The first time I tried a Negroni I very nearly spat it back out. It was 10 years ago, and my then-19-year-old palate was more accustomed to sickly sweet cocktails with oversized garnishes and (very cheap) beer. The Negroni in question was, comparatively, the bitterest thing I’d ever tasted. A mix of equal parts Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth, diluted just enough to bind the flavours and garnished with an orange peel, the aperitif felt less like a liquid treat and more like an assault on the senses.
Still, my friends and I persisted - mainly because we’d already paid for them, but also because there was something so inherently sexy about the cocktail. We felt mature, cool, ‘in the know’, not the close-to-broke university students procrastinating on a Thursday night that we actually were.
The power of the beverage knows no bounds, and though definitely an acquired taste, the classic Negroni cocktail remains so revered it’s carved out a whole week for itself in the world calendar: Negroni Week - an annual seven day charity event which sees over 10 000 participating venues across the world donating proceeds from sales of the drink to official charity partners. To celebrate this year’s Negroni Week, taking place between June 24 – 30, we rounded up the best places in Sydney to enjoy the beverage of the moment.
Continental Deli Bar Bistro
If you’d told 19-year-old me that one day I would not only love the taste of Negronis but would highly recommend you try drinking one out of a can, I’d have laughed riotously in your face. The joke remains on me, however, because Negronis from a can are amazing. It’s hard to stop at just one. Pair with the deli’s range of charcuterie or tinned fish and set your phone to do not disturb.
This Must Be The Place
Oxford Street’s beloved small bar has long been one of our favourite places to perch on a Saturday afternoon and watch the world go by. Lucky for us they also make a pretty damn good Negroni. In fact, the guys behind the bar have curated a specialty menu just for the cocktail in question. Must this be the place? Well, yes. With drinks like this, it really must.
Jacoby's Tiki Bar
Not the first place your mind wanders to when considering the best spot to sip classic cocktails, but the tiki-meets-David Lynch themed venue blends a great take on the old favourite. Enjoy alongside a Manoosh-delivered garlic bread and you've got yourself one heck of an evening.
Maybe Sammy is the suave, cool older brother of Surry Hills institution Maybe Frank - the kind you always had a crush on growing up. An homage to the glamour of Hollywood and the Rat Pack, the recently-opened cocktail bar in The Rocks draws inspiration from the watering holes of the roaring 50s. The decor takes you back in time, and the Negroni makes you feel like you're really living in the era. No maybes about it.