Chocolate Negroni is a thing and it’s here to stay! This unique variation on the Negroni is slightly sweet, smooth and perfectly chocolatey. With this cocktail you can have your dessert and drink it too!

Photograph of a negroni cocktail being pouring into a rocks glass set on a white marble tray.

The Basics:

What goes into a classic Negroni?

There are three main components to a Negroni:

  • Gin
  • Campari
  • Sweet Vermouth

Photograph of a negroni cocktail in a rocks glass set on a white marble tray.

How do you make a Negroni?

Other than pouring glasses of champagne, cocktails just don’t get any easier than this.

All you have to do is:

  1. Combine Campari, gin and sweet vermouth in a glass with ice
  2. Stir until well-chilled
  3. Strain into a rocks glass and enjoy!

For a classic Negroni, here’s how much of each ingredient you’ll need:

  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1 orange peel (optional)

“My Negroni is too bitter, what do I do?”

The first thing we need to address is that the Negroni is inherently bitter. A Negroni shouldn’t be so bitter that you can’t drink it, but it should be bitter. Campari, a bright red Italian apéritif, is the source of the bitterness in a Negroni and it’s absolutely essential.

However, if you find it to be too bitter for you, you can easily swap in Aperol, which is also red in color but is sweeter, less bitter and has notes of orange and rhubarb.

Overhead photograph of a negroni cocktail in a rocks glass set on a white marble tray.

Make it Modern:

Now that we have the basics covered, let’s push the envelope a little. For this creative variation on the classic Negroni I’m turning to a tried and true flavor combo—chocolate and orange. 

How do you make a Chocolate Negroni?

The process of making this Chocolate Negroni is very similar to the process of making the classic variation. The only difference is that for this cocktail we’re adding a simple chocolate-orange syrup. I tested both cocoa nibs and cocoa powder in the syrup and ended up opting for the cocoa powder—it’s much easier to use and more available for the home cook.

If you’re interested in the evolution of this recipe, check out my recipe development notes below the recipe!

Want more Campari? Check out these Grapefruit & Campari Tea Cakes!

Photograph of a negroni cocktail in a rocks glass set on a white marble tray.

Print
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Photograph of a negroni cocktail in a rocks glass set on a white marble tray.

Chocolate Negroni

  • Author: Lauren Grant of Zestful Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes + cooling time of syrup
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 48 cocktails 1x
  • Category: Cocktails
  • Method: Stirring
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Smooth, chocolatey and slightly bitter, this modern variation on the classic Negroni cocktail is fun, festive and easy to make!


Ingredients

Scale

For each cocktail:

  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 ounce dry gin
  • ½ ounce sweet vermouth
  • ¼½ ounce chocolate-orange syrup *see recipe below
  • Orange peel, for garnish (optional)

* Chocolate-Orange Syrup

  • ¼ cup Turbinado sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Special Dark unsweetened cocoa powder, or cocoa nibs, ground into a powder
  • ½ teaspoon orange extract

Instructions

For each cocktail:

Combine Campari, gin, vermouth and syrup in a mixing glass with ice; stir until well-chilled.

Strain Negroni into a rocks glass filled with a few large ice cubes.

Garnish with an orange peel.

* For the chocolate-orange syrup

Heat sugar, ¼ cup water, and cocoa powder in a small sauce pan over medium.

Bring mixture to a boil then remove from heat; stir in extract. Let syrup cool completely. 

Use syrup right away or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


Notes

Equipment you’ll need:

  • Small saucepan

Nutrition

  • Calories: 115
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Sodium: 1mg
  • Fat: 0g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 13g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes

Photograph of a negroni cocktail bring poured into a rocks glass set on a white marble tray.

The evolution of the recipe for this Chocolate Negroni: 

Test #1

Syrup:

¼ cup turbinado sugar

¼ cup water

1 tablespoon cocoa nibs, crushed in a mortar and pestle

¼ teaspoon orange extract

Cocktail:

1 ounce gin

1 ounce Campari

½ ounce sweet vermouth

½ ounce chocolate-orange syrup

Both the chocolate flavor and the orange flavor is lacking. Need to be more pronounced to stand up to the Campari.

Next test: try decreasing the Campari so the other flavors can stand out more. Grind the cocoa nibs into a powder using a spice grinder for more flavor. Increase the orange extract to ½ teaspoon.

 

Test #2

Syrup:

¼ cup turbinado sugar

¼ cup water

1 tablespoon cocoa nibs, ground in a spice grinder

½ teaspoon orange extract

Cocktail:

1 ounce gin

¾ ounce Campari

½ ounce sweet vermouth

½ ounce chocolate-orange syrup

Much more chocolate and orange flavor! However a fine-mesh sieve didn’t strain out all of the cocoa nib grounds, ended up straining it through cheesecloth. Although the ground aren’t necessarily offensive, I think I want something smoother.

Next test: Try making the syrup with cocoa powder (easier for most home cooks). Increase Campari back up to 1 ounce (missed the bitterness) and try the cocktail with both ¼ ounce syrup and ½ ounce syrup (the cocktail itself felt a bit thick).

 

Test #3

Syrup:

¼ cup turbinado sugar

¼ cup water

1 tablespoon Special Dark unsweetened cocoa powder

½ teaspoon orange extract

Cocktail:

1 ounce gin

1 ounce Campari

½ ounce sweet vermouth

¼–½ ounce chocolate-orange syrup

I really liked the flavors of this syrup! The cocoa powder also makes it a lot easier to prepare. I liked the cocktail both using ¼ ounce and ½ ounce. I think this will come down to individual preference.

Photograph of a negroni cocktail in a rocks glass set on a white marble tray.

 

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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  1. I just poured my Friday night Negroni! This is absolutely delicious. I love that I already had the ingredients to make the syrup. I can’t wait to make this at our winter cabin weekend getaway.