There’s something thrilling about an alcoholic slushy. It’s irresistibly nostalgic, essentially an adult version of those boardwalk Icees you may have had as a kid. And while you can freeze just about any cocktail, I’d argue that the best option by far is the negroni. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that a frozen negroni is a better negroni, particularly in the summer.
Typically (but not always) made up of equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, legend has it the classic negroni was invented in 1919 by one Count Camillo Negroni, who ordered it at Caffè Casoni in Florence. It’s a riff on the Americano, with gin replacing the typical soda water. The resulting drink is delightfully strong and balanced, just sweet enough to counter its bracing bitterness. It’s the ideal pre-dinner sipper, preferably downed with friends and a salty snack.
But between us, it’s not what I find myself reaching for in the warmer months. To me, summer calls for days spent frolicking in the park or lounging poolside. Juicy berry shortcakes and produce-laden meals eaten al fresco. Refreshing, easily-downed tipples, meant to be slurped through a straw under the late afternoon sun.
That’s where a frozen negroni comes in. Freezing and blending the cocktail with ice tempers the strength and bitterness, making it downright gulpable. And adding orange juice—a nod to the classic orange wheel or peel garnish—does double duty: It lowers the drink’s ABV enough to let it get slushy-like in the freezer, and brings a welcome touch of citrusy brightness. The result is a rosy-orange, sunset-hued drink that’s lovable by negroni fans and skeptics alike.
Because the mixture needs to freeze overnight, you’ll need some foresight to make your frozen negronis—frogronis?—happen. But that’s another reason why this drink is so great: You can batch it ahead of time. Double the recipe and stash the mixture in portioned containers for a summer of frozen negronis on demand. Picnic in the park? Impromptu patio hang? Friends over for dinner? Whatever the occasion, it’ll be made better by a round of frozen negronis. Just don’t forget the orange slice, and a fun reusable straw.
This frosty version of the bittersweet Italian cocktail is easy to make ahead for drinks on demand.