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Introduction to the Negroni Sbagliato

Discover the effervescent charm of the Negroni Sbagliato, a cocktail that dances on the palate with a blend of bitterness and sparkle. Born from a serendipitous mistake, this Italian aperitivo has become a beloved alternative to its stiffer cousin, the classic Negroni. Whether you’re a cocktail aficionado or a curious novice, the Sbagliato offers a refreshing twist that’s perfect for any occasion.

The Negroni Sbagliato balances the bold flavors of Campari and sweet vermouth with the lightness of sparkling wine. It’s a cocktail that tells a story, one of happy accidents and the joy of experimentation. Let’s raise a glass to the unexpected and dive into the world of this bubbly delight.

Key Facts About the Negroni Sbagliato

  • Alcohol Content: Approximately 11% ABV (22 proof)
  • Calories: Approximately 160 kcal
  • Preferred Glass: Rocks or old-fashioned glass
  • Typical Garnish: Orange slice or twist

Interesting Facts about the Negroni Sbagliato

The Negroni Sbagliato was purportedly created in the 1960s at Bar Basso in Milan, Italy. The substitution of gin with sparkling wine was a fortuitous error that led to this lighter variant. It’s a testament to the beauty of mistakes in the culinary world.

Unlike its gin-based counterpart, the Sbagliato is often enjoyed as a pre-dinner drink, setting the stage for a meal with its appetizing bitterness and effervescence. It’s also a popular choice for celebrations, thanks to its sparkling wine component.

Negroni Sbagliato Cocktail

Tasting Notes on the Negroni Sbagliato

The Negroni Sbagliato offers a symphony of flavors that are at once complex and accessible. The Campari provides a signature bitterness, which is mellowed by the herbal sweetness of the vermouth. The sparkling wine introduces a playful fizz, making the drink a refreshing choice for warm evenings or as a palate cleanser.

This cocktail is ideal for those who enjoy a drink with depth but prefer a lighter alcohol content. It’s suited for a range of occasions, from casual gatherings to more formal celebrations. The Sbagliato’s versatility makes it a favorite among a wide audience.

History of the Negroni Sbagliato

The Negroni Sbagliato’s history is as effervescent as the drink itself. It’s said that a busy bartender at Bar Basso reached for sparkling wine instead of gin by mistake, creating a new cocktail on the spot. This happy accident was well-received, and the Sbagliato quickly earned its place on the menu.

The cocktail’s name, ‘Sbagliato’, humorously acknowledges its origins. In Italian, it translates to ‘mistaken’ or ‘bungled’, but there’s nothing mistaken about the popularity of this drink. It’s a reminder that sometimes, the best creations come from the unexpected.

Over the years, the Negroni Sbagliato has spread beyond the borders of Italy, capturing the hearts of cocktail enthusiasts worldwide. Its story is a charming anecdote often shared over the clinking of ice cubes and the clatter of cocktail spoons.

Negroni Sbagliato Ingredients

  • Campari (1 oz / 30 ml): A quintessential Italian aperitif, Campari imparts a deep red hue and a bitter edge.
  • Sweet Vermouth (1 oz / 30 ml): This aromatized, fortified wine adds complexity and sweetness, balancing the bitterness of Campari.
  • Sparkling Wine (1 oz / 30 ml): Prosecco is the preferred choice, lending a refreshing effervescence and lightening the drink’s profile.
  • Ice Cubes: Fresh ice is crucial for maintaining the cocktail’s temperature and dilution rate.
  • Orange Garnish: An orange slice or twist adds a citrusy aroma and a touch of elegance.

Did you know? The Negroni Sbagliato is sometimes referred to as the ‘Broken Negroni’, a nod to its accidental creation.

Preparing Negroni Sbagliato

Negroni Sbagliato Method

Preparing the Glass

Begin by selecting the appropriate glassware. A rocks or old-fashioned glass is traditional for the Negroni Sbagliato. Fill the glass with fresh ice cubes to chill.

Mixing the Ingredients

Measure and pour the Campari and sweet vermouth over the ice. The equal parts ensure a harmonious blend of flavors.

Adding the Sparkle

Top the mixture with sparkling wine. Prosecco is ideal for its balance of sweetness and acidity. Gently stir to combine the ingredients without disrupting the bubbles too much.

Garnishing the Drink

Garnish with an orange slice or twist. The citrus not only decorates the drink but also complements the bitter and sweet notes.

Serving the Cocktail

Once assembled, serve the Negroni Sbagliato immediately. The freshness of the ice and the effervescence of the sparkling wine are best enjoyed right away.

Serving Suggestion for the Negroni Sbagliato

The choice of glassware is important for the Negroni Sbagliato. A rocks or old-fashioned glass provides the perfect size and shape for the drink’s components. The wide brim allows the aromas to waft, enhancing the tasting experience.

For garnish, a fresh orange slice or a neatly cut twist adds visual appeal and a zesty fragrance. To prepare the twist, use a sharp knife or a peeler to cut a strip of orange peel, being careful to avoid the bitter white pith.

Elevating the Negroni Sbagliato

  • Quality Ingredients: Opt for high-quality Campari and vermouth to ensure a superior taste profile.
  • Chilled Glassware: Pre-chill your glass to keep the cocktail cold longer without over-diluting.
  • Proper Stirring Technique: Stir gently to mix while preserving the sparkling wine’s carbonation.

Negroni Sbagliato Finished Cocktail

Substitutions and Alternatives for the Negroni Sbagliato

If Prosecco is unavailable, other sparkling wines like Cava or Champagne can be used as substitutes. For a less bitter version, adjust the ratio of Campari to sweet vermouth or choose a milder vermouth.

Similar cocktails include the Aperol Spritz and the Americano, both of which share the Italian aperitif theme and some ingredients.

Add a Twist to the Negroni Sbagliato

Experiment with different garnishes, such as a sprig of rosemary or a lemon twist, to introduce new aromatics. Infuse the vermouth with herbs or spices for an additional layer of flavor.

Consider adding a dash of bitters or a flavored syrup to personalize the drink. These small changes can create a unique twist on the classic recipe.

Preferred Liquors for the Negroni Sbagliato

While Campari is non-negotiable for an authentic Negroni Sbagliato, the choice of sweet vermouth can vary. Brands like Carpano Antica Formula or Punt e Mes are excellent options that offer depth and complexity.

For the sparkling wine component, a dry Prosecco with good acidity and fine bubbles will complement the other ingredients perfectly.

Similar Cocktails to the Negroni Sbagliato

For those who enjoy the Negroni Sbagliato, the classic Negroni is a must-try for a stronger, gin-based alternative. The Boulevardier swaps gin for whiskey, offering a warmer, richer profile.

The Spritz Veneziano, commonly known as the Aperol Spritz, is another bubbly Italian cocktail that’s lighter and more citrus-forward.

Food Pairings to Go with the Negroni Sbagliato

The Negroni Sbagliato pairs well with a variety of foods. Classic Italian appetizers like olives, cured meats, and cheese are natural companions. For a twist, try it with spicy Asian dishes—the bitterness can cut through the heat and richness.

Seafood dishes, particularly those with a citrus element, also complement the cocktail’s profile. The effervescence of the sparkling wine makes it a refreshing counterpoint to the savory flavors.

Negroni Sbagliato FAQs

Can I make a non-alcoholic version of the Negroni Sbagliato? Yes, use non-alcoholic aperitifs and sparkling grape juice to mimic the flavors.

What if I don’t have Prosecco? Any dry sparkling wine can work, though Prosecco is preferred for its balance and regional authenticity.

How do I avoid over-diluting the cocktail? Use large ice cubes that melt slowly and chill the glass beforehand.

Is the Negroni Sbagliato suitable for large gatherings? Absolutely, it’s easy to batch and serve in a pitcher for parties.

Can I use a different type of vermouth? Yes, but stick to sweet (red) vermouth to maintain the intended flavor profile.


Negroni Sbagliato

The Negroni Sbagliato is a delightful twist on the classic Negroni cocktail. 'Sbagliato' means 'mistaken' or 'wrong' in Italian, a reference to the happy accident that supposedly led to its creation when sparkling wine was used instead of gin. It's a lighter, bubbly alternative that retains the rich bitterness of the original.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Cocktail
Cuisine Italian
Servings 1 cocktail
Calories 160 kcal


  • Rocks glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Bar spoon


  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 oz Sparkling Wine Prosecco preferred
  • Ice cubes
  • Orange slice or twist for garnish


  • Fill a glass, traditionally a rocks or old-fashioned glass, with ice cubes.
  • Pour the Campari and sweet vermouth over the ice.
  • Top with sparkling wine and gently stir to combine.
  • Garnish with an orange slice or twist.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy responsibly.


For a less bitter version, adjust the ratio of Campari to sweet vermouth, or choose a milder vermouth. Always use fresh ice for the best taste and carbonation. The Negroni Sbagliato can be served as an aperitif before meals or as a refreshing cocktail at any occasion.
Keyword aperitivo, bitter, Bubbly, Campari, Cocktail, Italian, Negroni Sbagliato, Prosecco, Refreshing, Sparkling Wine, sweet vermouth

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