Variations and Substitutions
Although the white Negroni does require specific ingredients, there's still wiggle room to play around.
- Try out different styles of gin, such as London dry, Tom Cat, Plymouth, and genever.
- Experiment with different proportions, but don't get too wild with 2½ ounces of gin and only a splash of Lillet and Suze. The classic Negroni calls for equal parts of each ingredient, other white Negroni recipes call for varying proportions with a quarter to half ounce change of the recipe listed. Many use the 1½, ¾, ¾ ounce proportion.
- If you can't locate Suze, Salers makes a great substitute.
- Should neither of these ingredients be available, use a slightly sweet yet bitter apéritif wine.
- In case that Lillet blanc isn't available, use Cocchi Americano instead.
If you aren't feeling the lemon twist garnish, you have a few other options to consider.
- You can use a lemon peel, coin, or ribbon to keep the lemon peel feel.
- Use a lemon wheel, slice, or wedge for a stronger shade of lemon.
- Use an orange instead of a lemon. You can do this with the orange peel as a coin, ribbon, or twist as well as a wheel, wedge, or slice.
- A dehydrated orange or lemon wheel adds a decorative look.
About the White Negroni
From the start of the Negroni in 1919, there have been countless variations and riffs on the original. The classic is three equal parts of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth; the white Negroni follows the three-ingredient structure and gin spirit but spins away from the original with its remaining ingredients.
In place of sweet vermouth, the white Negroni calls for Lillet blanc, a French liqueur. Lillet is comprised of 85% wines, specifically Bordeaux, and just 15% smashed citrus peels that become liqueurs. The final Lillet product results when the ingredients age in oak vats until developed and ready.
Suze, the final ingredient, is a gentian liqueur, a clear liqueur made from the gentian plant, the same primary ingredient in Angostura bitters. However, Suze diverges from the rest with its slight yellow hue. The gentian flower is a bright blue flower found worldwide, with hundreds of different species. Unlike most other liqueurs and spirits that use the bud of flowers to create their color and flavor, gentian liqueur is from the roots of the gentian plants.
Although both Lillet blanc and Suze have long been around, the White Negroni is a newer, modern cocktail. This new Negroni could also be referred to as a French Negroni, as its creation resulted from wanting to bring focus to French ingredients.
A New Negroni
Some Negroni riffs result from limited ingredients, others as a way to celebrate and use different ingredients. The white Negroni brings French ingredients to the forefront, crafting a new, yet Negroni-spirited, modern cocktail.