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The Negroni is the quintessential “equal parts” cocktail. Each component in a Negroni works to balance the others, but they push back a little bit, too, asserting new dimensions as the drink unravels—making it an ideal apéritif for the start of an evening. The template of base spirit, bitter Italian aperitivo, and fortified wine allows for the easy swapping of ingredients.

The Negroni is an offshoot of the Americano, another classic cocktail. Some Negroni variations include the Boulevardier, which swaps gin for bourbon or rye whiskey, or the Rosita, which splits the fortified wine component between sweet and dry vermouth and calls for tequila in place of gin.