Any social media fiend who dives down the rabbit hole of trending topics has heard of things like #NationalMartiniDay (19 June) or #InternationalBeerDay (5 August), but Negroni Week is not like the others. While it is presented by the Negroni’s requisite bitter apéritif component, Campari (along with Imbibe magazine), the core of it happens to be charity—and funds raised from sales across all 6,000 participant venues globally do go to an array of beneficial organizations. That said, consuming Negronis also happens to be an integral part and the week itself offers up a substantial amount of variations on the wildly popular classic cocktail. As the week kicked off last night at Brooklyn’s movie theater-bar-restaurant Syndicated, we had an opportunity to try plenty of creative iterations of the cocktail and the six below stand as our favorites. Head over to the venues that invented them or make them at home.
Tristan Willey of the acclaimed Long Island Bar in Brooklyn demonstrates with clarity that good things do come in small packages. To emphasize potency, Willey paired Campari with Wild Turkey Rye (and Cinzano 1757). But after straining, it’s all served in a 2 oz glass. You can shoot it, of course, but sipping it only extends the spice.
1 oz Campari
1 oz Cinzano 1757
1.5 oz Wild Turkey Rye
1.25 oz water
Stir and strain into a 2 oz glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
Our favorite on-the-water venue in NYC, Grand Banks, is offering up an enhanced Negroni. This means a portion of the cocktail is a classic Negroni itself, but it’s bolstered by simple syrup and a bit of strawberry. The result is fun and delectable, but clearly less bitter than the original.
2.5 oz. Negroni (equal parts Campari, Sweet Vermouth, Gin)
.5 oz. simple syrup
1 strawberry half
1 orange half wheel
Muddle orange half wheel and strawberry half in the bottom of a Collins glass. Add simple syrup and Negroni. Pack glass tightly with pebble ice. Garnish with fresh strawberry and orange half wheel.
Presently available at Dante, also in NYC, the chocolate Negroni is not entirely what you think. While White Crème de Cacao and dashes of chocolate bitters do lend the drink its name, there’s also chili powder added to take it to the next level.
.75 oz. Campari
.75 oz. Cinzano Rosso
.25 oz. gin
.25 oz. White Crème de Cacao
3 dashes chocolate bitters
3 dashes chili powder
Valrhona chocolate shavings
Stir and strain on one large cube in an etched rocks glass. Garnish with an orange twist and grated Valrhona chocolate.
Float the Boat
Another Dante concoction, developed by Victoria Canty, and presented at Syndicated last night, Float the Boat is in fact an ice cream float. Two portions of Cinzano (both Bianco and 1757) give it added vermouth-based dynamics, but the scoop of gelato makes this a pretty out-there beverage.
2 oz. Campari
½ oz. Cinzano Bianco
½ oz. Cinzano 1757
½ oz. Bulldog Gin
1 small scoop vanilla gelato
Combine as if a traditional Negroni, add one scoop of vanilla gelato and top with San Pellegrino Aranciata Rosso.
NYC favorite Holiday Cocktail Lounge has created a different sort of chocolate Negroni wonder. Developed by Bob Wagner, the gin itself receives a cacao-infusion and a white chocolate prosecco foam brings things to the next level. This is certainly a more complex creation, but definitely worth giving a try.
.75 oz. Campari
.75 oz. cacao-infused Bulldog Gin
.75 oz. coffee-infused Cinzano 1757
white chocolate prosecco foam
Combine as if a classic Negroni, garnish with the white chocolate prosecco foam and add a few dashes of dark chocolate cocoa powder
For anyone unfamiliar with the mezcal Negroni, Pamela Wiznitzer of UES hotspot Seamstress developed a spicier, smokey variation that employs rosemary smoke to the finish. However, a strawberry-infusion of the Cinzano Bianco cuts the edge, and delivers an altogether well-rounded delight.
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. strawberry-infused Cinzano Bianco
1 oz. mezcal
Combine in equal parts, as if a traditional Negroni, smoke the cocktail with rosemary leaves.
Negroni Week runs 6-12 June. Explore all affiliated venues online.
Images courtesy of respective venues