The Simple Negroni Takes Many Forms at Dante

Every day, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., their 12 distinct takes on the drink go on special.

I’ve asked a lot of bartenders what their favorite cocktail is, and three out of five times, the answer is the Negroni. It makes sense: The three components of the drink are gin, sweet vermouth and bitter red Campari, plus an orange peel. A Negroni is boozy, but sweet; it’s bitter, but it goes down easy. You can adapt it endlessly, most classically in the Boulevardier, a variation made with rye in place of the more floral gin.

At Dante in the West Village—which was just named No. 34 on the World’s 50 Best Bars list—they’ve taken the Negorni’s mutability and turned it into an incredible menu called The Negroni Sessions. Every day, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., their 12 distinct takes on the drink are available for only $9. It’s a bit of a steal, and if you consider yourself a serious Negroni drinker, it’s a must-visit. We recently had Naren Young show us three of the variations on Facebook Live, as you can see above. From the Negroni on Tap to the Negroni Bianco to the Unlikely Negroni that takes on a more tropical feel, each was delicious and beautifully presented.

When asked why the Negroni can take so many forms, Young says, It’s a simple formula that is pretty easy to adapt to other ingredients. As long as there’s base spirit, some form of bitters and vermouth, it will have the DNA of what a Negroni should be.” For those skeptical of Campari (and there are many), Young recommends the Negroni Bianco. “It is a nice segue into the Negroni category,” he says. “It still has that bitter edge but it is lighter, softer and more elegant than the original, which can be a little polarizing for some people.”

With something for everyone (plus a lovely food menu, as well), The Negroni Sessions should be on everyone’s happy hour radar.

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Alicia Kennedy is a Long Island–born, Brooklyn-based food writer and recipe developer.