Negroni Cocktails Nico Osteria The Varnish The Gilroy

A balance beyond gin, Campari and vermouth

The Negroni is laughably easy to make and dangerously easy to like.

A simple triptych of ingredients (gin, Campari and sweet vermouth, in equal parts) yields a drink of surprising complexity.

It's hard to improve on the classic, though that hasn't stopped bartenders all over from giving it a go.

Barrel-aged Negronis have been a thing for years. At Talde in Brooklyn, they're smoking their vermouth. Chicago's Parson's Chicken and Fish serves a celebrated Negroni slushy.

Stephen Laycock, a partner at The Gilroy | The restaurant's barrel-aged Negroni

In the name of bitter, boozy research, we lined up three of our favorite new-style Negronis.

The appealingly plum-colored Old Pal from The Gilroy in New York–which opened with seven Negronis on its cocktail menu–is the roundest and sweetest of the bunch (see the recipe). Lillet Blanc, Dubonnet Rouge and Bulleit rye whiskey make it entirely too drinkable pre- or post-dinner.

A splash of sparkling water gives the elegant Nico (see the recipe), from Chicago's Nico Osteria, a hint of effervescence. Its golden hue and smoothness derive from the unlikely combination of Cocchi Americano and Amaro Braulio.

The Nico | The Nice Legs

Perhaps the most intriguing of the bunch comes from The Varnish in L.A. The Nice Legs (see the recipe) combines aromatic Suze gentian liqueur, Barolo Chinato and gin. Though its ingredients stray from the original, their union is true to the spirit of the Negroni: a strong drink, with a lingering, balanced bitterness and almost savory bite.

This trio of inspired but respectful remixes is a happy reminder that it's always Negroni season.