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Negroni Week 2018: 8 cocktails not to be missed

June marks the return of the international phenomenon that is Negroni Week. From 4—10 June, more than 60 of Hong Kong’s best bars and restaurants will showcase their take on the quintessential Italian aperitivo; and what better way to ring in the beginning of summer than with a tantalising trifecta of gin, vermouth and Campari? As in previous years, participating venues nominate a charity of their choice and donate part of their profits at the end of the week. With a plethora of worthy causes to support — combating environmental waste, raising awareness of breast cancer and funding food rescue, the list goes on — there’s never been a better time to get acquainted with the most versatile cocktail in mixology. To the rest of you — welcome back.

For a complete listing of participating venues, visit Negroni Week’s official website.

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For this edition of Negroni Week, Central’s resident oceanliner-themed restaurant and bar returns with the Churchill’s Negroni. Don’t let the Anglophilic moniker fool you: lily white complexion notwithstanding, this cocktail evokes all things south of the border with its 2-to-1 ratio of tequila and mezcal. The spirit forward recipe is rounded out with La Gentiane chartreuse and bergamot liquor, making for an exceptionally complicated experience full of herbaceous and citric flavour contrasts.

Nominated charity: Helen David Relief Fund.

Foxglove, 6 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2116 8949 

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To us this relative newcomer to the Shin Hing Street F&B enclave — from acclaimed veteran mixologist Jay Khan — is severely underrated, and their Negroni Week offering is just another reason why they deserve greater attention. This year, Khan and his team are offering the best of both worlds with their Caffeinated Negroni. Built on twin pillars of Joven Espadin mezcal (produced in the Mexican state of Oaxaca) and London dry gin, COA’s already punchy libation gets its proverbial caffeine kick from vermouth that has been infused with Burundian coffee. At last, a negroni that will give you wings.

Nominated charity: No Kid Hungry.

COA, Wah Shin House, 6-10 Shin Hing Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2813 5787

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Lily & Bloom

Not to be outdone by the competition, LKF Hotel stalwart Lily & Bloom are celebrating the 2018 edition of Negroni Week with not one but three odes to the eponymous crowd pleasing cocktail. The traditionalist’s iteration is joined by a variant that is barrel aged with coconut, while those who are looking to cool off in Hong Kong’s oppressive summer heat can opt for their negroni served in ice cream form.

Nominated charity: Water for People.

Lily & Bloom, 33 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2810 6166

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Situated atop the Shanghai Tang Mansion in Central, Duddell’s is a venue that requires no introduction. Throughout Negroni Week 2018, its award winning restaurant and bar will be serving the Duddell’s Negroni. Featuring Roku gin from the Suntory company and trace amounts of yuzu liqueur, this take on the classic aperitivo is every bit as refreshing and sophisticated as the attendant surroundings. What’s more, $50 of every negroni purchased will go towards Slow Food International — Duddell’s charity of choice, committed to the preservation of endangered foodstuffs and food cultures.

Nominated charity: Slow Food International.

Duddell’s, 3/F, Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2525 9191

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Despite no shortage of enthusiasm, the original negroni seems to be impervious to most attempts at “self-improvement”. In fact, most devotees insist it simply cannot be improved upon. CÉ LA VI may fall squarely into this purist mindset — their offering this year being a straight up classic negroni. Made with equal parts Campari, Dolin Rosso and Tanqueray No. 10, the emphasis here is on letting several key ingredients speak for themselves. The resulting cocktail hasn’t changed since 1919: a repository of bittersweetness best enjoyed at the nose and tail end of the evening’s festivities.

CÉ LA VI, 25/F, California Tower, 30-32 D’Aguilar Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3700 2300

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Bar De Luxe

While hanami (“looking at flowers”) is an activity popularly associated with sakura cherry blossoms, hydrangea flowers are equally beloved by many in Japan. This Negroni Week, Bar De Luxe pays homage to one of Japan’s most popular flowering plants with their twist on the classic negroni — the Hydrangea Flower. Referencing the traditional rainy season (i.e. June) during which the flower blooms, the Hydrangea Flower combines London dry gin, plum liqueur and amaro for a beverage that is the quintessence of summer. Fruit forward with a gilded edge of bitterness, it is as accessible as a conventional negroni while incorporating the seasonal ingredients that make Japanese cocktails so delicious.

Nominated charity: Little Free Library.

Bar De Luxe, 30/F, Asia Pacific Centre, 8 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3706 5716

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Lobster Bar and Grill at Island Shangri-La

Although The Lobster Bar will be serving three variations on the traditional negroni this week, the Summer Bite gets our stamp of approval. This thoughtful twist on a white negroni — made on a foundation of Antipodean gin infused with apricots — is geared towards a refreshing drinking experience. Enjoy yours from the comfort of the Lobster Bar’s outdoor terrace — an excellent locale in which to appreciate Admiralty’s surrounding cityscape.

Nominated charity: Heep Hong Society.

Island Shangri-La, Pacific Place, Supreme Court Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2877 3838

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Occasionally, the word “negroni” conjures up ham fisted imagery of effete men-about-town sipping five o’clock aperitivo; but the acclaimed Florentine cocktail is much more versatile than its café society origins suggest. Desiring to showcase this adaptability, neighbourhood gastropub Alvy’s is presenting a series of three negronis this week. Each signature negroni’s moniker is a reference to the spirit with which it is fashioned: the Barr Hill Tom Cat utilises Vermont gin (barrelled in American oak); the White Negroni favours the elixir-like Fernet Hunter; and the NOgroni even allows teetotallers to join in on the week-long festivities.

Nominated charity: City Harvest.

Alvy’s, 8 Holland Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong, +852 2312 2996

Randy Lai
Having worked in the Australian digital media landscape for over 5 years, Randy has extensive experience in men's specialist categories such as classic clothing, watches and spirits. He is partial to mid-century chronographs and a nice chianti.
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