc vermouth and I think that might be my favorite way, although I don't think I have ever had a Negroni variation I didn't like.
Staying true to the original goal of the drink, the ingredients I use are french so maybe Wayne would still be okay with it. But I doubt he minds all the different versions seeign as he's created a sort of modern classic.
White Negroni Ingredients:
- A sweet white vermouth OR Lillet Blanc
- Any clear bitter liquor
And within those three categories there are countless combinations you could use.
My favorite mixing gin is Citadelle which is also french so that is worth a few bonus points. But go ahead and use whatever gin you have on hand, they can all make a good quality Negroni.
All versions of the drink use gin as the base spirit, then either Lillet Blanc or Blanc/Bianco Vermouth, and then the bitter component is where things get a little wild.
The White Negroni is one of those cocktails where every recipe you see seems to be just a little bit different. But in general, the result is light and less complex than its’ red older brother, with a more clean and refreshing vibe to it.
Choosing the vermouth
Dolin Blanc is the white vermouth of choice at my home bar, but any “blanc” or “bianco” vermouth will work just fine. White vermouth is different from the more common dry vermouth and you can't really just switch out the two.
Blanc or Bianco is much sweeter than a dry vermouth, and you need that sweetness to balance out the bitter from the gentiane liqueur.
You can also use Lillet Blanc in place of the vermouth, like the original recipe.
Lillet Blanc is often substituted out in recipes that were created before the Lillet Blanc recipe became much sweeter, but you won't want to do that here. This cocktail was created in 2001 way after Lillet became sweeter, and the balance of the drink depends on that sweetness.
So if you choose to go the Lillet route keep in mind that you probably won't want to use any of the common Lillet Blanc substitutes you will find as they are usually based on the more bitter herbal flavor that it used to have.
And then the Campari substitue
There are lots of different lightly colored aperitifs such as: Suze, Cocchi Americano, Salers, Luxardo Bitter and plenty of smaller brands that you could use in your White Negroni.
Based on the bitter component you choose the ratio of the ingredients will have to be a little different to get everything to balance out nicely, which is why there are so many different recipes.
The Salers liqueur that I use is a french aperitif made with gentiane root which gives it quite bitter kick with an intensely green herbal flavor. It is claimed to be the oldest gentiane liqueur from the Massif Central staying true to its original recipe since 1885.
Please try different recipes with whatever bitter you have on hand!
Then your last decision is the garnish.
I have seen different versions of this drink garnished with either lemon, orange or grapefruit peel, which will each add a different element to your White Negroni.
Using orange sort of makes your brain think "oh yeah that's a Negroni", but using lemon or grapefruit peel also makes for a nice drink that comes off a little more bright and bitter, let me know how you like it!
White Negroni Recipe
- 1 1/4 oz Gin
- 3/4 oz Blanc Vermouth
- 3/4 oz Salers Aperitif
- 1 piece Citrus Peel
- Add the liquid ingredients to a mixing glass.
- Add ice and stir until desired chill and dilution is reached (about 20-25 seconds).
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or a rocks glass with ice.
- Express the oils of the citrus zest you want over your drink.
Share The White Negroni!
Some useful links:
Remember that you can really mix and match the ingredients you use here. You cal also totally adjust the ratios of the ingredients to get something you like (it might be different based on what you use).