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Negroni Sbagliato

A bright and bubbly variation on the classic.

There’s an Italian saying that goes: squadra che vince non si cambia—“never change a winning team.” Italy’s winningest team? That’d be Team Negroni, composed of equal-part players Campari, sweet vermouth, and gin. In fact, the Negroni is so solid that even when a historic foul occurred and a lineup substitution was made, a new champ was born: the Negroni Sbagliato.

The Sbagliato (meaning “mistaken”) was purportedly invented in the 1970s when Milanese bar owner Mirko Stocchetto somehow mistook a bottle of sparkling wine for gin while preparing a Negroni at Bar Basso. Around half a century later, the riff is still a superstar. “It’s remained popular, in my opinion, because it speaks of an era in which it was possible to do a lot with little,” says Nico Scarnera, an Italy-based Campari Academy bartender. The Sbagliato showed bartenders “the perfect ingredients to create a twist on a classic that could become famous: simplicity of the recipe, ease in finding the ingredients all around the world, name that is easy to remember (and pronounce),” Scarnera says.

The riff has enjoyed even greater glory amid the spritz mania of recent years, as it occupies the ideal middle ground between a spritz and a Negroni. “In addition to having much less sparkling wine, it’s pleasantly more bitter and alcoholic than a spritz,” Scarnera says. “At the same time, it’s ‘easier’ to sip than a classic Negroni: the [absence] of the London dry leaves room for the sparkling complexity of a good Prosecco.” But no matter your preference for the original or its scion, when you’ve got two winning teams to choose between, there’s no losing.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. dry sparkling wine
  • Tools:mixing spoon
  • Glass:rocks
  • Garnish:orange wheel

Preparation

Combine vermouth and Campari in an ice-filled glass. Top with sparkling wine, stir to combine and garnish.

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