Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Mike Kostyo


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Bernadette James, the in-house certified master sommelier at Dover, New Hampshire’s beloved The Living Room cocktail bar, takes the negroni in new directions with her Sour Negroni Flip. “While the original cocktail is delicious, I find that the addition of bitter, floral grapefruit juice perfectly complements each spirit, bringing together the botanicals of the gin, the bitterness of the Campari, and the fruity, floral notes of the sweet vermouth,” she says of the build, which uses Tamworth Distillery gin, Carpano Antica vermouth and Campari, in addition to the grapefruit. But then she adds a whole egg for a frothy, shaken final concoction. “The entire egg gives the drink a velvety, creamy texture that softens out all of the harsh edges, giving a pleasurable, decadent drinking experience.”


Over a century ago, Count Camillo Negroni walked into Florence’s Café Casoni, asked that his usual Campari and vermouth be finished with gin instead of soda (he must have been having a particularly rough day), and a legendary cocktail was born. Once relatively unknown to most Americans, the drink has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, driven by America’s newfound penchant for bitter drinks. The cocktail has become so common that it has spawned offshoot trends on drink menus, including white negronis, mezcal negronis and the negroni sbagliato craze. Here we look at some of the most unique negroni builds on menus today, showcasing how a simple three-ingredient cocktail can be the foundation for endless flavor play.

About The Author

Mike Kostyo

Mike Kostyo is the VP of Menu Matters. Mike has been a recurring guest on Fusion TV’s “The A.V. Club” show; has been featured on NBC News, CBS Radio and Gimlet Media’s “Why We Eat What We Eat” podcast; is regularly featured in newspapers and magazines; speaks at numerous conferences across the country; and was a judge on Food Network’s “Eating America.” For nearly 11 years, Mike was an associate director and trends expert at one of the industry's largest research firms. He has a master's in Gastronomy from Boston University, plus certificates in the culinary arts, baking arts, wine and artisan cheese production. [email protected]