Don’t know about you all, but my “Summer of Joy” turned out to be mostly a slog. The bright spot: the innovative ways restaurants and bars have enhanced outdoor seating — something that I expect will continue again into this winter. A Negroni is perfect any time, but especially lovely, I think, sipped outdoors as the leaves change in New England — the sweet-bitter bite goes well with golden hour.
So it’s great that Negroni Week, sponsored each year by Campari®, (natch) and Imbibe Magazine, is back in person, after going virtual for 2020. Over the course of the week, participating bars will donate a portion of sales to their favorite charity, with Campari kick-starting the giving with a $100,000 donation, divided equally amongst all participating U.S.-based Negroni Week charity partners. Now in its ninth year, the event has raised more than $3 million for charities.
The event started on Monday, Sept. 13 and rolls through the weekend. I’ve gathered some terrific New England bars that are participating — and if you’re not ready to hang out in person yet, I’ve also gathered a few recipes to try at home— goldenrod-infused vermouth, anyone?
Forage (Cambridge, MA)
Katrina Valenti’s creative riff on the Negroni at Forage features beeswax aged gin and goldenrod infused vermouth. They are supporting The Roots Fund, which provides resources and financial support to empower communities of color. Katrina says “The Golden God highlights the wild beauty of New England. Local beeswax lends lush body and floral aromatics and is complemented by sweet goldenrod’s herbal anise flavor. The bracing bitterness of Campari ties everything together, creating a unique drinking experience whose terroir is unmistakable.”
Golden God Negroni
1 oz. Beeswax aged gin*
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. Goldenrod infused Antica Torino rosso vermouth*
1.5 oz. chilled water
Combine ingredients in a sealable container and refrigerate till cold. Once chilled, pour ingredients in an iSi soda syphon and seal tightly. Charge with a soda charging cartridge and shake the syphon upside down for one minute. Replace in the fridge for 15 minutes. Once chilled, slowly dispense over a large ice cube in a double rocks glass. Garnish with an orange swath and a sprig of goldenrod.
*For the beeswax aged gin: Take a clean glass canning jar (Katrina used wide mouth quarts) and dry the inside thoroughly. Melt beeswax in a double boiler. Carefully coat the inside of the jar. Let first coat cool entirely before doing a second coating. Once cooled, pour your favorite gin (Katrina used Dry Line gin from South Hollow Spirits) in the jar and let sit for one month before straining off. The jar can be reused multiple times.
*For the Goldenrod vermouth: Take a clean sealable container and place a healthy bunch of cleaned Goldenrod in the bottom, including the stems. Pour your favorite vermouth (I used Antica Torino rosso) over the top and place a plate on top to ensure the goldenrod doesn’t float to the top. Refrigerate overnight and strain off the following day. Store in the fridge when not in use. Should last for 3-6 weeks.
The Kennebunk Inn (Kennebunk, Maine)
Created by the Inn’s chef/owner, Shanna O’Hea, she says “After this summer’s insanity of long hours and working multiple jobs, that cocktail at the end of shift has saved my life/sanity many times.” The Inn will be celebrating Negroni Week Sept. 16 – 18 and half of the proceeds from Negroni sales will go to Muttville, an organization that rescues senior dogs.
Shanna’s Life-Saving Negroni
1 oz Aperol
1 oz Campari
2 oz Plymouth Gin
2 oz Antica Formula Vermouth
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker or pint glass over ice. Stir until well-chilled. Negronis are never shaken. Strain and serve over caramelized orange slice and large “Life Saver” ice cube.
Eataly Boston (Boston)
Eataly Boston’s La Pizza & La Pasta is serving five Negroni variations, and donating a portion of proceeds to Lovin’ Spoonfuls, a nonprofit organization in Boston that facilitates the recovery and distribution of healthy, perishable food that would otherwise be discarded.
One of the variations is the Negroni Sbagliato. Meaning “messed up” or “mistaken” Negroni, the sbagliato is Negroni’s bubbly, fizzy cousin. Legend has it that Negroni Sbagliato was invented by accident—during a busy evening in 1972, a bartender at Bar Basso in Milano accidentally added sparkling wine instead of gin to a Negroni. It’s ideal for those who want to enjoy a few “bubbles” without having to forget the classic sharp Negroni taste they know and love.
- 1 oz. Campari
- 1 oz. Cinzano 1757 Vermouth di Torino Rosso
- A splash of your favorite dry Prosecco
Combine Campari and Cinzano 1757 Vermouth di Torino Rosso in a rocks glass. Add ice, and top with prosecco. Garnish with an orange slice. Enjoy!
Waterworks Bar (Winooski, VT)
Waterworks will be offering four Negroni family tree cocktails, including a classic Negroni recipe using Barr Hill Tom Cat Gin to highlight a local Vermont spirit. $1 from every Negroni sale will go towards Lamda Legal, which is committed to achieving full civil rights recognition of the LGBTQ+ community & anyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education & public work.
Barr Hill Tom Cat Gin
Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
Other participating New England venues include:
Cantina Italiana (Boston)
Via Vecchia (Portland, Maine)
Via Vecchia will be celebrating Negroni Week all month long featuring a complete overhaul of the menu with ten Negronis for Negroni Week and beyond. They’ll be offering a “passport” of regions to be stamped with each Negroni.
The Muse Bar & Kitchen (Worcester, MA)
The Muse has a full Negroni Week menu with 16 signature Negroni cocktails and riffs, including an Oaxaca Negroni with Campari, mezcal and sweet vermouth and a number of other inventive libations.
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