Night Rooster (Ubud, Bali)

Raka Ambarawan heads up the beverage program at restaurants Locavore and Nusantara in Ubud, and is the co-founder and managing operator of cocktail bar Night Rooster. Bali tends to draw the short straw when it comes to stock availability in Indonesia – Raka recalls a time when all Italian bitter liqueurs and vermouths were out of stock in Bali for more than four months. Necessity drove him to find a replacement for sweet vermouth for his Negronis. When he finally landed on the right recipe he named the resulting drink the Nee-groni:  Nee means no in Dutch – the substitute Negroni when they couldn’t get any Campari or rosso vermouth.

Night Rooster Vermouth
*Recipe yields 1 litre

1l leftover red wine
150g sugar
25g mugwort
10g angelica root
10pcs star anise
2x 5inch sticks cinnamon
15pcs cardamom
5pcs long pepper
2g gentian
Grape infused arak (up to 10% of the total liquid remaining after cooking)


  1. Cook the sugar on a low heat until it turns to caramel. Slowly add the wine and let it boil
  2. Turn off the head and add all the dry ingredients
  3. Cover and allow to infuse for 48 hours
  4. Taste and adjust where needed for flavour, then add the arak
  5. Bottle and store in the fridge

Raka uses Bali arak (a local coconut based spirit) to fortify the infused wine. The arak he uses is infused with dried grapes for extra flavour. Any brandy or grappa would work well as a substitute.