5 Favorite New York City Spots for a Negroni
Bartender Naren Young hits the streets (and bars) in search of the city's top tipple
At Michael White’s ode to the hearty cuisine of Emilia Romagna, bar manager and drink-slinger Richard Ervin has compiled a wonderful menu of five Negronis, each based on a different spirit. You can, of course, stick with a classic version spiked with Tanqueray and Carpano Antica vermouth or you might prefer something laced with reposado tequila, dark rum, or rye. All are stellar, although I did enjoy the Bianco on my last visit (pictured above), which features Junipero gin, Cocchi Americano, and Gran Classico Bitter, standing in admirably for the Campari.
Gabe Stulman’s expansion deeper into the West Village continues at this hip new subterranean joint where a monstrous bar runs the length of the entire room. It’s a fine piece of mahogany from where you might enjoy, like I did, their barrel-aged Negroni, which follows a popular trend of bartenders experimenting with the wood's influence on their cocktails. Delicious!
When day turns to night and plates of antipasti crowd the tables at this West Village staple, owner Joe Campanale might suggest his own take on a Negroni Sbagliato, which translates literally as "Wrong Negroni." The drink was apparently created in 1972 at Milan’s Bar Basso when the bartender reached for a bottle of Prosecco instead of the usual gin, and thus a low-octane, highly refreshing variation was born. Campanale's twist incorporates a muddled wedge of roasted orange, adding its own toasty nuance.
Husband and wife team Avery and Janet Glasser started out as a couple of cocktail geeks, making their own bitters at home, which eventually led them to creating special blends for some of the city’s top barkeeps. Now they have a retail outlet that doubles as a bar. Amor Y Amargo ("Love and Bitters") on Sixth Street is a tiny hole-in-the-wall dishing up all manner of bitter treats including their "Bespoke Negroni." I let Avery take the reins one night and what was presented included Red Breast Irish whiskey, Cocchi Americano, and Aperol. Hardly a Negroni by any stretch, but it sure was tasty.
In a setting where you’re more likely to get a killer Mai Tai — replete with all the kitschy trimmings — owner Richie Boccato will also knock you up a frozen Negroni. Only available for another month or two before the chill sets in, it is a surprisingly delightful respite from our stinky and sweaty New York summer. It’s nice to see a little fun and whimsy put back into the serious world of modern mixology.
And for one of my own creations, I present the Chocolate Negroni. It's not as weird as it sounds if you consider that orange (the classic Negroni garnish) and chocolate have long been friends in the patissier’s world. This drink combines Plymouth gin, Punt e Mes vermouth (very bold, spicy, and rich), Campari, and a whisper each of white crème de cacao and chocolate mole bitters. Stirred lovingly and served on a giant ice cube, perhaps with an orange blossom foam for garnish and texture.