Best Negronis in America

best negronis in americaThe Italian Count Camillo Negroni was on to something when in 1919 he asked his barkeep for a stronger version of his usual Americano cocktail. The resulting drink—a bracingly bitter, entrancing combination of gin, Campari and sweet vermouth—became a near-instant hit. In the decades since, bars and restaurants have set out to re-create the seemingly simple aperitivo. Here are some spots across the U.S. that could count the count among their most adoring fans.

What’s the best warm-up to contemporary Italian comfort food? A Negroni, of course! And in San Francisco’s Mission district, Beretta bartenders do it just right with an equal mix of gin, Campari and sweet vermouth stirred and served up in a frosty cocktail glass. 1199 Valencia St., San Francisco; 415-695-1199;

Bourbon & Branch
Pre-Prohibition cocktails take center stage at this cocktail den in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, and their Negroni—equal parts of Plymouth gin, Vya sweet vermouth and Campari served up with a Dukes orange twist—is a standout. “Classically, the Negroni is served on the rocks (and sometimes with a splash of soda in Italy), but my personal take is why take something that is so elegantly perfect and muddy it by pouring it over ice?” says Bourbon and Branch general manager, Ian Scalzo, who also happens to call the Negroni his all-time favorite drink. 501 Jones St., San Francisco; 415-931-7292;

Clyde Common
You can thank Clyde bar manager Jeffrey Morgethaler for bringing barrel-aged cocktails to the masses, and the first cocktail to hit the barrel? The Negroni. An even mix of Campari, Beefeater gin and Cinzano sweet vermouth, Clyde’s barrel-aged Negroni (served up) is super-smooth and rich—like a Negroni lollipop. 1014 SW Stark St., Portland, OR; 503-228-3333

Italian restaurants usually take their Negronis seriously, but Dell’anima in Manhattan’s West Village adds a few flavorful twists on the Italian classic. Their Roasted Orange Negroni Sbagliato combines Campari and muddled, roasted oranges with Carpano Antica and a bubbly lambrusco bianco. 38 8th Ave., New York City; 212-366-6633

Order a perfectly made classic Negroni (served sans ice in a bucket glass) at Barbara Lynch’s Boston bar or request something “Negroni-like” from any of Drink’s talented bartenders, who are happy to mix up a personalized cocktail inspired by the Italian classic. 348 Congress St., Boston; 617-695-1806

From the Charleston restaurant that introduced the mix-and-match Manahttan comes a page-long homage to the cocktail world’s most famous Count. Aside from the classic Negroni, variations include  the Negroski with vodka, Campari and Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, and the Negroni Swizzle with Beefeater gin, Campari, Noilly Pratt vermouth and salt. 232 Meeting St., Charleston, SC; 843-805-5900

I Sodi
You’ll spot not one, but four Negronis on the menu here—fitting considering chef/owner Rita Sodi was born and raised in the Negroni’s homeland. The restaurant develops riffs on the classic, like the Punt-e-groni with Hendrick’s gin, Campari and Punt e Mes. 105 Christopher St., New York City; 212-414-5774

Another Pacific Northwest bar with a stellar barrel-aged cocktail program, Liberty’s wood-softened Negroni (served up) combines Washington’s Voyager gin with Campari, and a blend of Boissiere and Dolin rouge vermouths to sublime results. And that’s just one of the dozen cocktails Liberty’s currently aging. 517 15th Ave., Seattle; 206-323-9898

In flashy Vegas, Nora’s keeps things real with its traditional Negroni made with Plymouth gin, Cinzano vermouth and Campari. Snag a stool at the bar and you might even spot bar legend (and Vegas local) Tony Abou-Ganim sipping one himself—he counts Nora’s Negroni as one if his all-time faves. 6020 W. Flamingo Rd., Las Vegas; 702-873-8990

Cathy Whims award-winning Italian restaurant always has a classic Negroni on the menu (served on the rocks) as well as a Negroni of the Month, which is a riff on the traditional recipe. Either way, you’ll never be disappointed. 1401 SE Morrison St., Portland; 503-234-2427

Pegu Club
Want the Negroni Dale DeGroff is having? Head to Manhattan’s Pegu Club. “Kenta Goto and Audrey Saunders relentless attention to detail and consistency make Pegu Club still my favorite Negroni,” says DeGroff. 77 W. Houston St., New York City; 212-473-7348

Patterson House
Nashville’s roots may be country, but the Patterson House’s Negroni program would make any Italian proud—their cocktail menu highlights seasonally rotating Negronis that all offer subtle riffs on the classic. 1711 Division St., Nashville; 615-636-7724

We’ve never met a cocktail we didn’t like at this East Village bar, and their Negroni is a stellar example of the bar’s cocktail precision. And if you ask nicely, they might even mix you up one of their many twists on the classic. 113 St. Marks Place, New York City; 212-614-0386

Zero Zero
Perhaps no other U.S. city is more enamored with the Negroni than San Francisco, and Zero Zero mixes several enticing takes on the classic, including a barrel-aged version. 826 Folsom St., San Francisco; 414-348-8800