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Celebrating? Try a Birthday Cake Negroni!

A Negroni with sprinkles? Aviation American Gin proposes a colorful spin on the classic Italian gin cocktail. Just add candles.

3:30 PM EDT on September 13, 2023

Birthday Negroni

The “Birthday Negroni,” a new variation on the classic as imagined by Aviation American Gin.

When I think of a celebration, bubbly is usually the first drink that comes to mind. But there are other cocktails and mocktails that fit the bill. 

And one in particular might take the cake (pun intended): Aviation American Gin’s recipe for its Birthday Cake Negroni is simple as it is fun — and it could be the perfect companion for the next time you’re ready to blow out candles.

The idea for the drink came to Aviation Gin Distillery tasting room manager Cody Engle, who developed the cocktail, with celebration and fast-approaching Negroni Week, which kicks off Sept. 18, in mind. 

“The moment I found out that our one-year anniversary of opening the distillery was during Negroni week, I already knew what I had to do; we had to celebrate a birthday!” Engle tells Appetito.

The flavor profile, Engle explains, started with a classic white cake in mind before he pivoted to strawberry cake — the kind you can make from a boxed mix. 

“This just happened to be my favorite cake to get on my birthday as a kid! But I’m not biased or anything… We had already played with a strawberry-infused Campari during Valentine’s for our Chocolate Strawberry Negroni,” Engle says. “Check that one off the list! I didn’t want to change the vermouth because it’s already a nice, sweet component so I kept that classic.” 

Part of the Birthday Cake Negroni process includes infusing gin to create a cream cheese frosting fat-washed gin. And according to Engle, that’s actually the most fun part of the creation process. Aviation, he says, carries the flavor of almost anything it’s infused with.

“I decided to do a cream cheese frosting wash (because it’s the best one) and only filter it once with a coffee filter,” he says. “I chose this because I wanted that silky texture from the cream cheese frosting to stay in the gin and give this Negroni an interesting texture and mouthfeel.”

Apart from the flavor infusion, the Negroni recipe follows the classic one to one to one ratio, but the result — with the infused gin and infused Campari — is an unexpected twist to your typical Negroni. 

“The result is a wonderfully lustrous Negroni, with sweet strawberry upfront coupled with smooth creamy frosting, all tied together with that classic but light Negroni bitterness on the back end to remind you that this is a dessert for adults,” Engle says.

Here’s the recipe:

Birthday Negroni

Birthday Negroni

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Recipe by Cody Engle


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1 ounce 1 Cream Cheese Frosting Fat-Washed Gin (see notes)

  • 1 ounce 1 Strawberry-infused Campari (see notes)

  • 1 ounce 1 Sweet Vermouth

  • Vanilla syrup

  • Sprinkles


  • Dress glass with vanilla syrup and sprinkles.
  • Combine gin, Campari, sweet vermouth
  • Enjoy!


  • To fat-wash the gin, make a small batch of your favorite cream cheese frosting, then melt it on a stovetop or microwave and infuse 1/4 cup melted frosting with 1 cup of Aviation gin. Once that mixture has cooled to room temperature, place it in the freezer overnight, then strain the gin through a coffee filter and discard the solids.
  • To infuse the Campari, add 1 cup of strawberries to 1 cup of Campari. Let it infuse for 2 days, then strain out the strawberries.

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