Via Carota Negroni

Via Carota is an Italian restaurant on New York City’s lower West Side. In collaboration with Brooklyn based Forthave Spirits, in 2022 they launched a series of bottled cocktails, which include a classic Negroni.

Instead of Campari, Via Carota Negroni uses Forthave’s Red Aperitivo, in addition to gin and vermouth. It is bottled at 21% ABV.

Tasting notes

Color: A rich garnet and perfectly see-through

Aroma: Amaro led with gentian root and bitter orange. It reminds me of Aperitivo Cappelletti.

Flavor: Sweet citrus, especially orange rind early. Mid-palate heady chamomile flowers segue into a back of the palate that is amaro-driven just as the nose is with bitter orange and gentian root, but also shows some subtle hints of gin. As the bitterness subsides, green juniper, coriander seed and angelica are all present— though not loudly.

Finish: Short and mildly bitter, with some nice gin character coming through.

Overall, Via Carota Negroni

The flavor of a traditional equal parts Negroni is dominated by Campari. That’s one of the reasons why many pre-bottled Negronis struggle to hit the mark. Since they can’t use Campari, and they don’t have Campari’s recipe— they are left creating their own version of the cocktail’s signature ingredient.

Via Carota’s partnership with Forthave gives them a beautiful Aperitivo to build their Negroni with. However beautiful it is, it is clearly not Campari. It’s slightly more bitter and folks looking for a true Negroni might be left disappointed.

However, as with all RTD Negroni cocktails not made by Campari, we have to judge it based on what they do have access to. While I like the gin notes that come through, it’s ultimately hard to not find Via Carota’s version a bit unbalanced. The Red Aperitivo dominates and the cocktail lacks the sweetness that the traditional cocktail has.

It’s a good riff on the Negroni, but Via Carota’s Classic Negroni is best appreciated as its own thing and a showcase of Forthave’s Red Aperitivo.