Cocktail stories: Fiero NegroniBy Alice Brooker
Brendan Bartley, bartender of newly-opened Bathtub Gin in Los Angeles, talks crafting the Fiero Negroni for the locals.
*This feature was originally published in the February 2022 issue of The Spirits Business magazine.
Bathtub Gin describes itself as a classic gin joint – but guests should not expect just any old bar.
Welcoming drinkers to its ‘secret’, newly opened venue in Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, it promises to bring back the glitter and glamour of the Roaring ’20s.
With a bar already set up in New York City, the outpost is determined to adapt its Gatsby-era image for Californians, starting with its Fiore Negroni.
“The Negroni itself is era appropriate; the style of this Negroni is LA-inspired,” explains bartender Brendan Bartley. “That’s really the underlying theme. We wanted to make classic cocktails in the new world LA era. Hence the splash of violette for a floral element, capturing the LA coastal lifestyle; the lemongrass, as it grows in abundance here; and the sage – it feels like every house I see here has some growing in the yard.”
Bartley has discovered a key difference in palates between New Yorkers and Angelenos: LA drinkers prefer more “citrus-forward and refreshing cocktails” in comparison to their eastern counterparts.
“I think it is climate-based,” he notes. “It’s hard to picture a tropical picturesque LA backdrop and not also picture holding a refreshing citrus drink.”
On the nose, the revamped Negroni presents citrus aromas of grapefruit, plus floral scents of camomile.
Unsurprisingly, the palate delivers bright citrus notes, including flavours of sweet orange, as well as jasmine.
The traditional Negroni contains vermouth, yet Bartley decided to opt out of this classic ingredient.
“We tried traditional vermouths, but Lillet Rouge worked best,” he said. “Lillet isn’t far from a vermouth, it’s like a cousin, let’s say. We just wanted to make the best flavour combination possible, and the Rouge was it.”
1l Brovo Amaro Batch No 4 Liqueur
1l Lillet Rouge
250ml Violet liqueur
Add all ingredients to a large container and thoroughly stir. Let the mixture sit for 48 hours, then fine strain. Add 120ml of the Negroni mix to a large rocks glass with a large ice cube. Stir for five seconds. Garnish with a stalk of lemongrass.
*This recipe produces a batch of 40 serves, and involves 48-hour maceration.
For more recipes of cocktails to create at home, check out Athens-based bar Baba Au Rum’s Mai Tai, which follows the original Trader Vic’s recipe from the 1930s.