She’s an intriguing Italian woman who speaks a little French.

Meet Madame Negroni, Saint Leo’s house cocktail variation on a classic that reaches for Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin and draws inspiration from the French 75—it’s topped with bubbles!

For a cocktail to earn its classification as a Negroni (gin, Campari, sweet vermouth), it must technically have Campari, an intense and bracingly bitter Italian aperitif, but the gin and vermouth (and ratios) are always subject to experimentation. Bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts love to play with a Negroni!

Decidedly more approachable than a classic Negroni, the Madame Negroni screams, Hey, you like botanical gin and loooove French 75s, so try a Negroni!

Sorry, deep red Campari, this Negroni is kinda-sorta pink though. Sparkling rosé wine softens the bitterness, talks nice to the sweet vermouth and makes this bubbly femme fatale dance in a coupe!

A Madame Negroni is best imbibed at Saint Leo over shared plates of marinated olives and the cult-followed chopped salad, but you won’t even need a shaker to try your hand at making one of these beauties at home.


Recipe courtesy of head bartender extraordinaire Joe Stinchcomb of Saint Leo and Saint Leo Lounge in Oxford, Mississippi. 


 Know your Negroni
Its early 20th Century origins are traced back to Florence, Italy, when Count Camillo Negroni wanted a boozier version of his Americano (Campari, sweet vermouth and soda) and asked for gin in place of soda. Get acquainted with the beloved negroni with Gary Regan’s essay on Regan is the author of The Negroni: Drinking La Dolce Vita, with Recipes & Lore.

Kissing cousins
Sparkling wine in place of the gin altogether is called a Negroni Sbagliato. The word sbagliato means “mistake” in Italian. In the words of Sheryl Crow: “…all I know is you’re my favorite mistake.” {clink} Swap out the gin for bourbon and you have a Boulevardier.

Cocktails for a cause
Imbibe Magazine and Campari celebrate the notorious negroni, which is turning 100, with Negroni Week. Every year, participating bar and restaurants select their charities of choice, an excellent time to try a negroni!

 Don’t be so bitter
If Campari freaks you out (keep trying), swap it out for less-bitter Aperol liqueur.

 Truth about vermouth
Vermouth is an aromatized wine so treat it like a bottle of just-opened white wine. It must be kept chilled and for up to 2 weeks, max. Buy a fresh bottle for a party and toss out the one that’s been sitting on your bar cart for months. Remember: refrigerate!

 Batch it!
Stirred and boozy drinks (no syrup and citrus to shake) are easily pre-batched for parties. The Madame Negroni is equal parts before topping with sparkling wine when serving, so it’s even simpler. Recipe follows.