Food & Drink

What To Try If You Always Order A Negroni According To 6 Of Brisbane’s Top Bartenders

By Georgia Condon
10th Feb 2022

A classic combo perfectly balancing sweetness, bitterness and herbaceousness, Negronis manage to be the perfect sip before a meal, after a meal, on a night out… basically whenever.

In the spirit of mixing things up, we asked six of Brisbane’s top bartenders what they would recommend someone tries if they’re ready to branch out from the Negroni and find a new favourite.

Daniel Pennefather

Owner/Bar Manager, Rita’s Tequila & Taqueria

The Negroni is easily one of the most prolific cocktails in the history of cocktails. It's big, it's bad, it's boozy, it's bitter and sweet. And for everyone that enjoys a good Negroni there are always amazing memories attached to every sip. But how can you top that off? What could I possibly suggest that would make you go "yes, I want that next". For me, it's hands down the Rosita. This drink is a Negroni variation featuring tequila as well as both dry and sweet vermouth and is woefully overlooked.

Brock Upton-Steele

Bartender, Dr Gimlette

Well, another Negroni of course! But let’s try it a little different. Campari is an unchangeable core aspect of the drink but the gin and vermouth can easily be swapped out depending on your tastes. I enjoy Nosferatu as a base gin; blood oranges reinforce the bitter orange aspect of Campari whilst adding a bit more depth. Punt E Mes is a classic Italian brand of vermouth that is a little more bitter than most. These are just a suggestion, ask a bartender and you'll find hundreds of combinations of delicious Negroni!

Jamie Fleming

Owner, Alba Bar & Deli

Negronis are pretty “unfuckwithable” in terms of classics and they definitely fit with what we do. Having said that, it wouldn’t be Alba if we didn’t change things up a bit. Two twists that always hit are sbagliatos, which swap out gin for sparkling wine. Tall and fresh, this is perfect arvo drink worthy. Second option would for sure be going all in on amaro. We are pretty biased but at the end of the day, if you dig a Negroni, you’re into Campari so why not switch it up? Try Braulio or Zucca for some bitter and herbaceous goodness.

Marco Nunes

Venue Manager, Leonard’s and Dawn

I love playing and introducing guests to new flavours and aromas. Something I have been enjoying mixing for Negroni fans is a drink I call Botanica. Inspired by the Negroni, it’s a bit lower in alcohol with more aromatics and mellow/bright taste. While keeping the DNA of a Negroni, I focused more on the wine aspect of the cocktail where I mix a medium-bodied Pinot Noir, Campari and Drambuie, then serve it chilled in a pinot glass garnished with strawberry gum paint and lemon peel.

James Hughes

Venue Manager, Canvas Club 

Here at Canvas, a go-to recommendation we have for guests looking to branch out from Negronis is the Hanky Panky cocktail. Still made using gin and sweet vermouth, it has a similar base, but swaps bittersweet and orange-y Campari for bitter, earthy and minty-herbal Fernet Branca. You can always ask for double Fernet if you want a bolder kick of bitterness! We also offer a range of alternative garnishes if you just feel like a twist on the OG, including chocolate-coated ginger, smoked paprika olives or wattle and spiced pineapple slices.

Daniel Herberg

Venue Manager, The Terrace at Emporium Hotel

Our Electric Blue adds a bit of local botanical flair to the classic Negroni, inspired by the South Bank Parklands that sit across from our doorstep. We start with a juniper-forward Australian gin as our aromatic base. To this, we add a lively white vermouth bursting with notes of native citrus and florals and an aperitif blend of white jasmine, yuzu, mandarin, and bitter orange blossom. The interplay of floral, sweet, and bitter creates the perfect refresher for the hot Brisbane summer.

Keen for more quality boozy content? You can read up on where to find Brisbane's best bottomless brunches here.

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