The white negroni, a modern riff on the negroni cocktail, is what I turn to in the warmer months. It’s like switching out your winter coat come springtime. Gin is an all-season liquor, and swapping out the other ingredients lightens up the classic drink, making this a bright alternative in warmer months.
The basic flavor components are the same as a negroni and the gin stays put, but the ruby red Campari is switched for a lighter-hued bitter liqueur and the rich sweet vermouth swaps out for white vermouth.
History of the White Negroni
While swaps in classic drinks have been around as long as the classics themselves, the white negroni is a modern variation created at the start of the 21st century by Plymouth Gin rep Nick Blacknell and UK bartender Wayne Collins. Having created this while on a trip, the French ingredients proved hard to come by outside of France.
The drink took about a decade to ramp up in popularity and helped to make the ingredients available in other countries. Through a combination of a resurgence of interest in classic drinks and appearing on more cocktail menus, the white negroni became a hit. It’s certainly a favorite cocktail variation of mine.
How to Make a White Negroni
Contrary to the name, the white negroni is not actually white, but instead ranges from a pale yellow to a more vivid yellow in color depending on which liquors you use.
For the bitter component of the drink (filling the role of Campari in the classic recipe), I prefer Suze, the bittersweet yellow-hued liqueur that adds a dash of sunshine to the cocktail. The vivid yellow-orange color is from gentian root, which also imparts the bitter flavor.
The other traditional ingredient in a white negroni is Lillet (pronounced lee-LAY) Blanc, a blend of French wine, citrus liqueurs, and botanicals. This fortified wine (replacing the sweet vermouth) has a light citrus and herbal flavor with a small amount of bitterness in the finish.
Both of these ingredients may or may not be stocked at your local liquor store, so I’ve added alternatives below if you have trouble sourcing these bottles.
Easy Ingredient Swaps
If you’re having trouble sourcing Suze and Lillet Blanc at your local store, try these other bottles instead. Keep in mind you can always reach out to your local store and inquire about having a bottle ordered for you.
- Luxardo Bitter Bianco
- Cocchi Americano
- Gentian liqueurs
Lillet Blanc alternatives:
- Cocchi Americano (can also be used here too!)
- Dolin Blanc Vermouth
- Cinzano Bianco Vermouth
- Kina L'Aéro d'Or
- Fortified wines
More Classic Gin Cocktails
1 ounce gin
3/4 ounce Suze
3/4 ounce Lillet Blanc
Lemon peel, for garnish
Combine the ingredients:
In a mixing glass filled 2/3 with ice, combine the gin, Suze, and Lillet Blanc. Stir until cold, about 20 seconds.
Strain and garnish:
Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with the lemon peel.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 6g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||2%|
|Total Sugars 4g|
|Vitamin C 8mg||39%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|