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The Secret to Perfect Negroni Concoctions: Unveiling the Power of Sushi Rice

The secret ingredient for perfect Negroni concoctions: Sushi Rice

The Negroni, a beloved classic cocktail, has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years as cocktail culture continues to thrive. Bartenders around the world have not only mastered the art of the traditional Negroni, but have also experimented with interesting variations, substituting gin for other spirits or playing with different types of vermouth. One particular twist on the Negroni, known as the Negroni Sbagliato, gained viral fame after House of the Dragon star Emma D’Arcy mentioned her love for a Negroni Sbagliato with Prosecco, sparking a frenzy of people pouring Prosecco into their drinks on TikTok.
Much like other classic cocktails such as the Boulevardier, Sazerac or Manhattan, the Negroni has evolved from a simple Italian classic to a true test of mixology technique. Achieving the perfect dilution ratio, understanding the flavor profiles and alcohol content of specific gin and vermouth brands, and even skillfully garnishing with an orange peel are all crucial aspects of mastering the Negroni.
But what if there was a secret ingredient that could elevate the Negroni, softening its harsh edges and elevating its overall flavor? Enter sushi rice, an unexpected yet ingenious addition to this timeless cocktail.

The Magic of Sushi Rice

Leanna Favre, a bartender at Winona’s in Brooklyn, has discovered a technique that brings out the best in the complex flavors of the Negroni. And it all comes from an unlikely source: sushi rice. While rice has long been used to make distillates and beverages like soju and sake, incorporating uncooked rice into cocktails is a novel concept. So what makes sushi rice such a fantastic cocktail ingredient?
Unwashed sushi rice, like many other types of rice, is naturally coated with starch. Although this starch may not be desirable when cooking rice for consumption, it works wonders when stirred or shaken into a cocktail. The starch from the rice blends seamlessly with the liquids in the cocktail, much like it clings to the water during the rinsing process. By adding just a tablespoon of rice to a Negroni, the resulting drink becomes silkier and the inherent bitterness of Campari is subtly mellowed. Leanna Favre explains, “I love to try this technique with any classic cocktail that has bitter elements. She also suggests adding a few tablespoons of rice to non-bitter stirred drinks, such as an Old Fashioned or Manhattan, for a velvety texture and added depth of flavor.

The Rise of Rice in Mixology

Mixing cocktails with raw rice has become an exciting trend in the craft cocktail scene. Bartenders around the world are embracing this innovative technique to add a luxurious, horchata-like texture and nuanced flavor to their creations. The versatility of sushi rice allows it to complement a variety of cocktail recipes, adding a unique twist to popular classics and a touch of sophistication to new concoctions.
As the popularity of sushi rice-infused cocktails grows, bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts are exploring the endless possibilities of this ingredient. Experimenting with different types of rice, such as jasmine or basmati, could yield intriguing results and open up new avenues for mixologists to express their creativity.

How to incorporate sushi rice into your cocktails

If you’d like to try this intriguing technique at home, here’s a simple guide to incorporating sushi rice into your cocktails:

  1. Start with unwashed sushi rice: Look for high-quality sushi rice at your local grocery store or Asian market. Avoid washing the rice, as you want to retain the starch that adds texture to the drink.
  2. Measure the rice: Start by measuring a tablespoon or a few tablespoons of sushi rice, depending on the texture and flavor intensity you want.
  3. Stir or shake: Add the measured rice to your cocktail and stir or shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds. This ensures that the starch from the rice is thoroughly mixed with the other ingredients.
  4. Strain and serve: After stirring or shaking, strain the cocktail to remove any rice solids. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish as desired.

Remember, experimentation is the key to mixology. Feel free to adjust the amount of rice or explore different rice varieties to achieve your preferred taste and texture.

Elevate Your Negroni Experience

If you’re a fan of the Negroni or enjoy experimenting with cocktails, incorporating sushi rice into your concoctions is an excellent way to elevate your drinking experience. This unexpected ingredient adds a remarkable silkiness to the drink while tempering the bitterness of Campari. Whether you’re a home bartender or a professional mixologist, sushi rice opens up a world of possibilities for creating unique and memorable drinks.
So the next time you mix up a Negroni or other classic cocktail, consider adding a tablespoon or two of sushi rice for a new level of depth and smoothness. Cheers to the fusion of tradition and innovation in mixology!


How does sushi rice enhance the taste of a Negroni?

Sushi rice, when stirred or shaken into a Negroni, adds a silky texture to the drink and helps mellow the bitterness of Campari, resulting in a more well-rounded and enjoyable flavor profile.

Can I use any type of rice in this technique?

While sushi rice is the recommended choice due to its starch content, you can experiment with other rice varieties such as jasmine or basmati to achieve different flavor profiles and textures in your cocktails.

How much sushi rice should I put in my Negroni?

Start with a tablespoon of sushi rice and adjust the amount to taste. You can add a few more tablespoons for more silkiness and flavor.

Do I need to wash the sushi rice before using it in cocktails?

No, it is best to use unwashed sushi rice for this technique as the natural starch on the rice grains contributes to the desired texture and mouthfeel in the drink.

Can I use sushi rice in cocktails other than the Negroni?

Absolutely! Sushi rice can be incorporated into other stirred cocktails, such as an Old Fashioned or Manhattan, to add a velvety texture and enhance the overall flavor experience.

Where can I find sushi rice?

Sushi rice is commonly available at grocery stores, Asian specialty markets, or online. Look for high-quality brands of sushi rice for the best results in your cocktail experiments.

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