We're Calling It: The Gingerbread Negroni Is the Cocktail of Christmas

The rosemary trees are cute, but this is a holiday drink recipe with sophisticated yet nostalgic flavor that everyone will swoon over.

A gingerbread negroni cocktail in a low glass

Courtesy of Giada Paoloni

Since it’s spiked with some things old—hot buttered rum and some Negroni Cocktail vibes—and some things new—a surprisingly simple spice-infusion and fat washing technique as a nod to the Olive Oil Martini we saw make waves this spring—we’re calling it: the Gingerbread Negroni is the Christmas cocktail your menu has been missing.

It’s been a buzzy year in the world of mixed drinks. After celebrating all things Aperol Spritz and Espresso Martini in previous years, 2023 has ushered in a refreshing era that’s a beautiful blend of fresh ideas and classic concepts. Case in point: Our “drink of summer” the Hugo Spritz, which swaps in elderflower liqueur for Aperol. (That prediction was so spot-on, by the way, the Hugo landed at the no. 6 recipe in America on Google’s Year in Search 2023.) Come fall, we were blending those fresh and fruity elements with a hint of cozy in the ultra-easy Tinto de Verano.

Now that winter has arrived, we’re spotting a wide variety of clever ideas for movie-inspired Christmas cocktails, such as this White Christmas Margarita, as well as the ultra-viral Snow Globe Cocktail that involves an adorable rosemary “tree” that’s frozen into ice at the center of the glass. 

Of course, we can’t forget the classic festive holiday drinks; eggnog, hot chocolate, wassail, hot toddies, and hot buttered rum. 

With “newstalgia” highlighted as one of our top 7 food trends of 2024, we couldn’t resist getting the fun started a few weeks early by using one of those traditional Christmas drinks as the inspiration for our 2023 Christmas cocktail of the year. 

Why the Gingerbread Negroni Is the Cocktail of Christmas

Spirits, spice, and everything nice. That’s what you’ll find in the Gingerbread Negroni, which we’re officially declaring the cocktail of Christmas 2023.

This trendy yet timeless drink recipe is courtesy of Renato Tonelli, beverage training director at Dante NYC. It’s currently on the seasonal cocktail menu at Dante’s two Manhattan locations, but you need not book a ticket to the Big Apple to enjoy the Gingerbread Negroni. We snagged the exclusive recipe for you so that you can recreate it at home to enjoy while unwrapping presents, sharing your feast, watching Christmas movies, or putting up those final elements of home decor.

“The inspiration behind this cocktail was to make a negroni that carries the same qualities of a gingerbread cookie,” Tonelli tells BHG. To do so, he uses “butter, baking spices, bitter-sweet vermouths, and amari along with ginger bitters. Together, these are the perfect flavors to highlight and enjoy during the holiday season.”

Related: Gingerbread Decor Is Trending—Here’s How to Try This Sweet Holiday Look

Just as is necessary when we’re awaiting Santa’s arrival, this drink recipe takes a little patience. That said, it’s far less fussy than the lengthy aging process most homemade eggnog recipes require, and the fact that the effort is separated over a couple days means that you only invest about 15 minutes total to make this a reality.

You can serve the seasonal negroni over ice, or channel your inner Stanley Tucci and enjoy it “up” with no ice in a glass with a stem.

“Use high-quality butter and make sure to brown it and not burn it with the spices: cinnamon, clove, star anise, nutmeg, and cardamom. Then, infuse that spiced butter with the rum overnight in the freezer and filter the liquid the following day.”

How to Make a Gingerbread Negroni

Start by making a batch of the spiced butter rum. This creates enough silky-smooth and warm spice-infused rum to create about 15 servings of this recipe. 

Our rendition below breaks it down to a doable serves-two yield. Feel free to multiply as needed to raise a glass with all of your fellow revelers over 21 who choose to imbibe. (Psst…for the rest of the crew, consider these 11 fun spirit-free drink recipes.)

Gingerbread Negroni

Yield: 2 servings


For the Spiced Buttered Rum

  • 2 sticks plus 3 ½ tablespoons butter
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Half of a whole nutmeg, grated
  • 750 milliliters golden rum

For the Cocktail

  • 3 ½ ounces spice butter rum
  • 2 ounces Cardamaro
  • 1 ounce Cocchi Torino vermouth
  • 1 ounce Antica vermouth
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 8 dashes ginger bitters
  • Optional, for garnish: Orange twist, whole nutmeg (for grating)


  1. Make the spiced buttered rum: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm butter and spices until the butter begins to appear golden and smell nutty.
  2. Turn off the heat and remove the saucepan from the stovetop.
  3. While the butter is still liquid, slowly add the rum. 
  4. Transfer the rum mixture to a pitcher and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  5. Use a sieve or coffee filter to strain the butter and spices from the rum, then store the spiced butter rum in a mason jar or bottle.
  6. Make the cocktail: Fill a cocktail pitcher halfway with ice, then add the spice butter rum, Cardamaro, vermouths, Campari, and ginger bitters. Using a long mixing spoon, gently stir. 
  7. Add a large ice cube to 2 glasses. Using a cocktail strainer, pour even servings of the negroni into the 2 glasses. Garnish with an orange twist and grated nutmeg, if desired.
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