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Bartenders Share Their Favorite Gins To Mix Into A Negroni


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This Saturday (June 8) is National Gin Day. And since we’ve all officially started to feel those summer vibes, we’re going to celebrate by mixing our favorite gin into possibly the best, most refreshing gin-based summer cocktail ever conceived. No, it’s not the gin & tonic (or its close relative the Spanish gin tonic) even though there could be an argument made for that iconic drink. It’s the perfect before dinner aperitif — the Negroni.

This combination of vermouth, gin, and Campari is the zestiest, bitterest, sweetest, herbaliest way to literally wet your summer appetite for the meal to follow. Everyone loves it, including bartenders. That’s why we asked them to tell us their favorite gins to mix into a proper Negroni.

Check these gins out and get your summer cocktailing kicked off a few weeks early.

Oxley London Dry Gin

Sean Stangle, Bartender at Estiatorio Milos in Las Vegas

Standard recipes when making a Negroni call for London Dry Gins, and I’m not one to argue with tradition, especially when it comes to cocktails. When making a Negroni I reach for Oxley London Dry. This cold-distilled gin fights for attention with the other ingredients, which I love.

Portobello Road

Paul Walker, bartender at The Dawson in Chicago

I’m generally a Monkey 47 guy but Portobello Road gin really makes a lovely Negroni. Included in its botanical makeup is cassia bark and nutmeg, paying homage to older gin recipes. You can really feel the nutmeg on your chest as you drink it and that’s exactly what I’m looking for in any cocktail I order with Campari in it.

Rutte Dry Gin

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Josh Cameron, head bartender at Boulton & Watt in New York City

I love adding Rutte’s Dry Gin. Its rounded juniper notes — ones that thankfully don’t overwhelm — and its’ gentle, yet citrusy herbaceousness, give the Negroni new inspiration. It had to help that master distiller, Myriam Hendrix, has one of the most rock n roll names and stories in the liquor world.

Bombay Sapphire

Brock Schulte, bar director at The Monarch Cocktail Bar & Lounge in Kansas City

I will almost always drink Rieger’s Midwestern Dry Gin if the bar stocks it. Otherwise, I’m a pretty simple Bombay Sapphire type of guy. Both brands pair well with bitter and sweet and don’t get lost when you mix them. They have a character that stands out and harmonizes with cocktails for the better.

The Botanist

Mark Ferguson, bartender at Davio’s in Irvine, California

My go-to gin would be The Botanist. This gin tugs at my heartstrings a little as I spent many years of my childhood in Scotland. This Hebridean gin is super clean and is not oily like others. It has a lemony nose and I can taste honeysuckle amongst myriad local botanicals that have been produced by a Scotch making legend named Jim McEwan, whose passion for the Island of Islay is evident in this masterpiece, as it doesn’t rely heavily on Juniper.

Principe De Los Apostoles

Phil Testa, beverage manager at Dream Midtown in New York City

This summer is all about Principe De Los Apostoles Gin for me, because I just discovered it. It’s out of Argentina and has such a complex, yet simple profile and it really mixes well. It comes in a very elegant bottle as well, so it is very easy on the eyes.

Plymouth Gin

Pamela Wiznitzer, Mixologist at The Lookup in New York City

The Negroni is one of my favorite cocktails. I’m a no-fuss Negroni gal who wants a bit higher proof for my cocktail. So, I tend to do use either Plymouth Navy Strength or Fords Gin in my riffs on the classic.

Roku Gin

Mitch Barela, bartender at Old Vine Kitchen + Bar in Costa Mesa, California

One of my favorite gins, period, is Roku gin. Lately, Japan has been hitting it out of the park with whisky and they did it again with this beautifully crafted botanical gin. It utilizes six uniquely Japanese botanicals which draw out the essence of a Negroni.

I’m big on the flavor of a well-crafted Negroni, and Roku delivers.

Mahon Gin

Rico Velasquez, bartender at Jaleo by José Andrés in Las Vegas

I have to choose Mahon gin from Menorca Island off the coast of Spain. It is made from Spanish cava grapes and distilled in 300-year-old copper stills. They dry age their juniper berries for three years, which intensifies the berries flavor. The juniper-forward flavors complement the bitter Campari and sweet vermouth. Don’t forget the burnt orange peel.

St. George Botanivore

Gia St. George, bar manager at China Poblano in Las Vegas

St. George Botanivore for a super robust Negroni, or Nolet’s for a softer sipping Negroni. I go between the two depending on my mood or who I am with.

Greenhook Gin

Lamarr Hawkins, taproom manager at Brooklyn Cider House

I make my Negroni’s with Greenhook Gin from Greenpoint Brooklyn. The soft botanical notes coming off of this gin really complement and mellow out the smoky malt flavor you typically get with a Negroni.

Tanqueray

Victoria Levin, director of project management at Blau + Associates in Las Vegas

I rarely go with the majority crowd-pleaser, but I think Tanqueray takes the win. It stands up to Campari and somehow that classic green bottle just feels right. For a different spin, alter your recipe to an “Old Tom Negroni.” Grab a bottle of Ransom and let it blow your mind.

Sipsmith

Lucas Swallows, bar director at Momofuku in Las Vegas

Call me old fashioned, but I very much prefer a slightly higher proof London Gin in my Negroni. A sturdy juniper “spine” is necessary to achieve the harmonious balance that made this classy classic so famous. I like Sipsmith.

Ford’s Gin

Jeff Darnell, Bar Manager, The Woods in Orlando

My favorite gin for a Negroni is Fords Gin because its Juniper forward with a citrus finish that pairs well with Campari’s bitterness. In fact at The Woods we have a Jevo, which is an automated jello shot machine that makes us hundreds of Negroni jello shots in the time it used to take to make 20.

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