It’s Negroni Week, which means your favorite bars and restaurants are likely to have their own personal twists on the classic cocktail available all week. Started at a bar in Portland three years ago, the annual celebration encourages bartenders to serve up the bitter cocktail to guests, with a dollar of the proceeds from each sale of the drink headed to the charity of the bar’s choice.
That’s means knocking a few back is actually helping someone, so you can tell your boss you were out late last night doing charity work.
Last year the event raised over $320,000 for charity, and the hope this year is that number will top half a million.
In most cases, bars and restaurants are picking their own favorite charity and donating the money directly. However, the bar that sells the most Negronis during the week will also score an additional $10,000 for the charity of their choice from Campari. Campari also plans to donate $5,000 to the top fundraiser in Australia, and Imbibe Magazine will be making a $1,000 donation to one random bar from all that choose to participate.
So what’s a Negroni?
If you’re not familiar, the classic Negroni is an old-school cocktail made with equal parts of gin, vermouth, and Campari. The ingredients are all stirred together, strained into a chilled coupe or rocks glass with ice, and then garnished with an orange twist.
The drink is a bartender’s favorite, and was even consumed by Orson Welles, who discovered the cocktail 69 years ago in Rome when he was shooting Black Magic. The drink gained popularity with bartenders in the late ‘90s, which of course eventually spread to consumers.
For Negroni Week, bartenders change up some of the classic ingredients (or add a few new ones) to create twists on the classic. The Negroni Week festivities also aren’t confined to just cocktails. Umami Burger, for instance, is selling a Negroni BBQ Burger this week, featuring a blended beef and mushroom patty, Campari and cola BBQ sauce, kale slaw, and melted gouda.
We’ve even seen Negroni cotton candy, and of course, New Belgium made a Negroni-inspired beer this year for the occasion.
In its first year, Negroni Week only had a few participants, but now the event has grown significantly in popularity. Over 6,000 bars and restaurants are actually participating this year. If you want to head out and try the drink (or a few of the variations) for yourself, you can find a full list of participating venues here.