If I have one favorite classic cocktail, it's the Negroni—refreshingly bitter, just sweet enough to round out the edges, with complex botanicals and a bright burst of orange oil to set it off.
I could happily sip them all year long, but there's room for experimentation, right? Classics aren't meant to exist in a vaccum; they're building blocks for bartenders to work from. Some versions of the Negroni have become established cocktails in their own right: The Boulevardier swaps gin out for bourbon; the Negroni sbagliato ("mistaken Negroni") uses vermouth and Campari, but sparkling wine rather than gin.
And once you start considering the Negroni as a template, you'll find variations on the theme—loosely speaking, spirit–amaro–fortified wine–just about everywhere.
Here are eleven in New York I've loved of late, with spirits ranging from mezcal to genever to bourbon, with every amaro you can think of, and with coffee, beets, dried figs, and roasted oranges all making appearances.
What's your favorite take on a Negroni?
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