Gin is having its moment in the cocktail world, and the Negroni — that classic mix of gin, Campari and Italian vermouth — has offered much inspiration to the bartenders of the world recently. But the Negroni is a glorious drink, and despite the fact that there are many variations, the original is hard to beat. One drink that's basically a Negroni variant that caught our attention and then made us swoon is served at the Varnish, downtown's grown-up cocktail den in the back of Cole's Restaurant. The Nice Legs is made from gin, gentiane liqueur and Barolo Chinato with an orange twist. It is lighter than a classic Negroni, more herbal thanks to the gentiane (a liqueur made from the roots of a wildflower that grows at high altitudes in France) and just the right amount of bitter and refreshing. It's a drink that is at once fun and grown-up, refreshing and perplexing. Consumed in the corner of one of the Varnish's wood booths, it'll have you dreaming of cheating on the Negroni more often. 118 E. Sixth St., dwntwn. (213) 622-9999,
—Besha Rodell

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