The Negroni: Drinking to La Dolce Vita with Recipes & Lore by Gary Regan


“I’ve a passion for all things bitter- save for the odd ex-girlfriend.”

Cocktail making is an elusive art, especially for a girl whose idea of drinking in college was Mike’s Hard Lemonade and wine bottles with pictures of desserts.

in 2015, and it’s time to adult.

Gary “Gaz” Regan, well known expert bartender, the Julia Child of booze, authors this little treat of a book, which outlines the history of the Negroni cocktail, along with an assortment of drink recipes. Equal part gin, vermouth (sweet), and Campari, this is a cocktail in a world of its own. I was glad to try a drink with an unexpected bite to it, similar to trying wasabi for the first time. Regan not only serves up multiple recipes, he explores the deep history of the Negroni’s inception, and the impact it’s made around the world.

I loved the alternative recipes, learning that if I ordered an Americano in a bar, instead of watered down espresso, I would get the classic Negroni, subbed with club soda instead of gin (pop! fizz! cilnk!).

I thought my favorite recipe would be the Bitter French, intended as a twist on the French 75 (sidenote: when did the French 75 become the new Cosmo?). The winner in my book was the Caricature Cocktail, a citrusy twist on the classic Negroni with Cointreau (subconsciously seeking my Cosmo, after all). Much to my taste buds’ delight, both recipes include an unexpected complementary ingredient- grapefruit!

The little book packs a big punch. However (and I can speak from experience), it’s light enough to carry to the local Binny’s. I would recommend this title for folks looking to broaden their horizon of cocktails, and for that cocktail aficionado who always knows what to serve.

What I appreciated most was the spirit of collaboration and invention- to have fun with your cocktails, and to use the recipes (from many different bartenders) as a guide, rather than a black-and-white textbook to be memorized and followed.


Rating: 5/5 stars

Additional Links:

  • The author mixing a vintage Negroni in 2012 (click here for YouTube clip)
  • An excerpt featured in Esquire (with recipes)
  • An excerpt an intro from the author’s website

In exchange for an honest review, I received a copy of this book from I reviewed a print version of the book. 

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