This mezcal Negroni is rich, smooth and deliciously balanced— the sweetness is just enough to offset the bitter Campari, and the mezcal brings a smoky agave flavor and fullness that is so satisfying. It’s one of the simplest drinks to make, yet so complex on the nose and palate!
But I’ll be straight here. When my husband first mentioned a mezcal Negroni to me, I thought it would be terrible. In my mind, I envisioned the pungency of a bad tequila heightened by bitter liqueur. It sounded harsh and gross, and I just couldn’t get on board. But he ignored me and threw one together anyway-- and wow.
There’s some sort of magic that happens in the glass I didn’t predict: it’s rich and deliciously complex.
Somehow the grassy agave, smoke, and sweet herbal liqueur create a captivating cocktail. I’ve even come to prefer it over the original Negroni, which uses gin rather than mezcal. It’s now one of our go-to drinks. We’ve become obsessed with the rustic, smoky edge that a good mezcal introduces and I feel it’s really found it’s calling here.
what you need for a mezcal negroni:
- sweet vermout
- orange twist
what does a Negroni taste like?
A classic Negroni is a simple and flavorful cocktail made up of gin, sweet vermouth and Campari. It’s a refreshing drink that is herbal and equal parts sweet and bitter. You don’t have to use Campari (and I actually have a list of other bitter liqueurs you could try below), so the flavor profile and level of bitterness can vary from drink to drink.
how is a mezcal Negroni different?
The most distinguishing feature of mezcal is the smoky flavor. To make mezcal, the heart of the agave plant (called the piña) is roasted in a smoky pit in the ground. The sweet juice is then squeezed out, fermented and distilled. Roasting adds flavors of smoke, caramel, and brown sugar to the notes of agave— all of which can come through in the mezcal Negroni.
In all, the cocktail tastes fruity, smoky, herbal and citrusy. The sweet vermouth adds red fruit flavors, Campari can be very citrusy and spicy, and mezcal has that distinct smoke with sweet, caramelized agave flavor. It’s complex, sweet, bitter and surprisingly refreshing!
If you love all things negroni, try our white negroni for a lightened twist!
best mezcal for this Negroni:
There are so many great mezcals on the market these days, and in general they still offer much more value for their price. I find them to be more complex and flavorful than tequilas.
There are a lot of very artisanal, heirloom mezcals that are incredibly nuanced and should be savored and appreciated on their own. Keep those for sipping neat! The flavors and textures will get lost in mezcal cocktails.
Instead, look for an affordable bottle that will be consistent, tasty and reliable. We love the mezcals made by El Silencio, Del Maguey, and Montelobos!
best sweet vermouth for this mezcal Negroni:
Yuu Baal Joven, Leopold Bros, Punt e Mes, Martini & Rossi Riserva Special, and Dolin are all great sweet vernouths to try!
Campari adds notes of orange, lemon and warm baking spices (cinnamon, clove), along with its distinct bitter edge, ruby color and sweetness. But you don’t have to stick with Campari if you don’t want!
Branch out and replace the Campari with some other bitter liqueurs— there’s a huge range of styles out there.
- Zucca Rabarbaro (rhubarb, citrus, cardamom, spices)
- Liquore delle Sirene (fruit, rose, vanilla, ginger)
- Cynar (artichoke, herbs, medicinal profile)
- Gran Classico Liqueur (spice, orange, rhubarb)
- Hypatia Rubi Amaro (bitter orange peel, herbs, wormwood, gentian)
- Leopold Bros Aperitivo (red fruit, citrus, coriander)
what to serve with a mezcal negroni?
Mezcal Negronis are a great aperitif! We love to serve them with small bites and grazing boards before dinner, or as an early afternoon cocktail. Here are some ideas!
- cheese and charcuterie board with apricot mostarda
- olives, crackers, crusty bread, cornichons
- spicy roasted nuts
- baked camembert
- salmon rillettes
- porcini arancini
- soft lye pretzels
other tequila and mezcal cocktails to try!Print
This mezcal Negroni is a smooth and deliciously balanced cocktail. It's smoky, fruity, herbal and citrusy-- and so easy! The perfect aperitif.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 cocktail
- Category: Drinks
- Method: Stirred
- Cuisine: American
- 1 ¼ oz mezcal
- 1 ¼ oz Campari
- 1 ¼ oz sweet vermouth
- orange twist, for garnish
- Combine mezcal, Campari and sweet vermouth in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Stir briefly.
- Strain into a rocks glass filled with a large ice cube. Garnish with an orange twist.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 239
- Sugar: 13g
- Sodium: 4mg
- Fat: 0g
- Saturated Fat: 0g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 16g
- Fiber: 0g
- Protein: 0.1g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: mezcal negroni