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The Negroni might seem like a simple cocktail, consisting of three ingredients in equal parts — gin, vermouth, and Campari — but it’s all about balance. And that balance is thrown completely out of whack if you measure incorrectly or use sub-par ingredients. It’s why so many people don’t think they can make a good Negroni at home, or will complain about the Negronis at certain bars.

Let’s assume you’re using Campari. Complement it with a gin you like to drink. While Campari has a strong, bitter flavor, the gin still comes through in the perfect Negroni. As for the vermouth, I suggest spending a little more, if you can. If you’re really going for it, I love Carpano Antica Formula, but it can be a bit pricey. Dolin is a bartender favorite and typically costs around $10. And please, please, please make sure your vermouth is fresh. Vermouth is a wine product after all, and it will turn. Once opened, store it in the fridge for no more than a month.

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All that’s left to do now is to measure your ingredients, stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass with one big cube, and garnish with an orange peel. You’ll have a better Negroni than you can get in most bars.