Weekend Sip: Review: Does this ready-to-serve Negroni from Campari deliver on taste?

The bottle

Campari Negroni Ready to Serve, $24.99 (375 ml)

The back story

Sure, we love our margaritas and martinis. But the cocktail that has become a true favorite, if not the favorite, in recent years is the Negroni, that blend of the Italian bitter spirit Campari, sweet vermouth and gin. Drinks International, a leading website that tracks the booze world, recently declared it the world’s best-selling classic cocktail (the Old Fashioned came in second).

In helping folks make a proper Negroni, Campari does sell a lot of its namesake product, which has a history going back to 1860. Global sales are up 56.6% in the first three months of this year, according to the brand. But Campari has gotten wise to the fact that some people want to take things easy and let someone else prepare their drink. Hence, the brand has unveiled a ready-to-serve Negroni. The idea is “to provide the ultimate solution for Negroni aficionados…and those looking to try a Negroni without having to purchase the individual ingredients,” says Anne-Louise Marquis, Campari’s brand ambassador in the U.S.

And indeed, there’s growing demand for cocktail convenience or just about any kind of ready-to-drink alcoholic product — or RTDs, as they’re called in the booze biz. One industry report put the size of the global RTD market at $32.94 billion in 2021, but said it was expected to reach $85.5 billion by 2030.

What we think about it

The Negroni has been my go-to cocktail ever since a great bartender — in Lake Worth, Fla., of all places — introduced me to the drink about two decades ago. It strikes the perfect balance between the bitter and the sweet — and it is ridiculously easy to prepare, since it’s equal parts of all the three spirits that go into it, with no need to juice any fruit or find any oddball ingredients.

Still, I get that convenience counts. And this ready-to-serve Negroni does what it needs to do — meaning it’s a fine representation of the cocktail. It might not work for those who have particular preferences in the gin or vermouth departments when they make a Negroni. And it certainly won’t work for those who prefer a Negroni variation (of which there are many). But sometimes it pays to stick with the tried-and-true — and here all you need to do is open the bottle and pour.

How to enjoy it

Well, I should amend that last statement. You’ll want to serve your Negroni on ice. And it’s worth adding an orange slice to the drink to bring out those citrus-y notes in the Campari.

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