One gin drink is being spotlighted in a week-long international event raising money for good causes.
Bars and restaurants in the U.S., Australia, Sweden and other countries are getting into the giving spirit by crafting their own versions of the Negroni, a pre-Prohibition era cocktail, and donating a portion of the proceeds to the charities of their choosing as part of Negroni Week, which starts today and runs through Sunday. A total of 19 Austin bars have joined in.
Negroni Week — created by Imbibe magazine and Campari, one of the drink’s ingredients that lends to the Negroni its rich red color — first launched last year and has grown significantly this year, involving more than 1,000 worldwide bars and special events. That adds up to a lot of money for nonprofits. (Plus, Campari plans to donate an additional $10,000 to the top fundraising bar’s charity of choice. Austin, get to giving.)
It’s not hard to see why the Negroni is getting a whole week in the spotlight. A simple three-ingredient aperitif made up of equal parts gin, Campari and vermouth, it’s a fun cocktail for bartenders to play around with, and each of the Austin bars participating in Negroni Week are serving up their own spins on the classic drink. But at its heart, the Negroni, an Italian-born concoction from the early part of the twentieth century, is a boozy tug-of-war between sweet and bitter that comes served with an orange twist.
Here’s what some of the local Negroni Week bars will be making.
Drink.Well: At this North Loop pub, bartenders have prepared three Negroni cocktails: a traditional Negroni, the Negroni Fragola and La Conquistadora. Part of the proceeds from each of these drinks will be donated at the end of the week to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a personal cause for Drink.Well’s founders. Co-owner Michael Sanders, a Type 1 diabetic since the age of 4, has been a lifelong advocate and fundraiser for the foundation.
1.5 oz. Plymouth Gin
.75 oz. Campari
.75 oz. Strawberry-Infused Dolin Blanc Vermouth
2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
Stir and serve over a large ice cube. Garnish with a fresh strawberry and orange peel.
The Bonneville: The Cesar Chavez restaurant has dubbed its take on the Negroni "the Coqueta" because it’s a little lighter and less bitter than the typical version, substituting Campari for Aperol and topping it off with Prosecco. Try it out and you’re helping out PAWS Austin, the Bonneville’s chosen cause.
1 oz. No.3 Gin
1 oz. Aperol
1 oz sweet vermouth
Top with Prosecco and garnish with a bruleed orange slice.
The W Austin: Among the Negroni cocktails that the W Austin’s Living Room bars will be offering is the MacGroni with the Glenlivet Scotch, the Innocente with Fords gin and the Portuguese Negroni with Plymouth gin and 20-year tawny Port wine. These benefit the Austin Young Chamber of Commerce.
1 oz. The Glenlivet
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. sweet vermouth
Garnish with a lemon twist.
Whisler’s: Fresh off the opening of Mezcalaría Tobalá, the mezcal mecca in a tiny room above Whisler’s, the East Austin bar has created the Oaxacan Negroni featuring — what else — mezcal instead of gin for a smoky, earthy Latin twist on the classic Negroni. Whisler’s has given a portion of proceeds from other cocktails to the Austin Music Foundation and is doing so again.
Searsucker: One of the ways bartenders have changed up the Negroni for Negroni Week fun is by barrel-aging the base spirit — in this case, rum — and Searsucker’s rum-gronie has done just that, with Campari, Dolin Sweet Vermouth and El Dorado rum aged for two months in a virgin charred oak barrel. It’ll be available as a 3 oz. pour for $12, a $1 of which will go toward Austin Pets Alive. The downtown restaurant, in addition to making the rum-groni and a traditional Negroni, has also created a tequila version, Amargo, using Casamigos Blanco and Aperol.
Other local bars participating in Negroni Week:aRoma Italian Kitchen And Bar, benefiting the Capital Food Bank of TexasBar Congress, benefiting The Barman’s FundClive Bar, benefiting Get Your Rear In GearEast Side Show Room, benefiting Austin Pets AliveFour Seasons Hotel, benefiting Austin Partners in EducationFreedmen’s, benefiting Glimmer of HopeHalf Step, benefiting Health Alliance for Austin MusiciansMettle, benefiting Austin Pets AliveMidnight Cowboy, benefiting Sierra ClubPéché, benefiting LifeworksSecond Bar + Kitchen, benefiting The Barman’s FundThe Tigress, benefiting Austin Pets AliveVolstead, benefiting Wounded Warrior