Food & Drink

This holiday Negroni cocktail recipe is perfect to celebrate the season with

Sara Frost of Spooning with Sara next to a holiday cocktail.

While mulled wine, hot buttered rum and Peppermint White Russian cocktails are classic tipples to enjoy around the holidays, we think it’s time to spice things up with a tasty twist on the beloved Negroni. This cinnamon stick- and star anise-infused holiday cocktail recipe from Spooning with Sara is easy to make and even easier to enjoy as you make merry all season long.

Guest contributor: Sara Frost of Spooning with Sara

The Holiday Negroni

A Negroni cocktail being made.

A Negroni cocktail with a cinnamon stick in it.

Serving size: 

Makes 2 (strong) fabulous holiday cocktails 

(*warning* may cause you to remain calm during holiday interactions with your family…)


1.5 oz whiskey (or gin or vodka… works with all!) 

1/2 oz dry vermouth 

1 oz Campari 

A squeeze of 1/2 lemon (or a whole if you like it tart) 

1/2 oz spiced simple syrup*

1 oz water 

*Spiced simple syrup ingredients:

1 cup sugar

3 cups water

1 cinnamon stick

2 star anise

A few juniper berries will also work, but you can also completely omit them if you don’t have them!


To make the cocktail:

Shake all of your ingredients vigorously with ice and serve over ice or straight up.

To make the spiced simple syrup:

Bring the spiced sugar water ingredients to a simmer on the stovetop and stir until the sugar granules dissolve. Turn off the heat and allow the simple syrup to cool off the stove for at least 20 minutes (or until completely cooled). Strain out the cinnamon and star anise** and store in a sealed container in the fridge. (Keeps in the fridge for up to one month.)

**You can keep the cinnamon and stir anise in the simple syrup, but it will eventually create a much stronger spiced simple syrup.

This holiday cocktail recipe is perfect either simply served over ice or straight up. Although it may not be as easy to memorize as the 1:1:1 proportions of the classic Negroni, I promise it’s worth it.

Not everyone loves (or even likes) a Negroni, and with the addition of whiskey, you might truly scare some friends off. But here's why this version is *perfect* for the holidays. Whether it’s the bitterness, the sweetness or the all-around boldness, the classic Negroni is either a strong “yes” or “no” for most folks. I would say I get it, but it’s also my favorite cocktail, ever…by far…so there’s that. However, think of this cocktail as a spiced-up, yet much more laid-back, distant cousin to the classic Negroni. Perfect for your holiday beverage rotation, this recipe will definitely convert those who say they don’t like the bite of Campari (but probably haven't tried it in years)

By toning down the slight bitterness of the aperitif with the warmth of whiskey, this quick and easy cocktail, in my humble opinion, is perfectly balanced. The aromatics from the cinnamon stick and star anise not only cut the somewhat sugary nature of the Campari, but unavoidably invites you into the nostalgia of the holiday season. Even if you prefer gin or vodka in lieu of whiskey, the use of dry vermouth (vs. a classic Negroni, with sweet vermouth) allows the "holiday forward" spices in the simple syrup to truly show off. I guarantee you will have some Negroni converts at your next holiday dinner party with this easy holiday cocktail…and they’ll want to brag to their friends that they just adore a Negroni, “But have you had a cinnamon spice holiday Negroni?!”. 

Sara Frost is the founder and head-chef of ‘Spooning With Sara Inc.’. Growing up in a family full of food lovers, packed kitchens and tons of fun parties, Sara has always had a knack for gathering friends and family together around food and fun. It was her instinctual love for bringing people together that led her to launch, ‘Spooning With Sara’ into the full-service event making business that it is today.

What started as a side-passion in early 2018 quickly became a ‘main-passion’, as the demand for more ‘Spooning’ pop-up events quickly grew. Through her dedicated following of her ticketed dinner party pop-ups in the LA and NYC areas, Sara gained many loyal (even celebrity) clients, many of whom still use her services today.

Whether she is private cheffing, catering, partnering with food brands or helping your dream dinner party or wedding come true, her intention is always to create a warm and memorable environment. 'Spooning With Sara Inc.' has recently expanded its team, allowing the company to service many more clients and even school lunch meal deliveries in the LA area. Check out her website and IG to follow along!

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