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7th February 2023

The Negroni Sbagliato: Is it really that stunning?

Does the ‘House of the Dragon’ star Emma D’Arcy’s favourite drink stand up to the hype? We give it a sip with a student stir
The Negroni Sbagliato: Is it really that stunning?
Photo: Sebastian Coman Photography @ Unsplash

We have all seen the clip. Olivia Cooke asks Emma D’Arcy their drink of choice, to which D’Arcy seductively responds: “A Negroni… Sbagliato… with Prosecco in it.”

The internet exploded. Millions found themselves entranced by the expressive cadence of D’Arcy and immediately headed out to try the drink.

The drink is a boozy apéritif that is a spin on the classic Negroni. Where the Negroni calls for a measure of gin, the Sbagliato instead tops off the drink with Prosecco or sparkling wine.

Allegedly, the concoction was conceived by bartender Mirko Stocchetto in 1972 at the reputed Milan Bar Basso, which remains open to this day. According to legend, Stocchetto mistakenly grabbed a bottle of prosecco instead of gin while making a classic Negroni. He dubbed it the Sbagliato, the Italian word for ‘mistake,’ and thus, the drink was created.

However, D’Arcy’s description of the drink confused many who ended up ordering what D’Arcy said word for word. “A Negroni Sbagliato with Prosecco in it” was either met with embarrassment as bartenders explained that a Sbagliato already had Prosecco in it or a truly revolting drink with much more Prosecco than it needed.

After facing the humility of ordering a TikTok trend in a bar and making a Negroni Sbagliato for myself, I feel I am in a position to review and advise whether it is worth a try.

I will admit, I did slightly cop out when ordering it from a bar by going to a place a friend worked. She laughed and thought I was doing a bit at first, but I explained I was serious, and she responded that I was by no means the first to order one. This eased my flush of embarrassment, though only by a little.

The deep orange drink brought to me was short and impressive, served in a fantastic rocks glass that exuded class. The drink itself was fabulous. A deliciously bitter blend of aromatics is expected of a Negroni, but pairing it with bubbly Prosecco lent the drink a softer finish than the punch of a classic Negroni.

Now, for the homemade Sbagliato, though I did cheap out a little to accommodate a student budget. While I invested in a proper bottle of Campari, I substituted the Vermouth Rosso for Sainsbury’s own brand of Vermouth Bianco, a drier variety for only half the price. Topped off with a bit of six-pound Prosecco from Tesco, and I was golden. Of course, this drink did not compare to the professionally (and correctly) made one, but it did hold up for someone who enjoys their drink on the stronger side.

Throughout this craze, I feel that poor Olivia Cooke’s later mention of the gin martini has gone somewhat unnoticed. Again (and as I am sure you know), it is not a drink for those who enjoy their cocktails on the fruity side. And I agree with Cooke, two drinks “then I feel sick.”

If you fancy trying something new and exceedingly elegant, I recommend the Negroni Sbagliato, as long as you do not feel embarrassed about relying on a TikTok trend for recommendations.

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