The Ingredient Swap That Will Change Your Negroni Forever

The original Negroni recipe has become an enduring cocktail classic for a reason. As reported by Condé Nast Traveler, legend has it the drink was invented in Florence in 1919 to satisfy Count Camillo Negroni's newly acquired taste for liquor after a trip to America. (What was the count doing on U.S. shores? Bizarrely enough, he was working as a rodeo clown.) Named for the count, the Negroni quickly became a favorite served in bars and restaurants around Italy. Three basic ingredients — gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari — live in perfect harmony to create a bittersweet, herbal sip that is instantly memorable and unique. Of course, a drink this beloved and simple invites itself to endless reinterpretations.

The Negroni itself was actually a variation on an existing drink, the older Americano (not to be confused with the espresso drink), which is made from a mix of sweet vermouth and Campari topped with club soda. Some Negroni ingredient swaps, like the whiskey-based Boulevardier, have been around so long they are classics in their own right (via Serious Eats). While other, newer versions like the frozen Negroni have turned the herbaceous sipper into a refreshing summer treat. With all that experimentation it's no surprise some truly transformative Negroni twists have been created over the years, including this deceptively simple one.

Swap out gin for rum in your Negroni

The idea for a rum-based Negroni was first popularized by bartender Joaquín Simó, according to Punch. Jamaican rum offers big fruity, smoky, and sweet flavors, which turn the dry cocktail into something warm and tropical that would be just as welcome in a poolside cabana as the original is in a dark city bar (via Esquire). Carried around the country by the cocktail revival of the 2010s and events like Negroni Week, the rum-based, or Kinston, Negroni has become a cult hit and an essential variation for any Negroni or rum lover to try.

The fun of a rum Negroni is how it runs in the opposite direction of the traditional recipe's alchemy. Imbibe says the spicy funk (or hogo) and strong flavor of rum cut down the drink's bitterness instead of complimenting it the way gin does. While we would never discourage you from sticking to the classic, once you give rum a shot in your Negroni you may never consider gin again.