Walk into any bar or restaurant these days, and you're likely to spot someone sipping a bright-red Negroni. The Italian aperitif's mix of gin, vermouth and Campari make it the perfect classic cocktail for easing into (or out of) the night—and people can't seem to get enough.
In the last decade, the drink—once shunned by those without a taste for bitter—has been the cocktail of choice for patrons and bartenders alike. "Mad Men had that huge push with [classic cocktails]," says Nicky Beyries, bar manager at Foreign Cinema and sister bar Laszlo in San Francisco, who attributes the takeover to pop culture. "Palates are more accepting of bitter flavors. It's a classic for a reason."
The simple yet refined ingredient list is easy on the stomach and not too sweet, making it the perfect cocktail whether you're bellied up to a bar for the long haul or capping off a pasta-fueled night.
In addition to putting Campari back on the map and in home bars around the country, the mighty Negroni has also become a favorite for creative bartenders. Bars are even dedicating entire menus to the classic cocktail, like at Dante in NYC, where patrons can order anything from a Lavender Negroni to one made with mescal and cold brew.
And the latest iteration has come just in time for summer: the frozen Negroni. Sorry, frosé, but there's a new boozy slushie in town, and it's the perfect way to beat the heat. In NYC, Eataly's rooftop pop-up, Sabbia, is pouring its own version with orange juice, Campari, gin and sweet vermouth (see the recipe).
Meanwhile over on the West Coast, Beyries is serving her customers frozen Negronis on Laszlo's sunny patio in the heart of the Mission. With an in-house slushie machine that rotates flavors, they decided to give the Negroni an, ahem, spin, after the GM and wine director returned from a trip to NYC raving about the drink. Beyries calls it the ultimate summer beverage, because it's "refreshing and frozen without being sweet."
She adds a touch of fresh ruby red grapefruit juice and Cocchi Americano to her version, and garnishes it with either a dehydrated blood orange or grapefruit wheel, depending on what's in season. "I love playing with bitter flavors, and grapefruit is really refreshing when it's warm outside. It's fun to try new things."
We couldn't agree more.
Whether your idea of the perfect picnic is cooking in the wilderness or sipping a summery cocktail at a sidewalk café, we’ve got everything you need to spend your Summer in the Wild. Let the outdoor entertaining begin.
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