How to make a Negroni Sbagliato

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Negroni Sbagliato... with Prosecco in it: Sam Espensen bottles the drink
Negroni Sbagliato... with Prosecco in it: Sam Espensen bottles the drink

Related tags Cocktail Gin Prosecco Vermouth

Bartenders give tips on making the perfect Negroni Sbagliato after the drink’s popularity skyrocketed following a viral TikTok video.

“What’s your drink of choice?” asked HBO’s House of the Dragon​ star Olivia Cooke in the video snippet. “A Negroni,” replied co-star Emma D’Arcy, “Sbagliato,” they continued, before leaning in to add, “with Prosecco in it.” 

The exchange subsequently blew up on TikTok, with fans enthralled by D’Arcy’s velvety pronunciation. Consumers have carried the trend off the app into bars, with mixologists noting a surge in orders of D’Arcy’s drink of choice. 

@hbomax I'll take one of each. #houseofthedragon♬ a negroni sbagliato w prosecco l hbo max - hbomax

Sam Espensen, co-founder of Bristol-based spirits producer Espensen Spirit, had “definitely” seen an uptick in customers ordering the drink and asking questions about it since its TikTok popularity. 

The bar had a big following of film and TV buffs, and used to host Game of Thrones​ screenings, which meant it was “particularly attuned” to the pop culture reference. 

Espensen believed the Negroni Sbagliato was the “perfect middle ground” between an Aperol Spritz and Negroni, as some were snobbish about the Spritz or found the latter drink too bitter. 

Happy accident

The cocktail is a riff on the Classic Negroni, with sweet vermouth and Campari fused with Prosecco rather than gin. 

The Negroni Sbagliato was invented by bartender Mirko Stocchetto in Milan in 1972 at Bar Basso, a historic bar in Milan that's still open.  

It's said that while making the classic Negroni, Mirko accidentally grabbed a bottle of Prosecco and of gin and poured it into the glass, making cocktail history. 

This led to the name ‘Sbagliato’ which translates from the Italian word sbagli​ – meaning ‘mistake’. 

The Bristol licensee found it interesting that the drink had come back into popularity due to another ‘mistake’, with the TikTok PR stunt being a “happy accident”. 

Since she’d offered the cocktail as a menu option, every single person that had looked at bookings had opted for it.  

The Espensen Spirit version of the tipple uses the bar’s Negroni blend, which includes several vermouths and five Italian aperitifs. A raspberry gin is then added to the Sbagliato, which proves “very popular” as adds a layer of flavour. 

“If you're serving cocktails, it's a really easy drink to have on a bar menu, especially for Christmas parties,” she said. “You're missing a trick, really, if you don't have it on, even if it's just for this year.” 

Top tips

It was key to use “good ingredients, proper technique and proper recipes,” when making the cocktail, according to the hospitality and bar manager of Cheyne Walk Club, Northampton, Northamptonshire.  

Albert Moravski advised mixologists to use Italian products, taste-test drinks beforehand and not to follow recipes blindly. 

The social media trend was “ideal,” he added. “The whole industry benefits from it by introducing people to variations on classics” 

Hey Palu director Alex Palumbo had also seen a surge in the drink’s popularity since it blew up on TikTok, which had continued across the past few weeks. 

The Edinburgh-based Top 50 cocktail bar was serving a winter version of Negroni Sbagliato that used bitters, sweet vermouth and Lambrusco- Italian sparkling red wine instead of prosecco 

Palumbo added: “As long as you use one part of a really nice bitter, a nice vermouth and a nice cold Prosecco to top it up, it is pretty nice – pretty refreshing.” 

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