You have to wonder, surveying London’s elegant bar scene, how did we manage before classic cocktails came back into fashion? What did we drink at pick-me-up o’clock? How did we channel Roger Sterling and/or Dorothy Parker? In particular, was there civilised life before negronis?

The negroni is a proper drink, by which we mean that it is made of strong drink mixed with more strong drink. One part premium gin, one part Campari, one part sweet red vermouth. Plus its de rigueur dot-dash of orange peel – it just doesn’t work without one.

After a long day at the workplace, nothing reinvigorates you quite as classily. The recipe sounds a doddle, as though you can’t go wrong, but getting it delicious, rather than merely strong, at home, isn’t as easy as all that. We asked Cookie, charming bartender at Viajante Bar in Bethnal Green, to talk us through his perfect, elegant negroni.

‘It’s bitter, herby, strong,’ says Cookie. ‘Not a beginner’s drink,’ It’s delicious, a cocktail to savour and sip at leisure. We’d call it the perfect sharpener.

Viajante’s negroni

You’ll need (for one cocktail)

  • 20ml London dry gin (Beefeater is impeccable)
  • 20ml vermouth
  • 20ml Campari
  • Blood orange to garnish
  • Ice

A sneaky tip from the expert

The vermouth is one variable that can make a vital difference to your glassful: some London barmen favour Antica Formula, others Punt E Mes. Cookie’s vermouth of choice? Cocchi Italian vermouth
  • 1

    Start with London dry gin, vermouth and Campari.

  • 2

    Takes a rocks glass and pour in the London dry gin, adding cubed ice.

  • 3

    Add your vermouth of choice and the Campari.

  • 4

    Garnish with a wedge of blood orange.

  • 5

    This one comes with Portuguese olives (a doff of the cap to Nuno Mendes, the extraordinary chef behind Viajante), or you could serve yours with smoked almonds.

Viajante Bar, Patriot Square, Bethnal Green, London E2 9NF (020 7871 0461;


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