Make no mistake, this Negroni doesn’t have gin

Some viral trends, like eating Tide pods, are bizarre, but others can be delightful.

It is strange and wonderful when a fairly obscure drink, like the Negroni sbagliato — one we have been drinking and serving in our restaurant for years — suddenly becomes the “it” thing.

A recent TikTok video, featuring Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke of the HBO series “House of the Dragon,” shows the two stylish actors having an interview-style conversation. Cooke asks D’Arcy what her favorite drink is, and D’Arcy replies, “Negroni.” After a pause, she adds, “sbagliato.” And, after a longer pause: “With prosecco in it.” That last phrase is delivered breathily and seductively, to which Cooke replies, “Stunning.”

That video has been viewed more than 10 million times.

So, what is a Negroni sbagliato? It is a variation on a Negroni, the classic cocktail of equal portions gin, sweet vermouth and Campari. In the sbagliato version, prosecco is substituted for the gin, which makes the drink lighter, less alcoholic and more refreshing.

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Sbagliato is the Italian word for “mistaken.” Cocktail lore has it that a bartender mistakenly grabbed a bottle of prosecco instead of gin when making a Negroni. That bartender, Mirko Stocchetto, was the owner of Bar Sasso in Milan, and a well-trained professional.

The drink was created in the late 1960s, when Milan was experiencing a cultural revolution. Fashion houses were booming, and more women were entering the workplace. Mirko thought that something lighter was needed for this new drinking class. Although he was Venetian, he stayed away from spritzes, but he liked sparkling wine as an ingredient. As his son, Maurizio, the current owner of Bar Basso, tells it, his dad liked to make small changes to classics.

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So, it seems likely this was no mistake.

Enjoy mixing up this riff on a classic cocktail at home, and keep it in your back pocket for the impending holiday entertaining. Its bitter, bright taste and low-alcohol content make it a great pre-dinner drink.

And, remember: When you are out and order it, just say “Negroni sbagliato.”

The “with prosecco in it” is redundant.

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1 ounce Campari

1 ounce sweet vermouth

1 ounce (or slightly more) prosecco

Orange slice (optional)

Fill a rocks glass with ice. Add the Campari and sweet vermouth. Add the prosecco, and give it a few gentle spins around the glass with a bar spoon, to integrate the ingredients. Garnish with an orange slice.

Serves: 1

Per serving: 145 calories (percent of calories from fat, 0), trace protein, 12 grams carbohydrates, no fiber, no fat, no cholesterol, 4 milligrams sodium.

The Slaters are beverage industry veterans and the proprietors of the Expat and the Lark Winespace in Athens.

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