Negroni Sbagliato Spritz

Negroni Sbagliato spritz cocktail

I was planning on spacing out the cocktail recipes here with some other recipes, but I had a few baking stumbles and went through so much nut flour, butter, and eggs that I needed to take a baking break. And what better way to relax than over a refreshing spritz?

Negroni Sbagliato spritz cocktail

I was introduced to the Spritz when I went to coffee school in Trieste, Italy. I drank at least six cups of espresso every day – how could I not? – surprising even the Italian teachers. And by the end of the day, I needed to wind down.

So early evenings, I’d go to a local caffè where I noticed everyone drinking reddish drinks in large, wide goblets filled with handfuls of ice. Since icy beverages are often avoid in some countries in Europe, it was surprising to see people drinking cold drinks. And I wanted one.

And that was when I found myself enjoying my very first Italian spritz. But it wasn’t my last. I was also stunned by all the food they offer in Italian bars during the aperitivo hour that’s included, and for the taking, to enjoy with your drinks. As an Italian friend of mine said when I asked her about it – “Of course they do, because it’s nice to have something to eat when you are having a drink – no?”

Negroni Sbagliato spritz cocktail

I love Negronis but to be honest, they’re so strong that it’s hard to drink more than one. And since I tend to chug whatever drink is in my hand, whether its a glass of water or a tumbler of straight vodka, (I go through drinks quickly – consider yourself warned, in case you ever meet me in a bar and think about picking up my check…), it’s nice to have a cocktail that is light in alcohol, yet full of flavor.

So I was delighted when I tried the Negroni Sbagliato from a lovely book, Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes by Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau. I was talking to Talia a while back about how much I liked spritzs and they seemed like they were ready for a revival.

Negroni spritz cocktail recipe

She and her co-author Leslie beat me to the punch, or the spritz, because this handy guide had a number of recipes I’ve got bookmarked for this summer. I’ve tried several of them and they’ve all been winners. But it was the Negroni Sbagliato stood out.

Negroni Sbagliato spritz cocktail

This flavor-forward drink has the predominant components of a Negroni, except the gin, using prosecco to add a bit of fizz and lighten things up. Prosecco is an affordable sparkling wine from Italy and you don’t need to use the fanciest one. Campari has a lively, uncompromising bitterness, although other red bitters, like Bruto Americano, St. Agrestis, and Cappelleti will also work.

Negroni Sbagliato spritz cocktail

Negroni Sbagliato Spritz
Print Recipe
Makes one drink
Adapted from Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitif Cocktail, with Recipes by Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau
1 ounce Campari (or another red bitter aperitif)
1 ounce sweet red vermouth
3 ounces prosecco
Garnish: orange half-wheel
1. Put a handful of ice cubes in a tumbler or footed goblet glass.
2. Add the Campari, vermouth, and prosecco to the glass. Stir gently, then garnish with an orange half-wheel.

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A light cocktail, perfect for summer (or anytime) sipping!

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  • May 4, 2016 3:21pm

    The sbagliato is definitely my favourite cocktail :) the bitter orange of the Negroni with a little less punch (and prosecco makes everything better!) Apparently it was created at Bar Basso in Milan where they serve it up in large glasses with what can only be described as icebergs xxx

  • May 4, 2016 4:44pm

    Such a lovely article and I am going to try this drink :)

  • Lillie
    May 4, 2016 4:47pm

    Your post brings back wonderful memories — we used to drink spritzers at my parents lake house years ago in the Texas Hill country. The BEST drink on a hot day.

  • May 4, 2016 5:30pm

    That sounds like the perfect twist to a Negroni!

  • May 4, 2016 5:31pm

    Coffee school is a thing? It sounds like a wonderful excuse to go to Italy, learn about coffee, and sip on cocktails like this one. I’m not a huge negroni person, but I may try this one to cure the wanderlust I’m suddenly filled with.

  • May 4, 2016 5:35pm

    As a kid, I recall my (Italian) parents using prosecco and sweet vermouth in their cocktails. Not to mention (religiously) following meals with demitasse.

  • Linda Handelsman
    May 4, 2016 5:37pm

    I’ve been put off by cocktails containing Campari due to the red food color. Is there any substitute that comes anywhere close to the same flavor? It seems I’m really missing something.

    • Catherine
      May 4, 2016 8:10pm

      Aperol Aperitivo

      • Linda Handelsman
        May 4, 2016 8:42pm

        Doesn’t that also contain red dye? I thought it did.

        • May 4, 2016 9:01pm
          David Lebovitz

          I’ve heard that Cappelletti Aperitivo doesn’t have dye in it, but I’m not 100% sure of that. Leopold Bros. makes an Italian-style aperitivo (made in America) that is naturally colored and looks interesting although I haven’t tried it.

          • Linda Handelsman
            May 4, 2016 9:03pm

            Good tip! I’ll see if I can find it and check it out. Does it taste at all like the others?

          • May 4, 2016 9:12pm
            David Lebovitz

            I haven’t tried it. (It’s not easy to find some of the more elusive vermouths in France.) I would go into a good liquor store and ask the staff, if there is one in your area.

    • Greg
      May 8, 2016 7:01am

      Gran Classico Bitter replicates the original Campari recipe. Only way to go …
      Campari drinkers take note: the ultimate expression of Bitter.”
      – F. Paul Pacult, The Spirit Journal!gran-classico-bitter/dz65j

      • May 8, 2016 1:06pm
        David Lebovitz

        Thanks. I didn’t know they made a bitter aperitivo. Also St. Georges in Oakland is making an apertivo as well, and said they will release it shortly.

      • Linda
        May 8, 2016 1:51pm

        Thanks! Now lets see if my local liquor store monopoly carries it. Here’s hoping!

  • Debra
    May 4, 2016 6:43pm

    Yum! Looks delish!

  • Chandler in Las Vegas
    May 4, 2016 7:07pm

    David, love the cocktail posts. Love this recipe. This looks like a nice alternative to my regular Campari-soda. What Sweet Vermouth do you use or recommend?

    • May 4, 2016 9:04pm
      David Lebovitz

      I use Dolin (French) vermouth.

      • Chandler in Las Vegas
        May 4, 2016 9:18pm

        Thank you! I appreciate the authentic DL experience.

  • nicola a,
    May 4, 2016 7:38pm

    Americano… in the right way- no match

  • penny mcconnel
    May 4, 2016 7:48pm

    I am curious about the name of the drink as sbagliato means mistake or wrong. Any ideas?

    • May 4, 2016 8:57pm
      David Lebovitz

      According to the Spritz book, it means “mistaken” or “incorrect,” which is kind of a charming way to describe a variation : )

  • LC Smith
    May 4, 2016 8:03pm

    another option is one I had at a Jamie Oliver restaurant in Bath – made with Campari, Prosecco and fresh orange juice – light, festive and refreshing. It’s called the Milano while the one described here as Sbagliato is called an Americano there.

  • May 4, 2016 9:23pm

    David… any plans for a cocktail book of your own? I know I’m not the only one I’d buy it!

    • May 4, 2016 9:30pm

      “who’d buy it”, I meant.

      • Dan
        May 5, 2016 6:25pm

        Would buy two copies and gift one immediately!

  • May 4, 2016 9:31pm

    Sbagliato but NOT wrong. This will have to be my signature drink since I was born a stone throw away from Trieste. We love the Aperol Spritz and I’m sure this will be just as delicious. Non è sbagliato ma perfectto.

  • Stephanie Daye
    May 5, 2016 12:45am

    ahh.. negronis have a special place in my heart but i think i will definitely add this lovely-and light- aperitif to my summer drink collection! an i’m with you dave (re: any drink in your hand). I’m from the East Coast (Halifax) and we’ve been known to drink a boatload of cocktails when offered haha!

  • Carter
    May 5, 2016 1:39am

    So an Americano, but with Prosecco in place of club soda.

  • Freddy
    May 5, 2016 7:27am

    I swear that I moments before reading your blog I poured a little Italian vermouth (Carpano Antica Formula) into a pedestrian Prosecco to zip it up. I was pleased with “my discovery” and proud for about 2 minutes.

    A coincidence? I think not. ;)


  • ron shapley
    May 5, 2016 2:30pm

    Dave……A stupid question from a typically non-imbiber but sweet vermouth or dry vermouth ??

  • Carol
    May 5, 2016 2:54pm

    I have recently moved to Mallorca, Spain and have discovered Aperol which is very similar, we have it with Cava and orange rind and lots of ice….delish!!

  • Dan
    May 5, 2016 6:24pm

    Negroni happens to be my favorite cocktail, so now I really want to try this one. I wonder if a dash of flavouring bitters would compensate for a uninteresting choice of Vermouth, as I find it does in a negroni. And if you thought the Vermouth variety was lacking in Paris, try Sweden.

  • Deborah
    May 5, 2016 9:30pm

    David, apologies for being off topic: I substituted a one lb daikon radish for the turnip in your Sept 2012 pickle recipe and added just a bit to your Feb 2008 KimChee–Heaven! Wanted to say thanks!
    Love those archives!

  • Anne
    May 6, 2016 10:30pm

    I’m relieved – I thought I was the only one who always chugs their drinks… I’ve never understood other people’s restraint! This looks and sounds great – will definitely try it.

  • Tunie
    May 9, 2016 10:45am

    Just what I’ve been searching for! This is going with me to the beach in a thermos! I’ve been looking for an alternative to beer for the cooler and this sounds perfect!! Light voltage, but still capable of facilitating relaxation, and sooo much more grown up. Thank you so much!

  • Gail
    May 28, 2016 1:26am

    The Cappelletti is wonderful. Another recipe is to float a blood orange in a glass of Prosecco and a tad of Cappelletti. Beautiful color – Thanks to the Shed in Healdsburg, CA USA.