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Strawberry and Rhubarb Negroni by Dante West Village

Cocktail of the Week: Coveted NYC establishment Dante gives its signature tipple a summer switch-up.

By Grace Taylor

In 1915, the original Caffe Dante opened its doors in New York’s Greenwich Village. An informal Italian venue in a predominantly Italian neighborhood, the restaurant and bar quickly became a community hub where locals could gather and enjoy a taste of home. As word spread about the charming spot, it quickly became a Manhattan institution, evolving into a melting pot of resident regulars, influential figures, and exciting celebrities.

After a successful 100-year run, Linden Pride and Nathalie Hudson took over the restaurant bar in 2015. Determined to honor Caffe Dante’s Italian heritage, the couple also wanted to innovate and evolve, incorporating modern New York flavors into the bar’s repertoire.

Fast forward five years and Caffe Dante is announced as the best bar in the world. The Australian-born couple had succeeded; Dante remained a hit. In response to the growing demand from regulars and tourists alike, a second location was opened: Dante West Village.

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exterior of dante west village
The exterior of Dante West Village /©GiadaPaoloni

A larger venue, Dante West Village offers the same selection of signature cocktails as the original, alongside a full Mediterranean food menu powered by a wood-fired grill and charcoal oven. The space is bright, floral, and buzzing. When I arrive at 4 pm on a warm June Thursday, there is already a line out the door for a coveted seat at the bar.

Although the space itself is not steeped in Caffe Dante’s storied history, Dante West Village still brims with a community atmosphere. The wait for a seat may seem intimidating, but once inside, the venue is anything but. Strangers at the bar bond over theatrical drink presentations (the deconstructed dirty martini is particularly stunning) and I enjoy a long conversation with my bartender, Roberto, about the bar scenes in London and New York. The service is attentive yet relaxed, and although each bar stool and table is packed, everyone seems to have time to chat.

Like my first initial impression of Dante, I find a Negroni, at first glance, mildly intimidating. I am in awe of anyone who can effortlessly handle the bitter taste and strong alcohol content without waiting for a significant portion of the ice to melt. However, I am assured that the Strawberry and Rhubarb Negroni, one of the bar’s summer specials, is the perfect twist on Dante’s signature tipple and a good starting point for those unsure about the cocktail.

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interior of dante west village
Inside Dante West Village /©GiadaPaoloni

Upon first taste, the flavors are perfectly balanced, and the blend of summer fruit gently eases me into the aperitivo. The clarified strawberry juice is not overly sweet but surprisingly fresh, giving a summer bite to the cocktail. A delightfully light seasonal drink, it goes down remarkably easily for a Negroni. The perfect ode to the bar’s motto ‘where everything old becomes new again,’ this recreation of the classic drink is the ideal entryway to the more bitter original and I leave the bar a summer convert.

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3/4 ounce Lillet Rosè

1/2 ounce gin, preferably Roku

1/2 ounce Arbikie Strawberry Vodka

1/2 ounce Cocchi Americano Rosa

1/2 ounce Martini & Rossi Riserva Speciale Rubino

3/4 ounce Clarified Strawberry Juice (blend strawberries and place in a cheese cloth to drip juice and clarify)

3 dashes rhubarb bitters

1 dash Saline Solution (1:50)

To garnish: rhubarb ribbon


Pour ingredients into a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled or frozen Nick and Nora glass.

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