White Negroni with Mezcal: a smoky twist on a modern classic

white negroni with mezcal

Have you ever thought that your Negroni could use a bit of a smoky flavor? Well, if you did, I have a recipe for you! Introducing: White Negroni with Mezcal

This cocktail is a unique twist on a modern classic. Mezcal gives it a complex flavor that appeal to both causal drinkers and die-hard fans. Plus, its dry profile makes it perfect for whetting the appetite before a dinner party. 

Here’s how to make it at home!

*Disclaimer: Featured photo by Adrian Scottow, originally published on flickr.com. No additional changes were made. The photo has been shared under the following license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

What’s a White Negroni?

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you probably already read the history of traditional Negroni. It was invented in Florence by Italian count Camillo Negroni at the beginning of the 20th century, and was made by mixing bitter Campari, sweet red vermouth, and London Dry Gin. 

The White Negroni, on the other hand, was invented almost a century later.

white negroni cocktail

A bit of history

Enter: British bartender Wayne Collins and Neil Blacknell, director of Plymouth Gin. The two were traveling to France for a liquor exhibition and were staying in a guest house at a local town.

On a hot sunny afternoon, they decided they wanted a Negroni. So, they headed to a liquor store to get the ingredients. When they arrived, they thought: “Why not make it with typical French ingredients?” So, they replaced Campari with Suze, and red vermouth with Lillet Blanc. They kept only the gin from the original recipe – Plymouth, of course. 

The first White negroni recipe had been made. 

Classic Negroni vs white negroni

The thing died there. However, a few years later, the drink was introduced to an American bartender. Enter Audrey Saunders, owner of the Pegu Club. She loved the White Negroni, and put it on her menu. 

The cocktail rapidly became a modern classic. People loved its dry profile and its elegant style. But another liquor was gaining growing popularity among US drinkers in those years. 

The smoky addition

Enter: Mezcal. This ancient Mexican spirit captivated a lot of fans thanks to its smoky and earthy profile. Like its cousin tequila, it is made from the agave plant, but its production is mostly artisanal and involves more agave varieties. 

Its complex taste makes it perfect both by itself, like a fine whiskey, or to enhance the flavor profile of other drinks. 

Thanks to a sudden boom of artisanal producers, Mezcal started to trend in the US more or less in the same period as the White Negroni. It was only a matter of time before someone thought: “Hey, what if I mix White Negroni and Mezcal?” 

Needless to say, the idea was successful. 

This cocktail is perfect to enjoy on many occasions. It will refresh you during hot summer days and help you impress your friends, making you the official bartender of the group. 

Now, let’s cut the nonsense and see how to make it!

white negroni with mezcal ingredients

What you’ll need to make a White Mezcal Negroni

To master this cocktail, you’re gonna need some high-quality liquors. Here’s how to pick the right ones. 


Don’t save on this one.

Making Mezcal requires a lot of labor. If the price is too low, it means that the producer is either cutting on quality or underpaying workers. Go to a good liquor store, and get a bottle that ranges from $30 to $50. It’s not exactly budget-friendly, but I swear it will pay you off.

A high-quality Mezcal isn’t just a great drink for special occasions: it can also help you elevate so many cocktails! For making this cocktail, many bartenders recommend Del Maguey Vida Clásico. However, if you want to try out more options, here’s a cool guide to help you choose the right one.


This French gentian liqueur is the main flavor profile in a classic White Negroni. This time, however, it will have to make space for Mezcal, so you can opt for other alternatives. 

If you want to try out another bitter liqueur in place of Suze, many people use Luxardo Bitter Bianco. However, it doesn’t blend very well with the next ingredient on our list, so keep in mind that you’ll need to change both. 

Lillet Blanc

When deciding what to use instead of vermouth, Collins and Blacknell went with this French fortified wine.

There are a few key differences between the two.

Sweet vermouth is primarily bittered with wormwood. Lillet Blanc, on the other hand, uses the quinine extracted from cinchona bark. It’s also less sweet, as it contains half the amount of sugars typically found in a vermouth.

If you want to try some alternatives, try with Contratto Bianco or Cocchi Americano. These gentian liqueurs are both excellent choices, and they also pair better with Luxardo Bitter, in case you use it instead of Suze. Alternatively, you can also go with Punt e Mes. 

Fresh ice

You will need enough for two glasses, one for mixing and one for serving. Standard ice cubes are fine – but if you want to get fancy, use a large ice cube that fills most of the serving glass. It will melt slower, giving you more time to enjoy your White Mezcal Negroni before it dilutes. 

A grapefruit twist

Take a slice of grapefruit peel, and use a knife to cut the ends at an angle. Roll it around a straw – and voilà, an easy yet impeccable garnish! If you wish, you can also opt for an orange twist or simply an orange slice. Mezcal pairs well with all citrus fruit, so even a twist of lemon peel will do.

white negroni with mezcal - orange twist

Necessary tools & ingredient ratio

You don’t need a cocktail shaker. A mixing glass and a regular serving glass will do just fine. You will also need a spoon, a jigger, and a strainer. 

According to the traditional Negroni recipe, you should use equal parts of each ingredient. However, many of the ingredients listed above are made with herbal infusions. Every producer has a unique blend, so you might have to adjust the ratio to find the perfect balance. 

Mastering the perfect White Negroni cocktail

First, pour the Mezcal, Suze, and Lillet Blanc in the mixing glass. Then, drop in some ice cubes, and stir for about 20 seconds. Don’t overdo it, you don’t want to dilute your drink. 

When you’ve stirred long enough, take another glass and fill it with ice. Then, strain the mixed liquors into it. 

Finally, take a slice of grapefruit peel, and rub it gently agains the edge of the glass. Then, take a straw and use it to roll the peel into a twist that you’ll use for garnishing.

Done, your White Mezcal Negroni is ready to enjoy!

Other Negroni variations to try

Why limit yourself to the classic Negroni recipe

This White Negroni is just one of the many variations of the classic cocktail recipe invented in Florence. If you like experimenting with cocktails, there are a lots of things you could try. 

For instance, try replacing the vermouth from the original recipe with a coconut rum liqueur and add a bit of pineapple juice and two drops of Angostura Bitters. You’ll get a delicious White Negroni Piña Colada. If you mix dry vermouth with Aperol and dry gin, you’ll get a Contessa. And if you switch the gin with a bourbon, you get a Boulevardier. It’s definitely worth trying, I tell you. 

And then, there’s the usual Negroni Sbagliato – a celebration of Negroni’s versatility. 

lasagna 4 pack


This twist on the classic negroni cocktail is a symphony of smoky and bitter flavors. It’s sure to conquer the hearts of all your guests. As per usual, I’ll leave you to the recipe card. Let me know what you think of it, and enjoy your Mezcal White Negroni.

Make it nice! 🙂

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white negroni with mezcal

White Negroni with Mezcal

  • Author: Mortadella Head
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x



3 cl Del Maguey Vida Clásico Mezcal  (1 oz)

3 cl Suze (1 oz)

3 cl Lillet Blanc (1 oz)

Grapefruit peel or zest. 

Ice to taste

Necessary tools: 

a mixing glass and a lowball glass

a bartender spoon or a teaspoon


  1. Start by mixing Mezcal, Suze, and Lillet Blanc in the mixing glass. 
  2. Add half of the ice cubes.
  3. Stir for 20 to 30 seconds. 
  4. ​Pour into an ice-filled glass. If you want to get fancy, use a single large ice cube on this one. 
  5. ​Gently rub the grapefruit peel against the edge of the glass, and use it for garnishing. 
  6. Enjoy.
  • Prep Time: 5 Minutes
  • Category: Cocktails
  • Cuisine: International

Keywords: white Mezcal negroni, white negroni cocktail, white negroni recipe, negroni variations

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