Best Of 2018

Best No-Nonsense Negroni: A Tavola

The negroni is a classic Italian aperitif — a before-dinner drink made of gin, red vermouth and Campari, garnished with an orange peel. It has a wonderful bitter bite, paired with citrus aromatics to stimulate the appetite and a comforting weight provided by the Campari and semi-sweet fortified wine. It’s a splash of hot Mediterranean summer café society with a refreshing chill. And, because it’s made entirely of booze, no mixers, it’s a nice lil tipple to prime you for pasta and conversation. Nowhere does a straight-up negroni better than A Tavola. As a Florentine/ Neapolitan-inspired trattoria, this makes sense (the drink was invented in Florence, Italy), as do the ingredients. The bar blends Carpano Antica Italian red vermouth with dark red, herbal Campari (also Italian) and Columbus, Ohio’s Watershed Distillery Four Peel Gin. The smooth and aromatic local-ish gin gives a modern twist to the classic. Grab one and an Aperol spritz at the bar while you and a friend share an antipasti. Perfetto! A Tavola, 1220 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine; 7022 Miami Ave., Madeira, atavolapizza.com.