Neo Negroni

Bartenders update a classic Italian cocktail

In Italy, a Negroni is traditionally drunk before a meal (preferably while wearing a jaunty scarf) as a way to brace oneself for the impending feast.

But American bartenders–as they are wont to do–have taken the classic recipe (equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth) and tinkered with it.

At Boston's No 9 Park, Ted Kilpatrick serves the Community Chest, an elegant update made with Cynar, Junipero gin, Gammel Dansk bitters and Aperol (Campari's less-bitter brother).

Lynn House, beverage director at Chicago's Graham Elliot, came up with a more ladylike interpretation. For The Countess, she swaps out Campari for Aperol, swaps blood-orange juice in for sweet vermouth, and tops the fizzy elixir with Prosecco.

In San Francisco, Rickhouse's Owen Westman throws rye into the mix with his American Aperitif (click here to download the recipe), a quencher that pairs Michter's Rye with Campari and St-Germain.

And at New York speakeasy The Summit Bar, Greg Seider makes the Lions in London, a more complicated concoction that combines rooibos-tea-infused gin, Aperol, sweet vermouth and house-made honey-tangerine bitters.

Though any of these is an appropriate pre-dinner drink, cocktail fans shouldn't be afraid to try them well after dessert.