As far as timeless cocktails go, we’re fans of all of them. You put an Old Fashioned or a Vesper in front of us and we’ll be well on our way to happy town. Another classic cocktail we love—because of its taste, its beauty, and its simplicity—is the Negroni.
Typically built from one part gin, one part Campari, and one part sweet red vermouth (completed with an orange peel), the Negroni was popularly believed to have been created at the Café Casoni (now the Giacosa Café) in Florence, Italy in 1919 by Count Camillo Negroni, who asked the bartender (who happened to be his friend) to strengthen his favorite drink, The Americano, by swapping out the club soda with gin (a man after our own hearts). The bartender did as much and changed out the lemon peel for orange, thereby birthing the Negroni. There are other accounts that contest this, but the story is fun and only part of the build-up here, so we’re going to let sleeping dogs lie on this one.
We bring up this bit of history because June 4 through June 10 marks the sixth annual Negroni Week, presented by Campari and Imbibe Magazine. Launched in 2013, Negroni Week is not only meant to showcase the cocktail, but to raise money in doing so, with a portion of the proceeds of every Negroni sold going to charity. Since the week-long celebration’s inception, Negroni week has grown from around 120 bars to over 7,700 across the country, raising over $1.5 million dollars for charitable causes in the same period. This year’s charitable partners can be found here. To participate, each bar signs up, picks a charity, and makes an immediate donation. Following Negroni Week, the bar has the ability to donate again to raise more money.
With so many places now participating in Negroni Week, it may seem a little overwhelming at first. Thankfully, you can head to the event’s website and use their handy-dandy bar locator to see what bars near you are serving up Negronis (both of the classic variety as well as riffs) for a cause.
Don’t want to put in the work and just want to be told where to go (and happen to be in New York City)? We’ve got some places you can check out for a philanthropically-good time:
Negroni Flight at The Flatiron Room
A three-part Negroni flight that will gradually take you from least to most bitter, each perfectly paired with premium bites for $75. The flight consists of (in order):
- Sparkling Negroni: Gin, Campari, Sweet Vermouth paired with cucumber and Ikura (Salmon Roe Caviar).
- Smoking Boulevardier paired with Turkey meatball marinated w/ bourbon BBQ sauce and topped with ricotta cheese.
- CogneNegroni: Cognac, Campari, Lillet Blanc, Orange Juice paired with chocolate truffle covered with cocoa and green tea powder, topped with grated orange peel.
The Insanely Good Negroni at The Up & Up
Bar Manager Chaim Dauermann and the team at The Up & Up will be serving The Insanely Good Negroni, made with Brooklyn Gin, Dolin Blanc, Campari, and Watermelon. ($16)
Any Negroni at Dante
There’s a reason Dante was rated the number 16 bar in the world. Dante has twelve different iterations of the Negroni on their menu and you can’t go wrong with any of them. Pictured above is their Chocolate Negroni, made with Ford gins, Campari, Punt e Mes, Crème de Cacao, chocolate bitters, and Valrhona.
Then finally, if you want to spend big—and we mean big…
The $1,250 Negroni at Fine & Rare
Fine & Rare is serving up a luxury Negroni Sbagliato made with Nolet’s Reserve Gin ($700), Campari, and, Armand de Brignac Brut Rosé, served over a gold flaked ice cube and topped with orange bitters and zest. This over-the-top cocktail will retail for $1,250, with $1,000 of that being donated to Children of Restaurant Employees.
If you want to mix up a Negroni at home, the site has a fairly extensive list of recipes available here.
Aricle updated May 30, 2018 by Sam Slaughter