The negroni is one of the most famous Italian aperitivo, made of equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and vibrant red bittersweet Campari. Each year for Negroni Week, Hong Kong’s best bars get creative and whip up some fascinating spins on the tried-and-test formula. With this year’s event just finished, we take a look back at the most successful reinventions of the past week.
10 best negronis from Negroni Week 2018
For this special occasion 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana – ranked 20 in Asia’s 50 Best Bars this year – whipped up the 8½ Negroni. This version used Citadelle Blu Gin with Campari and Carpano Antica with a touch of Barolo Chinato and a few drops of orange and grapefruit bitters. A brilliant mix of bitter flavours enlivened with extra citrus zing.
To match Aqua’s brilliant view of the Hong Kong Island skyline, mixologist Simone Rossi created the Mille Lire, a mix of Gin Mare, Campari, red vermouth, Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto and coconut water. Served on the rocks with a coconut Campari rim, it’s a wonderful reinvention of the classic negroni.
Combining two gentlemen’s drinks – negroni and coffee – Bar Q88’s special edition negroni, created by Bryson Rivera, adds a new dimension to the famous cocktail without affecting the authentic taste of the negroni. It’s created by infusing coffee beans into the liqueur in sous-vide at 200°C for 15 minutes, giving the drink a distinctive whiff of coffee’s aroma.
A mix of Plymouth Navy Strength gin, Campari, Punt & Mes, red vermouth and a dash of Amaro Averna, Honi Honi’s offering was a little on the bitter side – exactly as desired by bar manager Mario Calderone. The Amaro Averna, a bitter liqueur made in Sicily, was included in respect to Calderone’s Sicilian heritage.
Made to reflect the lives of Hongkongers who commonly engage in a work-hard-play-hard lifestyle, the Hedonistic Negroni is a true homegrown star. A mix of Gin Mare, red vermouth, Cynar, a spoon of Orgeat and a layer of Campari foam (made of egg white enhanced with kuzu powder to enhance the thickness of the foam) this is a feisty version of the classic.
One of the most attractive negronis from last week’s event, The Pawn’s concoction comes topped with a skewer of Oreos. Bar manager Tunny Grattidge’s wizardry seems him combine gin, red vermouth, Campari, oolong milk tea and crème de cacao for a silky, satisfying tipple.
Although Stockton had a number of interesting variations planned for Negroni Week, it’s their eponymous Stockton Negroni that turned out best. A straightforward mix of high-end Gin Mare, Campari, red vermouth, Cynar and Angostura Bitters, there may not be anything revelatory about his mix but its flavour was nearly unmatched.
Among the most inventive negronis of last week, TokyoLima put together a cocktail that adequately reflects the restaurant’s Japanese/Peruvian heritage. The Togaroni is a mix of Pisco infused togarashi, red vermouth and Campari that’s sweet and excellent to sip alongside the top-knotch cuisine on offer here.
While many bars went for a particularly boozy offering during Negroni Week, The Upper House opted to go the other direction with its Broken Negroni. Refreshing rather than intense, this cocktail was comprised of Campari, red vermouth and champagne for a fizzy, invigorating draught.
Long renowned for its experimental cocktails, Zuma’s bar development manager Arkadiusz Rybak maintained that reputation this year with the forging of the Clay Negroni. Throwing together shiso infused gin, Campari, red vermouth, red wine umeshu and redmond clay, this negroni is a homage to Japanese samurai and their spirit of bushido.