Negroni Week wrapped up recently with a record number of almost 50 Saigon bars participating.
The week, which was also celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the Negroni cocktail, launched with a kick-off bash at Saigon cocktail hotspot Drinking & Healing.
Campari brand ambassador of Southeast Asia, Symphony Loo, made the trip over from Singapore to mix up some Negroni favourites, while local Vietnamese bartending champ “Zoo” was on-deck mixing with his usual flair.
In addition to promoting the Campari brand, participating bars across the city were critiqued during the course of the week by three “mystery drinkers” chosen by Campo Group, the official distributor of Campari products in Vietnam, for the chance to be recognised as Saigon’s Best Negroni Bar.
The judges were on the look out for key elements like measurement, flavour and balance, POSM or brand visibility and the Negroni cocktail experience in general.
The following bars have made it into the Saigon’s Best Negroni Bar Top 5 for 2019, with the winner due to be announced soon.
Below Whisky Den
No surprises here that Below has made the cut.
Known primarily for its extensive whisky list, Kata Simon and her team have built a reputation over the past few years for their creativity and attention to detail.
Below is also leading the way in sustainability with its recent batch of closed-loop or anti-waste cocktails hitting tabletops in recycled aluminium cans. The first of their kind in Saigon.
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At Below, nothing goes to waste. We utilize our leftover ingredients like fruits, seeds, herbs, and peels to create a recycle cocktail menu. We make edible garnishes from none use parts from the fruits. The idea is to introduce a simple and inexpensive way to recycle ingredients, materials that every single bar, restaurant and even you can make it at home. Thank the masterminds behind this idea, our Bar Manager @kata83simon and her musketeer buddies @matyasbusek and @peterchristophernguyen, and of course our beloved Below team for putting the effort together to reach our goal. Try our recycle canned cocktails and let us know which one is your favorite. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #cocktails #recycle #menu #creative #creation #wastage #reuse #utilize #ingredients #materials #savetheplanet #coolstuff #cans #mixology #cocktailsbar #below #saigon
Below is at 41 Nguyen Hue St., District 1, HCMC
Drinking & Healing
D&H is building itself as a perennial favourite among punters in Saigon with its “Insta-worthy” photo ops at every turn, warm feels and tasty cocktails.
Like their Negronis, they seem to have got the mix right, especially if its popularity among Saigon’s fashionable 20-somethings is anything to go by.
Not only that, images of ours like the one below have been used by a number of other publications in the region, making our photos of D&H easily the most “borrowed” from our online library in the past year.
Recognise this one? Nasty!
Drinking & Healing is at 25 Ho Tung Mau St., District 1, HCMC
In The Mood
With a name like a short-priced favourite in the Melbourne Cup, In The Mood is well worth getting your giddy-up for.
It’s another polished recent addition to Saigon’s expanding cocktail bar scene that oozes sophistication and class.
But more than that, the crew here serve up bloody good drinks and there’s a great happy hour.
We have it on good authority that their classic Negroni is as good as you’ll find anywhere in our alcohol-soaked city. And that’s enough to put anyone in the mood.
In The Mood is at 151/2 Dong Khoi St., District 1, HCMC
Irrashaimasseeeee! And welcome to the Top 5!
It looks as though Irusu has delivered on all that promise it’s been teasing us with since it opened late last year.
Irusu is one of three Saigon bars (the others being Sake Central and Renkon) under the Eight Four Collective umbrella leading the way with Japanese-inspired hospitality concepts in Saigon.
In Japanese, irusu means to pretend you’re not home when someone knocks, a fitting name for this bar’s hidden, speakeasy concept.
Well, that knocking you hear now is from Irusu, telling everyone they’ve arrived.
Irusu Lounge is at 57 Nguyen Du St., District 1, HCMC
There’s something about the name of this bar that makes you attempt to list as many songs as you know that have the word telephone in them.
And then you’re left with an ear worm that just won’t go away.
One night it was ABBA’s Ring Ring, the next that Maroon 5 Payphone song. You know, the one where try as you might, you just can’t quite hit that high note.
At Telephone Bar, you guessed it, you gain entry through a bright red telephone booth that somewhat resembles the Tardis, whereafter you lift the old school phone receiver off the hook to open the door.
Of all the bars in Saigon, this one probably reminds us the most of our misspent youth – drunk in a payphone with bugger all money wondering how the hell the phone works.
Telephone Bar is at…it’s a secret. We could tell you, but then they’d kill us.
Where are Saigon’s best Negroni bars exactly?