Dealer’s Choice: Smoked Negroni at SideDoor

By Sarah Freeman  |  February 20, 2014

Hey bartender, make us something delicious. Welcome to Dealer’s Choice, where Chicago mixologists share their favorite cocktails so you know exactly what to order the next time you belly up to their bar.

“I have always had a slight love affair with gin,” said Andrew Macker, beverage director at the recently opened SideDoor. When it was time to develop the cocktail menu for the Lawry’s-adjacent gastro-lounge, he looked at the classics as well as his favorite base spirits for inspiration. For the negroni, he wanted to find a way to add a smoky characteristic to the sweet and biter cocktail. He got the idea to use a smoked ice cube after watching the chefs in the kitchen put pastrami in the smoker. He then repeated the process with a sheet of water, froze it and cut the fragrant ice into two-inch cubes. 

The cocktail itself is made with FEW’s barrel-aged gin, to stand up to the smoky ice, along with Aperol instead of Camapri, which cuts back on the bitter component, which the ice adds. It is finished with Punt e Mes for sweetness and a lemon peel garnish. “This gives the cocktail an unmistakable aroma of smoke and lemon, he said. “Without compromising the true ingredients of one of my favorite craft cocktails.“