Negroni Sbagliato: Origins, Variations, and Modern Twists

Negroni Sbagliato originated in Milan, Italy, during the 1970s. Mirko Stocchetto, a bartender at Bar Basso, accidentally created this cocktail. Instead of using gin, he mistakenly added sparkling wine to a Negroni. This error, known as “sbagliato” (meaning “mistake” in Italian), resulted in a lighter, effervescent variation. This accidental creation quickly gained popularity, becoming a staple in many bars.

How it Differs from the Traditional Negroni

Negroni Sbagliato differs from the traditional Negroni mainly in its ingredients. While a classic Negroni includes gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, a Negroni Sbagliato substitutes sparkling wine for gin. This change affects the cocktail’s overall profile. Sparkling wine adds effervescence, making the drink lighter and less robust. The original Negroni exudes strong, bitter notes, but the Negroni Sbagliato offers a balanced blend of bitterness and bubbly freshness.

Key Ingredients of Negroni Sbagliato

Comparing Sweet Vermouth and Prosecco

Sweet vermouth and Prosecco are integral to the Negroni Sbagliato, each offering distinct characteristics. Sweet vermouth, a fortified wine, combines botanicals, herbs and spices, creating a complex flavor profile. Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine, adds bubbles and a subtle sweetness, balancing the cocktail’s bitterness. Together, they create a harmonious blend of flavors, enhancing the drink’s effervescent nature.

The Role of Campari

Campari is crucial to the Negroni Sbagliato, providing its signature bitter taste. This Italian aperitif, made from an infusion of herbs and fruit in alcohol and water, imparts a deep red color to cocktails. Its bitterness contrasts with the sweetness of vermouth and Prosecco, creating a balanced and refreshing drink. Campari also adds layers of complexity, ensuring each sip is full of nuanced flavors.

How to Make the Perfect Negroni Sbagliato

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Gather Ingredients: Ensure you have sweet vermouth, Prosecco, and Campari. Choose high-quality brands for the best results.
  2. Prepare the Glass: Use a chilled rocks glass to enhance the cocktail’s refreshing qualities.
  3. Mix Vermouth and Campari: Pour 1 oz of sweet vermouth and 1 oz of Campari into the glass.
  4. Add Ice: Fill the glass with ice cubes. This helps dilute the cocktail slightly, balancing the flavors.
  5. Top with Prosecco: Pour 1 oz of Prosecco over the ice. The sparkling wine adds effervescence and a hint of sweetness.
  6. Stir Gently: Use a bar spoon to stir the mixture lightly. Ensure even distribution of the ingredients.
  7. Garnish: Add an orange slice or twist. This enhances the visual appeal and adds a citrus aroma.
  1. Wrong Proportions: Ensure equal parts of sweet vermouth, Campari, and Prosecco. Imbalance can overpower the cocktail.
  2. Not Chilling the Glass: Always use a chilled glass to keep the cocktail refreshing longer.
  3. Over-stirring: Stir gently to combine. Over-stirring can flatten the Prosecco.
  4. Using Cheap Ingredients: Invest in quality vermouth, Prosecco, and Campari. Better ingredients elevate the drink’s taste.
  5. Forgetting to Garnish: Always add an orange slice or twist. It adds visual and aromatic appeal, enhancing the drinking experience.

Variations of Negroni Sbagliato

Modern Twists on the Classic

Bartenders today experiment with modern twists on the Negroni Sbagliato to keep the cocktail fresh and exciting. One popular variation includes swapping Prosecco with other sparkling wines like Champagne or Cava. This substitution elevates the drink’s effervescence. Another creative option is infusing the sweet vermouth with botanicals like rosemary or thyme, enhancing the cocktail’s herbal notes.

Flavored bitters (examples: orange bitters, chocolate bitters) can be added to modify the taste profile, providing unique undertones. Some bartenders replace Campari with other bitter liqueurs like Aperol or Cynar, adjusting the bitterness level and color. Using premium Prosecco or aged vermouth can significantly improve the richness and depth of the cocktail.

Regional Variations

Different regions have their own take on the Negroni Sbagliato. In Italy, variations often feature local Proseccos and regional vermouths. In Spain, bartenders might use Cava instead of Prosecco to incorporate the local sparkling wine tradition. American versions sometimes include bourbon or rye whiskey, merging Italian flavors with classic American spirits.

French versions might utilize sparkling wines from regions like Champagne or Crémant, offering a distinct twist. In Japan, bartenders often experiment with umeshu (plum wine) or sake, integrating traditional Japanese elements into the drink. Each regional variation reflects local taste preferences and ingredients, making the Negroni Sbagliato a versatile and globally appreciated cocktail.


The Negroni Sbagliato stands as a testament to the beauty of happy accidents in mixology. Its origin story and global variations highlight the cocktail’s adaptability and charm. Whether you’re a fan of the classic Negroni or seeking a refreshing twist, the Negroni Sbagliato offers a delightful experience that can be tailored to your taste. So next time you’re in the mood for something effervescent and flavorful, give the Negroni Sbagliato a try. You might just discover your new favorite cocktail.

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