A Negroni is the quintessential Italian cocktail; a perfect concoction that relies on the symmetry and balance of its ingredients – gin, Campari and vermouth. It was James Bond’s second favourite drink after a Martini. While actor and director, Orson Welles famously commented, “The bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other.” The classic Negroni recipe was apparently invented at Caffè Casoni in Florence, Italy. When Count Camillo Negroni asked to a bartender to replace the soda water in his Americano with gin. With equal parts Campari, gin and sweet vermouth, this short, ruby-toned cocktail now appears on most bar menus.
From September 12 to 18, bars across the globe are celebrating this red-hued cocktail that’s nearly as bitter as me after paying my rent. So, if you do fancy venturing out for a swig of this well-known Italian cocktail here is our list of the bars in Bristol serving an epic Negroni.
1. Hyde & Co
They got us through lockdown by offering pre-mixed bottles of the Negroni cocktail using Beefeater gin as part of their Hyde At Home drinks delivery service. But now the low-lit, speakeasy-style bar is back serving cocktails amid standard lamps, sofas and framed mirrors. As much as we loved pouring their concoctions over ice and adding an orange wedge as a garnish (or orange peel twist if you’re feeling fancy), there’s something great about having a Negroni mixed in a bar. So sit back, relax and sip that cocktail with satisfaction.
Hyde & Co, The Basement, 2 Upper Byron Place, BS8 1JY
The Last Word is a quirky cocktail bar and restaurant in the heart of Clifton offering some of the most alluring cocktails in Bristol, including a Negroni, of course. It has jumped on the band wagon in sending their own cocktails to your door at a bargain of £6 for a cocktail. However, they ask for a minimum order of £30 for delivery (which shouldn’t be too hard), but if you want to stretch your legs up that hill then you can order as much as you like til your heart’s content. If you fancy a go at shaking up a Negroni, then you can also book a cocktail masterclass here.
The Last Word, 3A Regent Street, Clifton, BS8 4HW
Kinkajou, named after a cute tropical rainforest animal, does cute drinks too. Apparently the animal is related to the raccoon and caoti, plus its known to socialise in groups and flourishes after dark. Well, at Kinkajou you too can socialise with a Negroni in hand and flourish. And if you can’t do it at the bar, Kinkajou is bringing it home to you! You can order a Negroni for £10.50, or four for £35, or even better than that you can get the magic pack of six for £50 and not leave the sofa!
Kinkajou, Basement, 52 Upper Belgrave Road, Clifton, BS8 2XP
You go on an adventure just reading this bar’s drinks menu as you try to decide what to choose. Serving a traditional Negroni, The Milk Thistle also offers what they call ‘Sweet Vengeance’. The drink contains No.3 gin, Lustan Rose vermouth, cacao, raspberry jam, chocolate and topped up with soda. This drink has both the sweetness and the bitterness that we love so much about a Negroni, but the raspberry acts as a sharp yet sweet alternative to the usual citrus notes in the drink.
The Milk Thistle, Quay Head House, Colston Avenue, BS1 1EB
5. Bar 44
This Negroni is muy caliente! Bar 44 serves up a Padron Negroni, which contains Padron pepper infused Campari, gin, and a vermouth packed with spices known as La Copa Vermút Rojo. Bar 44 also do top notch tapas. Sip you Negroni and sample some small plates including Iberico ham croquetas, a selection of charcuterie or even a mini confit duck burger with fennel and apple. Although it’s all about Negronis, Bar 44 even have three different types of sangria to choose from. One is simply not enough for this bar, and it’s enough for us to check our taxi app to see how quickly it can take us there!
Bar44, 18-20 Regent Street, Clifton, BS8 4HG
6. Filthy XIII
This bar donned with street art on its signage has a list of amazing cocktails to choose from, including a non-alcoholic Negroni, known as the Nae-groni, so you don’t have to miss out. Filthy Thirteen also have Count Negroni’s former favourite tipple, the Americano, and this one is peach-flavoured. Plus, it gets better. The bar serves some cocktails on tap! So no faffing with the mixing and waiting longer than your mates because they ordered a pint, because it’s pretty much ready to go when you want it.
Filthy XIII, 208 Cheltenham Road, BS6 5QU
Seems Cheltenham Road is a pretty good road to get yourself a Negroni on! The Bootlegger, a prohibition-themed bar located not far from Filthy Thirteen, offers a barrel-aged Negroni. The drink included Bombay Sapphire dry gin, Punt E Mes, Campari and orange bitters, costing around the standard price of £8.50. The also have bars in Cardiff and Exeter, so if you still need a safe Negroni away from the city, you know where to go.
The Bootlegger, 233 Cheltenham Road, BS6 5QP
This bar has plenty of inventive cocktail ideas, including their Negroni recipe. The Clockwork Rose has been known to make a Negroni con formaggio. That’s right. Cheese. We may have had nibbles with a Negroni but the bar is not exactly dropping the cheese directly in the drink, you’ll be relieved to know. This Negroni has Stilton washed gin, Campari and Antica Formula sweet vermouth. Try not to think too much about the pongy Stilton as the bar says there are only subtle undertones of the cheese. For a safer bet, they also do a Berry Boulevardier, similar to a Negroni but gin is swapped out for a blackberry-infused whisky instead.
The Clockwork Rose, 16 St Stephen’s Street, BS1 1JR
Small chain bar and restaurant, The Lost and Found, opts to name each location after a professor. The bar in Clifton is named after Elizabeth E Lightfoot – a professor of astronomy who would do her research behind a tobacconist there back in the day – is the perfect setting to sip this ruby-toned cocktail. For this drink, it’s made with their own No.3 Gin, Antica Formula Carpano Vermouth and classic Campari, and costs £9.50 here.
The Lost and Found, 85 Queens Road, BS8 1QS
For us, the Negroni is the perfect summer cocktail (sorry Spritz lovers). And with Bristol’s fantastic selection of bars, there’s no better way to round off the season by celebrating The Greatest Cocktail Of All Time. So take your pick from the bars above and get your order in.