Local Restaurants Celebrate Negroni Week

Where to score deals on this ideal hot weather aperitif

If you ask us, summer in Texas is negroni season. This might not be an intuitive statement at first glance – Lone Star, the signature drink of lakeside picnics and backyard barbecues, is probably the first bev that comes to mind – but when you consider the cocktail’s history as a hot weather aperitif in various sunny European nations it makes more sense.

Uncle Nicky's (Courtesy of Consumable Content)

The negroni is a drink perfectly suited to slow, unspooling afternoons in the summer sunshine, the damp heat surrounding you in a languorous haze. It’s old school iteration, the Americano, was James Bond’s drink of choice before he switched to martinis. Negronis are as classic as classic gets, as at home at aperitivo hour in Rome as they are on a hotel balcony in Pamplona, a true craft cocktail in the oldest school tradition.

Still, it’s not the storied history – allegedly coined in a Florentine bar around a century ago, at the request of a count who wanted something more substantial than soda water with his evening Campari – that draws us to our favorite warm weather tipple, it’s the taste. The bitterness, once you’re used to it, is radically refreshing, a great way to jump start your digestive system before (or after) an evening of barbecue, or to wake yourself up before wading into an ice cold swimming hole for an afternoon dip. Negronis harken back to a time before air conditioning, when the best way to cool yourself down was from the inside. We’re definitely glad this is no longer the case, but just because we have modern methods at our disposal doesn’t mean it’s not fun to experiment with the old ways once in a while!

Negronis aren’t the easiest cocktails to get into. Campari can be a little intimidating at first, with that famous aromatic bitterness, and when you add gin to the mix the results seem even more radically undrinkable. But stick with it, kid: The intensity is part of what makes them so special. This isn’t a drink you can mindlessly consume. One, it seems to us, is about the perfect number when it comes to negronis, but once you get used to the flavor, that one goes down easy.

This, of course, is why we’re so excited about Negroni Week. Starting on Monday, June 24, bars, restaurants, and retailers across the world will be celebrating our favorite summertime cocktail with a week of specials designed to raise funds for the charity of their choice. Over 60 bars and restaurants in Austin have signed up so far, with more to come, each of which will be using our thirst as a force for good, raising funds for charities that they believe in.

It’s Italian Cucina has created Un Affare Negroni, a classic negroni infused with cinnamon smoke and pepped up with a touch of espresso, giving you a little extra energy to play with the pups at PAWS, their charitable partner.

At tropical dream bar She’s Not Here, they’ll be raising funds for Mercy Corps.

Home Slice North Loop (Photo by Kirsten Kaiser)

The Roosevelt Room is going full gourmet by partnering with the James Beard Foundation. Bonus: The bar transforms into a lavish casino on Thursday, June 27, to celebrate its fourth anniversary, with Craps, Roulette, Blackjack, and Poker tables and all profits from purchased chips will benefit the Austin Children’s Shelter.

The Butterfly Bar is leaning into their artsy back yard vibes by fundraising for Inspiring Artistic Minds.

Whisler's has three choices – The Classic; The Count (equal parts gin, Cocchi Americano, and Campari; strawberry soda served over ice with a spritz of soda, orange peel); Oaxacan Fire (equal parts Mezcal, Campari, 1/2 Cocchi Torino, 1/2 Cynar, served over a large cube with an orange slice dipped in Chapulinas).

Both Uncle Nicky’s and Juniper are donating $1 from each negroni sold to SAFE Alliance Austin. Uncle Nicky’s kicks things off with a party on Monday, June 24, 3- 6pm, complete with a Negroni fountain and complimentary aperitivo bites. Uncle Nicky's will offer a menu of five specialty negronis all week; Juniper will feature its Chef’s Brand New Cadillac Negroni.

Home Slice North Loop is offering their draft Negroni Danza (Campari, Aviation Gin, and Del Professore Vermouth Rosso), throughout the week for $8, benefiting No Kid Hungry, whose goal is ending childhood hunger.

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