After all the trial and error, here are the three important facts you need to know.
- The negroni is bitter. I think pleasantly bitter, but bitter. There's no way around that. Unless you like an occasional bitter beverage, don't order a Negroni.
- Spend money on vermouth, not on gin.
- Stir a lot. It dilutes the drink a bit and makes sure you have an evenly mixed drink. I noticed the inputs' viscosity (and density presumably) are very different, so stirring is essential.
My recipe goes in the opposing direction and it is delightful (and bitter).
- 2 parts gin
- 2 parts Campari
- 3 parts vermouth
- Vermouth -Regrettably, I used Dolin for many of my tests. It's terrible. Never buy Dolin. At a few bars, I asked to try a few straight. I preferred Cocchi di Torino. It's smooth, woodsy, and perfumed with herbs.
- Gin - I tried Hendricks, Beefeater, Brooklyn Gin, Breuckelen Gin, and Greenalls. Aside from excluding Hendricks (weird vegetal taste with the other ingredients), the others were relatively similar. I had to really concentrate to find differences. If you have gin on hand, use it to start making negronis. If you are going to purchase gin, I'd buy Greenalls. It's very satisfying and affordable.
Hopefully this helps you start making negronis.