Ten years ago, if you asked for a Negroni, some non-Italian bartenders could give you a confused look instead of the desired drink. Only those who were in the know… knew (wink-wink). Some would even say that bartenders considered any guest who ordered a Negroni, a true connoisseur. Since then, the situation has changed and the Negroni has become trendy. Although this bitter-sweet cocktail has existed since the early 20th century, it had only become well-known in the last ten years. Today, any head bartender worth their salt would make sure to include the Negroni on their menu. Many bars organize Negroni weeks and special events, challenging their creativity and juggling ingredients to create unique Negroni twists. Macau’s excellent bars are almost always at the forefront of inventive cocktails and the perfect Negroni can definitely be found in town!
What’s a Negroni, and where is it from?
The Negroni is a pretty simple cocktail that features equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. As you might have guessed, it’s a strong drink with a bitter-sweet profile. Its story goes back to 1919’s Florence, where a demanding patron asked a local bartender to strengthen his Americano (sweet vermouth, Campari, and soda). The bartender poured gin instead of soda, and so a masterpiece beloved to many these days was born. The patron, Count Camillo Negroni, enjoyed this new drink so much that the cocktail was named after him.
However, for the whole 20th century and the beginning of the 21st, Negroni was known to only a few and definitely couldn’t boast the popularity it had earned in the last decade. Its popularity exploded due to the revival of its two ingredients–gin and bitters. Those two became more favored by international bartenders and patrons in the late 2000s. Subsequently, so did the Negroni.
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Bar Patuá at MGM Cotai, one of the most artistic and stylish resorts in town, is more than just another hotel bar. Inspired by the local creole language, a fusion of Portuguese, Cantonese, Malay, and Sinhala, it pays homage to Macau’s rich and diverse culture. And it’s reflected in their concept, interior, and bar menu representing different cultures that make our city unique.
Patuá’s bar manager Paul Zhang and his team put their best effort into creating cocktails that you will never taste anywhere else in Macau, blending Chinese and Western flavors. Besides working on the original concoctions, Paul likes to reinvent classic recipes. MGM Cotai Patuá Negroni is one of the examples and a must-try. Besides the traditional ingredients like gin (particularly Tanqueray No.10 here) and Campari, Paul Zhang adds Antica Formula that gives the cocktail a velvety finish and hints of vanilla and chocolate.
Also read: Bar Patuá at MGM Macau: Language of Mixology
Vida Rica Bar
Macau’s mixology trendsetter, Vida Rica Bar at Mandarin Oriental, Macau is among the most awarded and favored in the city. In summer 2021, Vida Rica Bar was recognized by Asia’s “50 Best Discovery” list 2021, an extension of the “Asia’s 50 Best” bar ranking.
It’s the kind of place where you head for something out of the ordinary as the local team often comes up with creative menus and tempting limited-time offers. If instead of an unusual combination of flavors, you opt for something timeless like Negroni, Vida Rica Bar will not disappoint. The bartenders here know their craft and will undoubtfully fix you an ideal cocktail garnished with orange zest and maraschino cherries.
SW Steakhouse at Wynn Palace doesn’t need an extensive presentation to those who prefer a juicy steak for dinner. It’s often difficult to get a table at this famous steakhouse if you don’t book in advance. Having served carefully selected steaks with the side of an entertaining show, SW established itself as the restaurant for a special occasion long ago.
However, not everybody is aware of SW’s excellent bar and the team behind the bar counter. Their forte is barrel-aged cocktails. When you are there, check the rows of American oak barrels on the right from the counter–these are all pre-mixed cocktails waiting for their time to be served. The aging process makes strong drinks like Negroni smoother and easy to drink, taking the edge off of liquors. Talking of Negronis, they have not one but three Negroni cocktails, each of them created by one of the bartenders from The World’s 50 Best Bars. Choose from Mezcal Negroni by COA, rum-based Presidente Negroni, and Bambu Negroni with bitter bianco and sherry by Marc Alvarez, aka Negroniman.
The St. Regis Bar Macao
The St. Regis Macao’s bar is the ultimate place for escapism. The moment you go through the doors, you’ll find yourself in the fantastic world of New York during the Prohibition Era–but this bar is perfectly legal to drink at. Jazz performances at the art deco stage, curated art collection, and stylish interior are among the factors that make The St. Regis Bar one of the trendiest establishments in town. But, most importantly, the mixologists here have all the chances to become your favorite team by serving you a cocktail that will blow your mind both with flavors and artsy presentation.
Naturally, they will be happy to get you any classic of your choice, including Negroni, since the liquor collection at the bar and bartenders’ skills allow it.
Until the end of November, they have a special promotion with Negroni variations. Mezze Negroni is based on Tequila Alipús Mezcal and Mancino Vermouth. The Sloe-Groni features two gins–Sipsmith London Dry Gin and red Sloe-Gin. And St. Regis The Bitter Edition has Antica Formula and house blend orange bitter.
Not all great bars belong to the resorts and hotels. One of Macau’s finest is in Taipa Village, a gastronomy and cultural hub. We are talking about Goa Nights, a funky spot with a contemporary take on Indian food with delicious small plates and creative mixology. Remarkably, Goa Nights is the only Macau bar that made it to the “Asia’s 100 Best Bars” list. Have you booked a table yet?
Many patrons aim for Goa Nights menu with cocktails inspired by Goan and Macanese landmarks and traditions. And it’s worth trying all the items on that list. But if you are a classic kind of guy or girl, they have a menu with classic cocktails like Hanky Panky and Boulevardier, each for as low as MOP $88. Among them is the one and only Negroni, a classic mix of gin, vermouth, and Campari. The bartending team at Goa Nights boasts excellent skills. So expect your Negroni to be perfectly balanced!
Also read: Shaken or Stirred: Macau’s Best Cocktails