Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Negroni: 'A Top Food Trend of 2011!'
Barrel-aged Negroni photo via starchefs.com.
One of the cocktails I've been immensely obsessed with for the past two years is the classic Italian Negroni, so I was thrilled to find out it was named one of HuffPo's Top Food Trends of 2011:
"Campari declared 2011 to be the Year of the Negroni and it looks like its marketing actually worked. This simple cocktail only has three ingredients—Campari, gin and sweet vermouth—and was everyone's drink-of-choice this year. As is the case with many classic cocktails, there are always twists, which explains why restaurants have secret Negroni menus. The website Food Republic devoted a full week of coverage to pay homage to the cocktail."
Yay! Long live the Negroni! But . . . don't trust just anyone's, which I learned the hard way this year venturing out to many restaurants and bars in the city. Some were not balanced (It's imperative that all three components flow smoother than an ocean). Others were shaken, not stirred (That is blasphemy, according to bartenders). And a few tried way too hard by adding ingredients that had no place in this cocktail (olives, chocolate, vodka, cranberries, WTF).
Overall, I've had some great Negroni experiences, and here are my favorite places to sip them in the city:
David Burke Primehouse: The James Hotel's stylish steakhouse just added a barrel-aged Negroni to the menu. It's been aged for six weeks, bringing out the exceptional, deeper flavors of the ingredients even more. What's even better is that it perfectly complements the signature 75-day, dry-aged ribeye.
The Drawing Room: They're doing a classic rendition of my fave elixir at this after-hours hang, but why I enjoy it here is that it's always consistent whether celebrity mixologist Charles Joly is making it or one of his lesser-known colleagues. Plus, it's always fun watching them whip them up as though they're creating masterpieces.
MörSo: House mixologist Choo Lipsky is quickly making his presence known in Chicago's bartending community, and his latest idea is keeping his name on customers tongues as well. Tuesday through Thursday, he's serving up $22 carafes of classic cocktails, including a well-crafted Negroni.
Piccolo Sogno: Though the River West resto serves up contemporary Italian cuisine, the bartenders are all about the classics when it comes to cocktails. It came served up in a larger martini glass, and was the most potent one to date. Damn, it almost put us on our asses!
The Violet Hour: I could chow down on blood oranges every day of my life, so when I found out that this cutting-edge cocktail lounge drops in a hint of it in their Negroni (at request only), I was obsessed. What also sets it apart from others is that they use three dashes of Regans Orange Bitters. Yum.