White Out: The Cool Allure of the White Negroni

a white negroni cocktail with light shining through it

It’s remarkable that the White Negroni, a cocktail variation itself, has inspired so many variations.

While Suze, the bitter French gentian liqueur, has attempted to codify a standard—its back label suggesting equal proportions of itself along with gin and Lillet Blanc (a lightly sweet, aromatized wine)—it’s never caught on as a universal.

Restaurants and bars across the city have distinct takes. LaRina Pastificio & Vino in Fort Greene substitutes cucumber-infused mezcal for gin, adds bite with Cocchi Americano (similar to Lillet, but with bitterness from quinine), and bianco vermouth. Williamsburg’s Aldama also uses mezcal and Cocchi, but enhances its bitterness with white balsamic.

Via Carota in the West Village stays traditional with gin and vermouth, but also employs Luxardo Bitter Bianco—a clear and tongue-beguiling liqueur that perhaps comes closest to the spirit of Campari. The list goes on.

Though variation with the White Negroni appears to be the norm, what’s most important is that the cocktail’s essence remains intact. My recommendation, when experimenting at home, is that something bitter, something aromatic, and something wine-based—in proportion—is a clear formula for success.

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White Negroni

Makes 1 cocktail

1 ounce Chareau (an aromatic liqueur made with aloe vera, cucumber, muskmelon, spearmint, and lemon peel)

1 ounce Lustau “Papirusa” Manzanilla (a clear, dry, saline sherry)

1 ounce Luxardo Bitter Bianco

Twist of lemon for garnish

Combine liquid ingredients in a stirring vessel. Add ice and stir until cold and dilute.

Pour into a rocks glass filled with ice. Express the lemon peel and rim for garnish.