Geoffrey Zakarian's White Negroni Is Perfect For A Summer Party

When you think about cocktails to sip poolside, you're probably not thinking about Negronis. The dog days of summer cry out for frozen margaritas and piña coladas. Even if you aren't a fan of frozens, you're probably reaching for a mojito, a Paloma, or a peach Bellini way before considering the spirit-heavy bitter cocktail that is the Negroni. Don't get us wrong — alongside the dirty martini, the Negroni is arguably one of the sexiest, most sophisticated drinks in the cocktail world. An understated tripartite combination of gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, the ingredients speak for themselves (and they say "Whoever is drinking this probably has lots of secrets and is cooler than you"). Still, while the "mysterious and aloof" persona may be a charming little trip during the winter months (think turtleneck sweater and a Kafka book), when summertime rolls around, foodies are jumping in the pool and cranking the Beach Boys. Mysterious, who? We're too busy having fun in the sun to remember our moody phases from a few months back.

But, when it's time to throw the first pool party or picnic of the season, keep that Negroni in mind. Modern-American chef and television personality Geoffrey Zakarian is doing it – and his white Negroni may be just the cocktail your summer has been missing.

A mature bevy for sunny afternoons outside

Zakarian's Negroni variation is a kind of loose re-imagination of the classic cocktail. All three of the drink's ingredients are substituted for similar spirits, making this white cocktail's "Negroni" title more conceptual than literal. Per Food & Wine, in Zakarian's white Negroni, gin becomes rum, sweet vermouth becomes Cocchi, and Campari becomes Suze. In case you've never worked with it before, Suze is a bitter herbal French liqueur. It has a lighter amber color in contrast to Campari's signature deep red hue, which is responsible for this cocktail's namesake "whiteness." Instead of sweet vermouth, Cocchi is a type of Italian vermouth with forward notes of rhubarb, balsam, and bitter orange. Cocchi's botanical flavor provides the distinct herbal notes characteristic of a Negroni, which would otherwise be lost when substituting gin for rum.

For a sweet summer sipper, whip out a coconut rum like Malibu or Kōloa and finish off that cocktail with a twist of simple syrup. If you prefer a dryer Negroni, opt for a dark rum like Plantation or Goslings for a deeper, more robust cocktail. To complete the meal, Zakarian recommends pairing your white Negroni with a lighter entrée like linguine or clams.