Is a Negroni still a Negroni if it doesn’t have Campari? Somehow, yes. Even when you take out that syrupy red amaro, this cocktail still channels the spirit of a classic Negroni. The secret is Suze, a French apéritif that tastes like a mouthful of dandelions. It’s bitter enough to make up for the lack of Campari in a White Negroni, and it lends the drink a subtle neon yellow glow. Of course, you also need some gin for this drink, and Lillet helps round things out with a touch of sweetness. The resulting cocktail is a little less in-your-face than a classic Negroni. This drink was invented by bartender Wayne Collins in 2001, although we’ve tweaked the proportions a bit to create our ideal version.
- Rocks Glass
- .75 ounce Suze
- 1 ounce Lillet
- 1.25 ounce gin
- Lemon twist
Step One: Suze
As we mentioned earlier, Suze is a French aperitif. It’s fairly bitter and slightly sweet, and it tastes like an Alpine meadow in summer. Here, it works as a Campari substitute, and we’re going to need you to add .5 ounce to your mixing glass.
Step Two: Lillet
Another French aperitif, Lillet is a light, sweet fortified wine very similar to vermouth, and it’ll help balance the intense herbaceousness of Suze. Put 1 ounce in your mixing glass.
Step Three: Gin
Could you drink Suze and Lillet on the rocks? Actually, yes. But that would be more of an after-dinner drink, and if you want to have this before dinner (or at any other time of the day), you’re going to want to add some gin. Something citrus-forward like Nikka Coffey Gin is ideal - but really anything works here. Pour 1.25 ounce in your mixing glass.
Step Four: Stir
Why do you need to stir your White Negroni? Because if you pour all these ingredients over ice in a rocks glass, your cocktail will be far too strong. You need some form of dilution, and that’s where stirring comes in. Add 5 or 6 standard-sized ice cubes to your mixing glass, and stir for about 20 seconds. After, strain your White Negroni into a rocks glass full of ice, and garnish with a lemon twist. Garnishes aren’t always crucial, but on a scale from one to essential, I’d call this twist very essential. You need that fresh, slightly bitter hint of lemon, and if you cut your twist correctly, you’ll also have an extraordinarily attractive beverage.