When Louie Catizone’s wife showed him the viral TikTok, he didn’t mind.
@hbomax I’ll take one of each. #House of the Dragon ♬ a negroni sbagliato w prosecco l hbo max – hbomax
In the viral post, Emma D’Arcy – who plays Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in HBO’s House of Dragons — said their “drink of choice” was a Negroni Sbagliato, a variation on the traditional drink that swaps the cocktail’s traditional gin for Prosecco.
Catizone, owner of the Brooklyn-based distillery, St Agrestismakes a bitter used in Negronis as well as ready-to-drink Negroni drinks.
After the video was posted, Catizone’s personal mobile number — which is listed for his company on Google Maps — started ringing with questions about the Negroni Sbagliato. His retail customers asked for cases. They received “dozens” of messages on Instagram, doubling the usual rate.
So Catizone took advantage: On Thursday, St. Agrestis released a limited edition, pre-made Negroni Sbagliato in eight-pack form. The drink received orders in the “hundreds” — the most the website has ever received in a single day, he said. This week, Catizone and St. Agrestis are making a 2,000 liter run of the Negroni Sbagliato for their off-the-shelf product — probably the largest ever, he estimates.
According to data from Drizly, an alcohol delivery service, Prosecco and Campari orders rose by more than 40 percent the weekend after TikTok.
But the drink’s popularity did not stop there.
Julka Villa, CMO of the Italy-based Campari Group, which owns the widely known eponymous bitters for the Negroni and Negroni Sbagliato (as well as brands such as SKYY Vodka) told australiabusinessblog.com that they have seen a “huge” search increase since the TikTok was posted.
“Never has anyone been so straightforward, clear and inviting. That’s the power of virality,” Villa added.
What is a Negroni Sbagliato?
A traditional Negroni has three ingredients in equal parts: gin, a bitter (usually the Italian Campari) and sweet vermouth.
The lighter Prosecco adds a “zip” note, Catizone said, along with the “earthy, herbaceous, note of the vermouth and the invigorating bitter red aperitif.”
The Washington Post I Getty Images
HBO debuted House of Dragons in late August. In an interview clip Posted on October 1, D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke (who plays Queen Alicent Hightower on the show) answered questions from cards, including “What’s your favorite drink?” Emma D’Arcy said, “A Negroni… Sbagliato… with Prosecco in it.”
Cooke replies, in a Northern English accent, “Oh, stunning.”
“It’s unbelievable how effective it was, that video,” said Villa. “I think Emma D’Arcy interpreted the nature of this cocktail in a way that wouldn’t have been possible if… [they were] informed.”
The actor demonstrated the intrigue and relaxed nature they are trying to convey with the Campari/negroni brand, in “just six words”, Villa added.
D’Arcy meanwhile has said because they are “so embarrassed”, it became a meme.
The video first gained traction on LGBTQ TikTok (D’Arcy is non-binary) and jokes emerged that the drink getting popular in lesbian bars. Part-time bartender Sib Irizarry, who also works in fashion, saw interest in the drink rise almost immediately at South Beach Bar and Grill in East Orange, NJ.
“We don’t even sell Negronis,” they said.
But now they do. The bar had to order cases of Campari and Prosecco. Irizarry said they probably made three times more Negronis and variants in October than they did in September.
Other bars are also feeling the spritz.
Hank Tolley, a full time bartender at midnighta bar in Brooklyn, New York, told australiabusinessblog.com that by September he had “barely” made Negronis or variants. Now he makes six to ten a week, and he said it’s not slowing down.
It works for him because he likes to see people try different cocktails.
“I’ve seen people moan a little bit about it like it’s a bad thing, but the Spagliato is a classic, delicious drink,” Tolley said. “It’s almost easier to make than a negroni,” because it requires a little less stirring, added.
Even brands like Four Loko have participated:
Sbagliato is actually Italian for Loko
— Four Loko (@fourloko) October 24, 2022
Villa said Campari’s sales have grown in recent years, and the company has doubled its U.S. marketing since 2013 with its Negroni Week event. The week grew from about a hundred bars into the thousands this past year.
The TikTok was “kind of icing on the cake,” Villa said.