Oni Negroni: A Classic Apertif with a Japanese Twist

  Photo by Adrian Cannatello.

Photo by Adrian Cannatello.

The Negroni cocktail has been the perfect canvas for mixologists to improvise on since it was created in Italy in 1919. The basic recipe is simple enough: equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari garnished with a slice of lemon or orange. Bartenders have since riffed on the recipe by swapping out gin for sparkling wine or whiskey, creating entirely new cocktails that pay homage to the original Negroni.

Beverage Manager of the New York City Nobu locations, Adrian Cannatello, did his own take on Negroni while on a trip to Nobu Moscow. He swapped out the Campari for the slightly more orangey/lighter alcohol content of Aperol and added a splash of Onigoroshi Sake. Lastly, he garnished with a grapefruit twist and a thin slice of cool cucumber.

The Oni Negroni in action. Video by Adrian Cannatello.

The resulting cocktail, the Oni Negroni, is a slightly lighter version of the Negroni with the addition of soft fruit tones of lychee and a creamy aftertaste from the Onigoroishi Sake. The crisp bitter notes from the grapefruit and cucumber garnish add a pleasant finish to the Nobu-style aperitif.

The Oni Negroni is available at the Nobu New York locations, Nobu Moscow and Nobu Las Vegas at Caesars Palace. And now you can enjoy it in your own home.


1 oz. Hendrick’s Gin
1 oz. Aperol
1 oz. Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
Splash Onigoroishi Sake


Add all of the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice, stir and pour into a rocks glass over an artisanal ice cube.
Garnish with a grapefruit twist and thinly sliced cucumber.



Posted on November 22, 2016 and filed under Beverage, Recipes.