Negroni Week is a worldwide celebration of the classic Italian cocktail, the Negroni. This beloved drink, which boasts a simple yet elegant combination of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, has captured the hearts of cocktail enthusiasts for over a century. Each year, Negroni Week brings together bars, restaurants, and cocktail lovers from across the globe to raise their glasses in honor of this timeless libation. In this article, we’ll delve into the history of the Negroni, explore the significance of Negroni Week, and offer some delightful variations to try during this annual celebration.
The Birth of the Negroni
The Negroni’s origin story is shrouded in mystery, but it is commonly attributed to Count Camillo Negroni in the early 20th century. The legend goes that Count Negroni, a regular patron at Caffè Casoni in Florence, Italy, asked the bartender to make his Americano cocktail stronger by adding gin instead of soda water. Thus, the Negroni was born.
The classic Negroni recipe calls for equal parts of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, garnished with an orange peel or slice. This simple combination of ingredients creates a complex and balanced cocktail with a perfect harmony of bitter and sweet notes.
Negroni Week: A Global Celebration
Negroni Week, initiated in 2013, is more than just a celebration of a cocktail; it’s also an opportunity to give back. During this week-long event, participating bars and restaurants donate a portion of their Negroni sales to charitable causes. This philanthropic aspect has turned Negroni Week into a meaningful tradition, with over £3 million raised for various charities since its inception.
The celebration typically takes place in September, with bars and enthusiasts hosting Negroni-themed events, offering special Negroni menus, and experimenting with creative variations. It’s a time when the global cocktail community comes together to pay homage to this iconic drink while making a positive impact on society.
While the classic Negroni is a masterpiece on its own, Negroni Week encourages creativity in the world of mixology. Here are a few variations you can try during this special week:
- White Negroni: Swap out the sweet vermouth for Suze (a bitter French aperitif) and the gin for a dry gin. This twist offers a lighter and more herbaceous take on the Negroni.
- Boulevardier: Replace the gin with bourbon or rye whiskey for a richer, more robust cocktail. The Boulevardier maintains the Negroni’s essence but brings a warm, whiskey-forward flavor.
- Negroni Sbagliato: This “mistaken” Negroni uses sparkling wine (usually prosecco) instead of gin, creating a refreshing and effervescent variation that’s perfect for brunch or warm summer evenings.
- Coffee Negroni: Add a caffeinated twist by infusing your gin with coffee beans or using coffee liqueur. This variation marries the bitterness of coffee with the bitterness of Campari, resulting in a delightful balance.
- Gin Variations: Experiment with different styles of gin, such as barrel-aged gin, citrus-forward gin, or even gin made with botanicals like lavender or rosemary to create unique flavor profiles.
Negroni Week is a time to appreciate the Negroni’s enduring charm, celebrate its versatility, and support important charitable causes. Whether you prefer the classic recipe or one of its many inventive variations, Negroni Week invites you to raise your glass to this timeless Italian cocktail and the spirit of giving. So, join the worldwide celebration, mix up your favorite Negroni, and make a positive impact on your community. Cheers to Negroni Week!