Editor’s note: More bars have been added since this article was published. We’ve added them to the list below.
The Negroni cocktail is simple and refreshing — especially during hot and humid summer months. One part gin, one part vermouth and one part Campari, the drink has Italian roots and is often considered an apéritif.
This year, 15 Louisville bars are joining an international effort to celebrate the classic cocktail and raise money for charity as well, appropriately titled Negroni Week, which runs June 6-12. Sponsored by Imbibe Magazine and Campari, the event began in 2013 and has been growing ever since. It grew from 100 participating venues around the world the first year to 3,500 last year, raising more than $320,000 in 2015 alone.
The premise seems as simple as the drink. To participate, a bar or restaurant has to register through the website, detail their take on the Negroni, and pick a charity to donate at least $1 from each sale to. So far, 15 local bars have decided to participate, and their variations range from frozen Negronis to the Boulevardier, which substitutes whiskey or bourbon for gin.
Kevin Bryan, owner of Big Bar, tells Insider he wanted to participate because he heard from a friend how significant it was in other cities, and he especially liked the charitable aspect. Big Bar will donate $2 from each Negroni sold to Fund for the Arts.
“Apparently it’s a big deal in some cities,” says Bryan. “We missed it last year, but this year I wanted to do it. We are going to have fun with it!”
The Big Bar Negroni will be a frozen drink made with Death’s Door Gin, Campari, sweet vermouth and fresh fruit juices. He understands that some bourbon drinkers might be shy to jump on board the gin train, but the refreshing and light qualities alone make it worth a try.
“Negronis can be an acquired taste, but with temperatures reaching 90 degrees, our frozen ones are going to be hard to resist,” he says. “I encourage even the most staunch bourbon drinker to try one.”
Below is a list of participating bars, their Negroni offerings and charities of choice. Negroni Week runs June 6-12.
- 8UP — Classic Negroni, Count’s Negroni (with Bombay Sapphire and Cocchi Barolo Chinato), Classic Boulevardier (with Wild Turkey 101), King’s Boulevardier (with Maker’s Mark Private Select) — Autism Speaks
- Against the Grain — $8 Classic Negroni, $8 Boulevardier — APRON Inc.
- Big Bar — Frozen Negroni — Fund for the Arts
- Butchertown Grocery — Classic Negroni — Home of the Innocents
- Doc’s Cantina — Classic Negroni, Legend of Gusano — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana
- Doc Crow’s — $9 Beefeater Negroni, $9 Old Forester Boulevardier — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana
- El Camino — Classic Negroni — Kentucky Refugee Ministries
- Fontleroy’s — White Mezcal Negroni — APRON Inc.
- Galaxie — Classic Negroni — American Cancer Society
- Garage Bar — Classic Negroni — New Roots
- Joy Luck — Classic Negroni, Barrel-Aged Boulevardier — Kentucky Humane Society
- La Chasse — Classic Negroni — House of Ruth
- Meta — $8 Classic Negroni, “Light Bulb” Negroni with Bols Genever — Kosair Bravehearts
- Monnik Beer Co. — Classic Negroni, Cherry Waves Negroni — Med Water
- The Post — Classic Negroni — Kentucky Humane Society
- Red Yeti Brewing Co. — Classic Negroni — St. Jude Children’s Hospital
- Rye — Classic Negroni, plus seven other variations — Kentucky Humane Society
- Silver Dollar — Classic Negroni — Kentucky Refugee Ministries