Mon | Jul 16, 2018

Campari Negroni Challenge

Published:Thursday | July 28, 2016 | 12:00 AMKrysta Anderson
A toast to a very exciting Negroni challenge.
With their versions of the Negroni in hand (from left) Mixologist Milton Wisdom, Gleaner Writer Krista Anderson and Mystique Integrated CEO and Campari enthusiast Valon Thorpe are all smiles for our camera.
It is all smiles from (from left) Mixologist Milton Wisdom; J. Wray & Nephew White Spirits Marketing Manager Pietro Gramegna; Gleaner Writer Krysta Anderson; Mystique Integrated CEO and Campari enthusiast Valón Thorpe and JWN Academy & Retail Operations Manager Debbian Spence-Minott as they wrap up the Campari Negroni Challenge @23 on Dominica Drive on Tuesday.
The winning mixes selected from the Campari Negroni Challenge. From left: The Wizzard’s Negroni created by Milton Wisdom; The Negroni Krysiato created by Krysta Anderson and The Negroni Myst created by Valón Thorpe.

If you know me, you know I love a challenge! However, when it comes to competing with the 'spirits', I get a little scared. J Wray & Nephew in association with Campari recently hosted a Campari Negroni Challenge among yours truly, an experienced bartender, and a Campari aficionado to see who could create the best Negroni mix.

Twenty-five-year-old CEO of Mystique Integrated, ValÛn Thorpe, wore the hat of aficionado. Now, Thorpe and I go waaaaay back, so things started out pretty friendly at first, until it was time to put the theory provided by J Wray & Nephew Academy and Retail Operations Manager Debbian Spence-Minott to the test.

Spence-Minnot took us on a short journey through the history of Campari, to the evolution of the cocktails which led to the famous Campari Negroni. Campari Negroni is a classic Italian aperitif comprising one part Campari one part sweet vermouth and one part gin.

Our mission, which we chose to accept, was to replace the gin in the recipe with our very own ingredient.




Expert Campari bartender, Milton Wisdom demonstrated step by step how to make the traditional cocktail, then made his own variation.

Thorpe and I watched keenly, so we could devise our individual plans to take over and blow the judges' taste buds.

Mr 'gin and tonic,' Thorpe stayed true to his Campari roots, serving three somewhat bitter and dry Negroni mixes, fitting to his taste profile, and exciting the judges. I, on the other hand, kept things bubbly and sweet, (just like me!), experimenting with three mixes designed to temper the bitterness of Campari. They definitely had a few of the judges going 'hmm'. Wisdom, who was impressed by the mixing skills of his fellow contestants, stepped up his game and delivered mouth watering mixes that cocktail dreams are made of.

The jury is still out as to who really won the overall competition, but in the end, three Negroni mixes emerged victorious: the Negroni Myst (I think you can guess who made that one the mysterious Mr Thorpe); the Negroni Krysiato (and if you're thinking I made that up on the spot, you would be correct); and the Wizzard's Negroni, from the mixologist brewing knowledge of Wisdom.

All were true reflections of the contestants.

I will say this when

marketing manager of Campari Group, Pietro Gramegna took a taste of the Negroni Krysiato, he immediately asked who made it.

When I told him I was the one, I was greeted with a warm smile, and confirmative phrase, "This is good."

So, in my eyes, I was truly the winner *wink*.Try your own mixing challenges at home with the recipes below:

The Negroni




1 oz Campari

1 oz Sweet Vermouth

1 oz Gin


Mix all ingredients and serve over ice in a rock glass.

Garnish with orange wedge. Stir and sip responsibly.

The Negroni Myst

Created by Valon Thorpe




1 oz Campari

1 oz Sweet Vermouth

1/2 oz Pimento Liqueur (Berry Hill Allspice Pimento Liqueur)

Top with Sparkling Wine (Cinzano Gran Sec)


Prepare and serve over in a highball glass

Garnish with grapefruit wedge. Stir and indulge.

The Wizzard's Negroni

created by JWN Bartender Milton Wisdom




1 oz Campari

1 oz Sweet Vermouth

3/4 oz Coffee Liqueur


Prep and serve over ice in a rock glass.

Garnish with orange wedge and stir as desired.

The Negroni Krysiato

Created by Krysta Anderson




1/2 oz Campari

1/2 oz Aperol

1 oz Sweet Vermouth

Top with Sparkling Wine (Cinzano Gran Dolce)


Combine all ingredients over ice in a white wine glass.

Garnish with an orange wedge. Stir and enjoy.