The Negroni is one of those cocktails that mixologists love to experiment with. Using bitters, vermouth, and gin, the ingredients to this classic aperitif can be recreated using alternative spirits and crafted in many different twists. With creativity and the right balance, Negroni riffs can taste even better than the old-time classic. In Hong Kong, Spanish bar The Wise King is known to offer various renditions of this bitter cocktail and have always presented new and seasonal Negroni twists in their menu.
The bar recently launched their #Revived2 cocktail menu early part of the year, and it included two Negroni twists called R&R Negroni (made with rhubarb and raspberry gin, vermouth bianco, amontillado vinaigrette, bitters, and amaro) and the claypot aged Olla De Barro Dos ($128) (made with vermouth bianco, Rinomato Americano, brandy, and brined gherkin (dill pickles). Back in April when the bars were ordered to shut down, The Wise King started to bottle their cocktails and Hongkongers got the taste of their signature King's Negroni and Washed Negroni in the comfort of their homes. This time around, they collaborated with local gin distillery N.I.P Distilling for a special bottling of Mandarino Negroni combining the local gin with Mancino Vermouth, Mandarinetto Isolabella, and Rinomato Americano Bianco.
The Wise King's owner and head mixologist Sandeep Kumar
"Every quarter, we work on a Negroni at The Wise King. In the past, we have had the iconic Washed Negroni, King's Negroni and this time we decided to work with a local gin distiller N.I.P Distilling to make the Mandarino Negroni, an homage to our city's culture and local distillers," shares The Wise King's owner and head mixologist Sandeep Kumar. "The Negroni originates from an Italian heritage, and we always aim to make the cocktail using a variety of ingredients to bring a unique twist to the classic," he adds. N.I.P gin uses local botanicals like kumquat, osmanthus and Shoumei tea and it gives the Mandarino Negroni its unique notes paired with Mandarinetto Isolabella (a mandarin flavoured liqueur using Sicilian mandarins) which gives a zesty note to the Negroni.
If you want to enjoy this at home, order their bottled cocktails via The Wise King's Instagram or Facebook account. Mandarino Negroni is available for 500ml ($500) and 750ml ($598) bottles. Or if you want to play bartender and mix it yourself, try the recipe below: