Negroni Sbgliato

Negroni Sbagliato Story

Negroni Sbagliato- A True Story

If you are a fan of the classic Negroni cocktail, you are going to love this slightly less bitter and bubbly version.

Many innovations come from mistakes such the discovery of Penicillin – which is a fascinating story in itself, to the simple posit sticky notes which I use all the time. Mistakes in science are often the shining stars of invention. In the case of the Negroni Sbagliato the error was simple enough- a bartender mistakenly used prosecco instead of gin. Now he could have thrown the drink out and started over, but it was served up and must have been liked because the drink was given a name Negroni Sbagliato. The word Sbagliato means wrong or incorrect in Italian. No doubt it’s rosy colour, bitter fruitiness and bubbles made it easy to drink and the perfect aperitive to serve with nibbles.

Another Funny story

I was at Melbourne airport this week to pick up my daughter flying in from Perth. I arrived early so popped into a bar for a quick drink as you do when you are waiting. One drink, a great drink to whet my appetite for the pizza my partner was cooking up from scratch for dinner- he has perfected the art of home-made pizzas- but that’s another story too. So of course, a Negroni was the perfect choice.

Now I was not paying much attention when reading the cocktail menu and just locked in on the word Negroni- this was my first happy mistake! I ordered at the cash register because the barman was serving food as well as making drinks, a sad reflection of how short-staffed businesses are in Melbourne. The hapless female cashier took my order but when I asked her about the type of gin, they used to mix this drink she looked nervous. I thought this was because she had never made this cocktail before. She hesitated before answering me looking up the recipe then rattled off the ingredients which did not include gin. All I heard was prosecco. What no gin? that’s not a Negroni I said!

Hooked on Taste

Now we were both uncomfortable, so she went off to check with the bartender who was still busy serving hot food. Anyway, to cut a long story short a middle-aged Italian barman brought over my so called Negroni and took the time to explain to me that they use bitters instead of Campari and prosecco for gin to make their version of a Negroni Sbgliato. Ok still thinking this is not a real Negroni, however, it did look very appetising, and my stomach growled in approval. After one sip I was hooked, and I am glad that I got to drink this version of a Negroni.

It was a liberating experience. An ah ha moment that made me think about names and expectations. A Negroni should be a rosy bittersweet aperitif sipped slowly to stimulate the appetite. Have you ever wondered why there are so many variations of classic drinks? I guess often it’s working with the ingredients you have to achieve a desired taste or putting your own personal spin on a classic if you are a big hotel chain or top-notch bar.

Behind the Story

Now I feel I have been given permission to put my own Botanikos spin on this classic Italian drink and mix up my own tasty version. You decide which version you like best

Negroni Botanikos #1

This recipe has been adapted to suit the ingredients I have in my home bar. Red vermouth can be replaced with a dry red wine which captures the bitter notes that are classic in a sweet vermouth then add a simple syrup to taste. For the Campari (which I adore but run out of regularly) I have used bitters. My preferred red wine on all occasions when I am drinking a red is a Pinot – although I do love travelling tasting the local reds when travelling though Spain France or Italy.

Feel free to adjust the red wine used in the recipe to anything you have or like.


  • 65 ml Dry Red wine (Pinot)
  • 15 ml Bitter orange simple syrup
  • ½ tsp Bitters (Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Aromatic Bitters)
  • 40 ml Prosecco


  • Fill a short rocks glass with ice
  • Pour over red wine and Bitter orange syrup
  • Add drops of ½ tsp (5 drops) aromatic bitters
  • Then add prosecco
  • Stir to combine everything together
  • Garnish with slices of orange or peel
  • Serves 1 cocktail


Cabernet Sauvignon wine is bold and complex with olives, black currant, and black cherry flavour and can have 13%-15% alcohol content.

Dry red Pinot Noir wines are light to medium-bodied with a fruity flavour (mostly red fruit) has low tannins with 12%-15% alcohol content. A Pinot flavour becomes more complex and creamier with hints of earth and spice notes as the wine ages.

Negroni Botanikos #2


Method is the same as above.

We would love to hear what you think of our versions of the Negroni

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