The Delicious ‘Mistake’ Causing an Uproar
by David Klemt
Are you hearing your bar team or fellow bartenders debating Negroni specs or catching them rolling their eyes when a guest orders a particular variant?
Well, there’s a good reason. For some reason, the Negroni Sbagliato is getting roasted across social media.
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Perhaps it’s for the way it’s apparently being ordered. If the memes are anything to go by—a portion of a sentence I can’t believe I just typed—guests are asking for, “A Negroni Sbagliato, with Prosecco.”
It’s possible that some bartenders are bristling at the “with Prosecco” portion of the order. A Sbagliato, which translates to “mistake,” “bungled,” or “incorrect” from Italian, is a gin-less Negroni. As you may already know or are putting together by now, sparkling wine stands in for the gin.
There’s also another possibility as well: some bartenders can’t stand when a cocktail suddenly explodes in popularity and it’s all they seem to make for weeks on end.
Of course, it could just be that some bartenders don’t feel that the drink is worthy of the hive-mind ordering frenzy. I’ve seen more than one comment on social media posts (again, I can’t believe that’s a relevant method of providing context, but here we are) pointing out that there’s nothing groundbreaking about the Sbagliato.
“All that’s happening is gin being swapped out for sparkling wine,” is a common refrain. It’s a good point.
If the phrase, “No Negroni without Campari,’ holds true, how can a Negroni be a Negroni without gin?
So, that’s the gist of this “scandal” or “outrage.” Really, it just seems like a bit of fun from the bartender and cocktail communities. Why not vent a little spleen at something innocuous if nobody gets hurt?
Unless, of course, the guest experience is being affected negatively. There was a time not long ago during which a number of “serious” cocktail bar teams belittled guests for any number of reasons, and seemed to get away with it.
Didn’t know something about a particular element of ingredient of a drink? Ridicule. Asked for a drink “beneath” the bar team? Outward contempt.
Not great, as you can imagine, for the guest experience, growing a loyal base, and earning repeat visits.
Personally, I have no issue with front-of-house team members rolling their eyes at someone causing problems. Being rude or creepy to team members and/or guests? Difficult guests get what they deserve if they’re mocked, set straight, and kicked out.
But for ordering what they want to drink, well within reason? Sorry, but I don’t feel like that’s worthy of outward scorn. It’s not the spirit of hospitality, and it’s certainly not good for business.
However, I don’t think anyone has addressed the Negroni Sbagliato (non)issue as well as bartender Giuseppe González via Instagram:
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If you don’t want to check out the post, even though you should, here’s a relevant snippet:
“So I say this with love: Unless they are ordering a Pumpkin Spice Negroni Sbagliato, let it go and look at this human knowing one thing: it’s actually a really cool drink and I’m not mad at it.”
Remember, one of the keys to the balance that defines the original Negroni is the 1:1:1 ratio. For this riff on the classic, that ratio remains the same—it’s an ingredient change that makes the difference.
As you’ll see below, the Sbagliato recipe calls for Prosecco rather than gin. While the substitution is simple, the change to the cocktail is significant in terms for flavor and mouthfeel.
I’d also say this an fun fall or winter cocktail, so why not put one on your menu?
- 1 oz. Campari
- 1 oz. Sweet vermouth
- 1 oz. Prosecco
- Orange slice or peel to garnish
First, prepare an Old Fashioned glass with a large ice cube or sphere. Next, add ice, Campari and sweet vermouth to a mixing glass. Stir until well chilled, then strain into the prepared glass. Now, add the Prosecco to the glass and stir once more. Finally, garnish with orange slice or peel.