Culture

Our 11 Drinks of the Week: Negroni Edition

Negroni Ramos fizz
This Negroni-meets-Ramos hybrid is the very definition of the phrase "the best of both worlds." Photo via Liquorary

If you’re a sentient human who has come in close proximity to a) a bar or b) the internet this week, you are probably aware of the week-long bacchanal that is Negroni Week. The annual collaboration between Campari and Imbibe takes a few of our favorite things — gin, vermouth, amaro and charity — and wraps it all into a worldwide celebration of one of the world’s most perfect classic cocktails.

This week, Negronis flooded our social media feeds, from perfect homages to the original recipe to creative riffs (who knew Negronis could also take the form of doughnuts, pie and macarons?). Of course, conventional wisdom would dictate that there’s no point in messing with perfection — and the classic Negroni is, indeed, perfect — but it’s always a kick to see creative, innovative bartenders take a risk with giving their spin to a tried-and-true recipe. Below, the Negronis that caught our eye:

1. Scotch Negroni with lavender honey

Bartender Naren Young, who recently brought the iconic Dante back to life, knows his Negronis: not only does the bar serve them on tap, they also offer daily Negroni Sessions with no fewer than a dozen variations on the recipe. (Try a recipe for one of them, the Negroni Bianco.) This snap from Emily Arden Wells shows off one of Young’s other Negroni creations: the Highland Negroni, which swaps out gin for single-malt Scotch and sweetens the build with lavender honey.


2. Coconut Campari Negroni float

First things first: coconut Campari ice cream? Game-changer. Hollywood’s Spare Room uses the goods (a base of passionfruit and blood orange ice cream with coconut fat-washed Campari and toasted coconut flakes) from LA-born ice creamery Cool Haus in this dessert-ready Negroni float.


3. Pineapple rum negroni

Leave it to the tiki experts at Lost Lake to give the Negroni a tropical treatment. Not only does their version involve rum; it calls for Plantation Pineapple, a historic recipe derived from the days when distillers would soak pineapples in their rum barrel. The recipe was revived (and debuted at Tales in 2014) by Plantation Master Blender and Maison Ferrand proprietor Alexandre Gabriel with David Wondrich. For Lost Lake’s version of a Negroni, it’s combined with Campari and Dolin Rouge. Oh, and a nifty little palm tree garnish, which you can learn how to make here.


4. Ramos Negroni

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I'm not going to go nuts for Negroni Week, as befits my lukewarm feelings towards the drink. But I'm not going to ignore it, either. Here's a Ramos Negroni Fizz: 1 oz @heritagedistilling crisp gin 1 oz Dolin Rouge vermouth 1 oz @campariofficial Campari 1 oz heavy cream 2 tsp acid phosphate 1 egg white 1 tsp orange blossom water soda water Shaken with two big pieces of ice until they're dissolved, then topped with the soda water. This version benefits from more soda water than not; go short on the soda and the drink is very bitter, bitter, bitter, but add a bit more (say, three ounces or more) and lots of floral and herbaceous notes open up. I went with acid phosphate in place of citrus juice, because I didn't want any citrus muddying up the classic flavors of the Negroni. I guessed that 2 tsp would equate to about an ounce of citrus, but it got a bit lost, so I bet you could go up to 3 tsp acid phosphate without any trouble. Inspired by @drinksandink, who showed one of these off a million years ago.

A post shared by Andy (@liquorary) on

A true meeting of the titans. In this recipe from online vintage glassware shop Liquorary, two great classic cocktails — the Negroni and the Ramos — are combined into one uber-cocktail that towers over its peers (literally: check out that egg white foam). Check out Andy’s caption for the full recipe.


5. Dark chocolate and truffle Negroni

We shouldn’t be surprised that Duck & Waffle’s Rich Woods would come up with a Negroni twist as intriguing as this one — he did, after all, put an artichoke Negroni on his spring menu. This version involves dark chocolate vermouth and a black truffle infusion, a.k.a. total decadence.


6. Breakfast Negroni

With the classic breakfast martini on our minds, we figured a breakfast Negroni would involve some kind of marmalade — but San Francisco’s Wildhawk took it in a totally different direction, using vermouth infused with Cocoa Puffs. We have a feeling it might pair well with Saturday morning cartoons.


7. Savory Negroni

Remember how salt can completely shift the way your palate perceives a drink? We’re dying to try this savory, briny version from Oakland’s Branch Line, which includes not only sesame-infused Bols Genever and a sesame seed garnish, but also nori-infused gin from Oakland Spirits Company, salted Campari, and wasabi ginger-infused Dolin Blanc.


8. Lowlife Negroni

We’re not sure whether the Champagne of beers is actually in this Negroni, or whether it merely serves as the vessel. Either way, we’re all about this lowbrow take.


9. Blue-hued Negroni

In a complete 180 from the deep ruby-hued drinks filling our Instagram feeds, this pretty gem from Front Porch in San Francisco layers Bolivian brandy Singani 63 in with St. George Botanivore, nixes the Campari and opts for bright, citrusy Tempus Fugit Alessio Bianco. Oh, and there’s a blue ice cube in there, because... why not?


10. Caffeinated Negroni

Theorem is what happens when a coffee roastery opens a concept bar — and this drink is what happens when coffee is distilled and combined with things like grapefruit rosemary Campari and verjus from cabernet sauvignon grapes.


11. Classic, perfect, timeless Negroni

https://instagram.com/p/BGWwkxdBdeh/?taken-by=mediumraw_

Doughnuts, sno-cones and floats aside, there is still nothing quite like a perfectly made, classic Negroni. The drink is an archetypal example of the kind of balance that bartenders strive for. Here, Tales contributor Jim Sullivan captures the essence of the drink’s beauty and simplicity, as served at Brooklyn’s Grand Army.

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