Ah, the Negroni. As sexy as a silky red dress. The folks at Imbibe Magazine and Campari love it so much, they have organized an entire week, Negroni Week, to celebrate it while raising money for charitable causes around the world. This year, the third annual Negroni Week will be held June 1-7 at 33 bars in Austin.
Participating bars will mix Negroni variations and donate a portion of proceeds to a charity of their choice. More than 1,300 bars participated in 2014 and raised more than $120,000 for local charities.
The Negroni cocktail traces its origins to Florence, Italy starting in early 20th century and it has grown to be a staple because of its simplicity and balance of sweet and bitter flavors. The classic recipe is one part each of gin, Campari and sweet vermouth. How could you mess that up?
A great way to show Texas pride is to make Negronis with locally distilled gin. We asked Pam Pritchard, owner of The Tigress Pub, to lead us in a blind tasting of five Texas-made brands of gin including Austin Reserve Gin, Dripping Springs Gin, Genius Gin, Moody June Gin and Waterloo Gin. We tried them straight and in identically made Negronis.
Each gin had its strengths and the majority were downright delicious. The Waterloo Gin stood out as a favorite in our blind tasting. When blended in the Negronis, the individual botanical recipes of each gin brought out different flavor characteristics of the cocktail. The Austin Reserve Gin showed the best, with a lovely balance of booziness, herbal, citrus, sweet and bitter flavors all in one glass. Yum.
Many bars in town carry one or more of these local gins. In addition, several bars have created special recipes that substitute one or more of the classic ingredients in delicious variations on the Negroni. A few of our favorites include:
- Rosè Sbagliato at drink.well. a unique twist that includes Amaro Montenegro, rosè vermouth, grapefruit liqueur and sparkling rosè
- Western Union at East Side Show Room with smoky mezcal, punt e mes and Campari
- More Cowbell at The Hightower a mixture of Kinsman Rakia, Aperol and Blanc Vermouth
- The Classic Negronis on tap at Italic
- Oh Sherry at The Tigress Pub made with Waterloo gin, Contratto vermouth Blanco and Tio Pepe fino sherry
- The Walking Spanish Midnight Cowboy a delightful concoction of Vago Espadin Elote Mezcal, La Guita Manzanilla Sherry, Bigallet China China Quinquina and grapefruit peel
- Lemon Verbena gin infused white Negroni at Searsucker
- Aged Negroni at VOX Table with barrel aged Waterloo Antique Gin, Campari and Cocchi Torino
Participating Bars in Austin:
- aRoma Italian Kitchen & Bar, 3403 S. Lamar Blvd., Keep Austin Fed
- Clive Bar, 609 Davis supporting Colon Cancer Coalition
- CU29, 720 Brazos St., supporting St. Jude’s
- Cypress Grill, 4404 W. William Cannon, Suite L, Allies Against Slavery
- District Kitchen and Cocktails, 5900 W. Slaughter Ln. supporting Austin Children’s Services
- Drink.Well., 207 East 53rd St., supporting Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
- East Side Show Room, 1100 E 6th St., supporting Austin Pets Alive
- Four Seasons Hotel, The Lobby Lounge, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. supporting Helping Hand Home for Children
- Freedmen’s, 2402 San Gabriel St., supporting American Heart Association
- Half Step, 75 1/2 Rainey St., supporting Health Alliance for Austin Musicians
- Italic, 123 W 6th St. supporting Sustainable Food Center
- King Bee Lounge, 1906 E. 12th St. supporting Safe Place
- Living Room Bar at The W, 200 Lavaca St., supporting HRC Austin
- Midnight Cowboy, 313 East 6th St., supporting Capital Area Food Bank
- North Italia, The Domain 11506 Century Oaks Terrace supporting Lucky Dog Rescue
- Péché, 208 W. 4th St., supporting Humane Society
- Rhino Room, 1012 E. 6th St. supporting Austin Pet’s Alive
- Rio Rita, 1308 E. 6th St. supporting Safe Place
- School House Pub, 2207 Manor Rd. supporting Helping Hands Home for Children
- Searsucker, 415 Colorado St., supporting Austin Pets Alive
- Sputnik, 1300 E 6th St. supporting SafePlace
- Stay Gold, 1910 East Caesar Chavez supporting SafePlace
- Swift’s Attic, 315 Congress Ave. supporting Austin Disaster Relief Network
- The Aristocrat Lounge, 6507 Burnet Rd. supporting SafePlace
- The Bonneville, 202 W. Cesar Chavez St. supporting Austin Pets Alive
- The Gatsby, 708 E 6th St., supporting St. Jude’s
- The Hightower, 1209 East 7th St. supporting ColorCancer
- The Market, 319 Colorado St. supporting Lupus Foundation
- The Tigress, 100 W. Northloop Blvd. Unit G, supporting Austin Pets Alive
- The Townsend, 718 Congress Ave., supporting Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM)
- VOX Table, 1100 S. Lamar Blvd., supporting Austin Pets Alive
- Whisler’s, 1816 E. 6th St., supporting St. Jude Cancer Research and Children’s Hospital
- Winflo Osteria, 1315 West 6th St. supporting Barmans fund
A version of this story was originally published on CultureMap.
Disclosure: The Tigress Pub provided samples of gin and Negroni cocktails at no charge.