While a traditional Negroni never fails to satisfy, the drink is ripe for reinvention. In honour of Negroni Week, we’ve rounded up a selection of the most creative riffs on the bittersweet classic from bars around the UK
Garden Negroni, The Goring Bar, London
The Goring’s bar manager Tiago Mira and drinks consultant Julian de Feral developed this inventive, electric-green take on the Negroni by drawing inspiration from The Goring Hotel’s garden, which the bar overlooks. The Garden Negroni boasts two distinctly English elements – Tarquin’s Gin and Seedlip Garden – plus Absenteroux Vermouth, Luxardo Bitter Bianco, matcha and a home-grown red amaranth garnish. ‘Although unusual to use Seedlip in a boozy drink, the Seedlip Garden gives this lovely evocative cut-grass note,’ said de Feral. ‘The matcha tea not only helps with the colour but also gives a little tannin and an increased herbal quality.’
Vetiver Negroni, Tayer + Elementary, London
Monica Berg and Alex Kratena have shown off several creative riffs on the Negroni at their Old Street bar, from a fig-laced version to a blood orange one, but this bottled serve has won a special place in our hearts. With Tapatio Blanco Tequila, a bespoke mezcal developed in collaboration with Destilado, Campari, dry vermouth, Martini Rosso Vermouth and Muyu Vetiver Gris Liqueur, the Vetiver Negroni is a supercharged version of an already high-voltage classic.
Crystal Cut Negroni, Lab 22, Cardiff
This cocktail from Lab 22’s Pioneers + Revolutionaries menu is dedicated to Kathleen Lonsdale, the Irish scientist who helped to develop the study of crystallography. The drink itself brings together Patron Silver Tequila, Martini Bitter, strawberry tea vermouth and a dash of absinthe. It resembles the original, but its amped-up bitterness and slight fruitiness give it a flavour profile all its own.
Switched Negroni, Panda & Sons, Edinburgh
The Switched Negroni seems straightforward enough when you look at its ingredients: Star of Bombay Gin, Cocchi Torino Vermouth and Campari are usual suspects in the boozy classic. But Panda & Sons’ Iain McPherson – winner of Imbibe’s Innovator of the Year Award for 2020 – applies his now-famous ‘switching’ technique to the gin, replacing the water in the Star of Bombay with clarified grapefruit and orange juice for a big hit of citrus.
Jeroboam Negroni, Top/Shop Cuvée, London
Ok, so Highbury restaurant and retailer Top Cuvée hasn’t veered from the Negroni’s traditional ingredients for its RTD version, using Victory Gin, Campari and Martini Rosso Vermouth – but its imaginative format is brilliant. The drink comes in 50cl bottles, magnums, jeroboams and a two-litre bag. We certainly can’t think of a better way to celebrate the Negroni than by popping an absolutely massive bottle of the stuff...
White Negroni, Folie, London
Folie maintains the Negroni’s three-ingredient formula in its signature White Negroni, but each of those ingredients is distinctly suited to the Soho restaurant’s French Riviera-inspired theme. G’vine Gin, Suze and Lillet Blanc lend the drink lightness, botanical complexity and bitterness, for a creative yet subtle riff.
Rojo Negroni, Ojo Rojo, Bournemouth
Agave bar Ojo Rojo’s house Negroni amps things up with Quiquiriqui Mezcal instead of gin; meanwhile, Campari and sweet vermouth join the party as usual, but so do Conker Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur and bitters. It’s a heavy-duty spin that leaves you buzzing in more ways than one.
Native Negroni, Scout, London
At Scout, Matt Whiley and Rich Woods make their bottled Native Negroni with green coffee gin, Martini Bitter and Martini Riserva Rubino, amplifying the drink’s bitterness and richness even further with mahonia seed, cacao husk and cherry bark. In signature Scout style, eclectic ingredients translate to powerful flavours in the glass.
Negroni Verano, The Jane Eyre, Manchester
For a softer Negroni developed for the warmer months, Francis Burke of The Jane Eyre mixes house-made fortified nectarine wine with oloroso Sherry, Luxuardo Bitter Bianco and a few drops of Champagne acid ‘just to cut through and give the drink a hint of sharpness’. ‘The drink itself [has] candied fruit on the nose [and is] slightly nutty from the oloroso, with a touch of marmaladeyness from the nectarines rounded off with some bitterness,’ Burke said. ‘But [it] still packs the Negroni punch.’