In the Mix

Negroni Week helps raise money for local charities

June 7th, 2016

It used to be when I asked for a Negroni, most bartenders would think I had just hurled some sort of racial slur their way.

Not anymore.

Now that craft is king and self-described mixologists typically outnumber the old-fashioned barman (or woman), it’s become cool to belly up to a bar and ask for the cocktail made with equal parts Campari, sweet vermouth and gin. The drink — which dates back nearly 100 years to Italy where Count Camillo Negroni invented it after spending time in the United States — is a twist on an Americano, but the Negroni swaps the club soda in that drink with gin to give it an added kick.

DENNIS ODA / 2015 The Negroni cocktail is made with equal parts Campari, sweet vermouth and gin with an orange wedge.

DENNIS ODA / 2015

The Negroni cocktail is made with equal parts Campari, sweet vermouth and gin with an orange wedge.

The Negroni’s recent rise in popularity can be linked to an increased promotional push in the United States by the Campari brand, which purchased the Wild Turkey distillery from Pernod Ricard in 2009 to increase its production capacity. Two years later, national bartending convention Tales of the Cocktail made history in New Orleans by concocting the world’s largest Negroni.

These days, it’s hard to find a well-developed cocktail menu that doesn’t include the drink. Even if it’s not listed, many establishments have Campari behind the bar and can easily make one for you.

Here in Honolulu, I never hesitate to seek out Bevy co-owner and award-winning bartender Christian Self when I need my Negroni fix. You’ll want to check him out this week as well, since the bar is taking part in Negroni Week 2016. Today through Sunday, $1 of every Negroni (or a variation) sold there will be donated to the Oahu Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

And if you feel like putting your dancing shoes on to help celebrate Negroni Week, check out Bevy on Thursday from 8 p.m. to midnight for Maybe Bacon Music with DJs DanceMachine, Tfuj and Nicky Thunders. Call 594-7445 for more info.

According to the official Negroni Week website, other bars taking part are Pint+Jigger, 1936 S. King St., and The Pig & The Lady, 83 N. King St. P+J owner Dave Newman said his bar would be donating a portion of sales this week to the Children's Cancer Foundation of Hawaii.

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Jason Genegabus has covered the local entertainment, nightlife, music and bar scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at jason@staradvertiser.com.

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