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Quill – a Negroni Riff with Absinthe

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A Quill is a lesser-known Negroni riff that takes the classic cocktail to the next level with a rinse of absinthe!

a deep red cocktail in a Nick and Nora glass surrounded by Christmas decor.

This is an easy way to experiment with a classic bittersweet cocktail, and a great way to start mixing with absinthe. It’s said that the inventor of the Quill was Frank C. Payne

Payne was a theatrical press agent who was part of a union that published The Quill, a magazine.

pouring a red drink from mixing glass into cocktail glass.

If you’re already a fan of bittersweet cocktails and Campari, this is one to try. But even if you’re not accustomed to intensely bitter or boozy flavors, this one might surprise you!

It’s strong but well-balanced and the herbal notes from the absinthe add dimension to the citrusy profile of the Negroni

Pro tip: You can also serve this over ice, like a traditional Negroni, if you prefer a bit more dilution.

You may also like these other absinthe cocktails:

In the spirit of the season, I chose Spruce Gin from Maplewood Brewery and Distillery, which is made with Colorado spruce tips. Its botanical lineup also includes rooibos tea, lavender, and citrus.

Fellows and Foragers Absinthe by Young and Yonder Distillery adds incredible depth and complexity with its unique blend of traditional and modern botanicals including anise, wormwood, peppermint, tarragon, and ginger.

a bottle of Spruce Gin next to Young and Yonder Absinthe.

I really enjoy this absinthe and I’m looking forward to mixing up some new absinthe cocktails with it in the new year!

Campari is the choice red bitter liqueur for this cocktail. Choose a sweet vermouth that you enjoy, I like to use Carpano Antica or Cinzano 1757. If you like even more bitterness, try Punt e Mes.

What’s in it:

  • Gin
  • Campari
  • Sweet vermouth
  • Absinthe

How to make it:

This cocktail uses an absinthe rinse, which means that you pour a small amount of absinthe into the glass, swirl it around, and then dump the excess. (It’s up to you if you toss or drink the excess!) About ¼ ounce or a little less if a good amount to use for a rinse.

Absinthe is such a potently-flavored spirit that just a few drops can change the flavor of a cocktail. A good example of this is the Corpse Reviver No2, which is another great classic to try if you’ve just started experimenting with absinthe cocktails!

Once you have your absinthe-rinsed glass, combine one ounce each of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth in a mixing glass. Fill the glass about ¾ with ice and stir until thoroughly chilled, about 20-30 seconds. Strain the liquid in to the absinthe-rinsed glass and garnish with an expressed orange peel.

If you’re a fan of Negronis or Campari, try these other delicious cocktails:

a deep red cocktail in a Nick and Nora glass with a fancy orange twist.
red cocktail in a nick and nora cocktail glass with an orange twist

Quill (Negroni Variation with Absinthe)

Amy Traynor
This variation of the classic Negroni adds an absinthe-rinse for herbal complexity.
4.23 from 9 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1 cocktail


  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/4 oz absinthe


  • Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and fill it 3/4 with ice
  • Stir until chilled, about 20-30 seconds.
  • Strain into a cocktail glass (or over ice in a rocks glass if you prefer) and garnish with an orange twist.
Keyword absinthe, Campari, classic cocktails, gin, Negroni, sweet vermouth
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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