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8 variations on a Negroni that are better than the original

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The Negroni is a classic cocktail: Gin, Campari and sweet vermouth are stirred in equal measure to make the original recipe. But who says you have to stick to it?

We’re more about staying true to you than what the recipe says. After all, it’s all about enjoying your drink, your way. And a Negroni is a great cocktail to put your spin on. Swap out an ingredient, add an extra bit of spice…there’s limitless ways to make it your own. So here’s our own Negroni variations to get you started…


Take your Negroni game to the next level with the Boulevardier. This old school recipe is a famed drink from 1920s Paris when an American writer put a whisky spin on the drink to mirror the vibrancy of his literary magazine, ‘The Boulevardier’. It’s classic, classy and damn right delicious. All you need to do is swap gin for Ballantine’s 12 Year Old Whisky to get a fuller-bodied, warmer serve that’s drinkable anytime, anywhere. The best kind of remix. This recipe is a simple one, combining fresh lemon juice with whisky, sugar and bitters for a zingy short drink that dates back over 150 years old. It might be a classic, but its simplicity also means it’s easy as apple pie to mix things up.


Upgrade a Negroni by swapping out Gin for our Ballantine’s 12 Year Old Whisky and mix up the Boulevardier. Our favourite kind of remix


Old Pal

A drink to share with old friends, new friends and those in between. The Old Pal is the bitter, spiced cousin of the Boulevardier, combining Campari, whisky and dry vermouth. It’s another result of the Parisian cocktail scene, originating in Harry’s New York Bar during the Prohibition era.

The swap from sweet to dry vermouth results in a lighter, sharper serve. Make it in equal parts or go heavier on the whisky – however you like it works.

Smoked Whisky Negroni

Add an extra layer of intensity to your next Negroni cocktail hour with this smoky twist, inspired by the fiery Penicillin. Stir whisky, Campari and sweet vermouth together with ice for a Boulevardier base before topping with a small float of peat scotch. It’ll add a powerful smokiness to every sip.

Aperol Spritzoni

Combine your love of an Aperol Spritz with an OG Negroni by swapping out Campari. It’ll result in a more refreshing, citrus serve that’s perfect for spontaneous summer sessions. For extra warmth and fruity notes, switch gin to Ballantine’s Brasil, a zesty spirit drink with a citrus lime twist.

Bobby Burns

Take inspiration from the Scots with this smoky, sweet take. Meet the Bobby Burns cocktail, a drink created to honour Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns. A close cousin of the Boulevardier, it’s thought to have originated back in the early 1900s. So you can expect a classic strong mix of sweet, smoky flavours.

This recipe calls for equal parts scotch and sweet vermouth with the addition of Bénédictine liqueur for a herbal bitterness. Add a twist of lemon to your chilled glass and you’ve got yourself a wee drink to be proud of.

Bobby Burns

Raise a toast to Scotland’s national bard with this sophisticated cocktail.


Rob Roy

For those in the know, a Rob Roy is simply a Manhattan made with scotch. But also, it’s the shot of Ballantine’s 12 that makes it a true Scottish legend.


Rob Roy

We’re venturing into Manhattan territory now but if you like the scotch, sweet vermouth combo of a Boulevardier or Bobby Burns, stick around. The Rob Roy is another Scottish named drink that puts a whisky twist on an original cocktail recipe.

Stir scotch and sweet vermouth with a dash of bitters before topping with a maraschino cherry for 1900s glamour.

White Negroni

Classic Negronis have a distinctly rich red colour. But not this one. This light, yellow variation puts more than one spin on the original recipe, switching Campari to Lillet Blanc and sweet vermouth to a dry alternative. It’s predictably lighter, adding a floral twist to the renowned Negroni bitterness.


An Americano was created for those who love a Negroni but want a lighter serve. Removing the gin results in the same bittersweet flavours of Campari and sweet vermouth but without the higher alcohol content. It can also be mixed with soda water for a longer drink, or add in some of Ballantine’s Light for extra warmth, a bespoke new drink with half the ABV.


Find more cocktail recipes to mix up with Ballantine’s including twists on some of your favourite drinks. Don’t miss our favourite Penicillin variations and or selection of classic whisky cocktails.

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