Negroni Week is upon us, and we couldn't be more excited. This sophisticated cocktail with a fascinating history is getting an extra dose of love from imbibers, bartenders, and restaurants this week as local mixologists join their efforts behind this annual celebration.
Asheville has been up-and-coming on the craft cocktail scene for a while now, and I think it's safe to say that we've finally arrived. With new cocktail bars opening on the daily and an increased focus on local distillers using regional, organic, and wild-crafted ingredients, Asheville has stepped into its rightful place in the cocktail renaissance. The little city that loves its beer is channeling the creativity and diversity that are community hallmarks into cocktails, and we are in love with the results.
The story behind the Negroni features Italian nobility, the roaring 20s, and one particular mixologist/genie. When Italian count Camillo Negroni paid a visit to Caffe Casoni in Florence, he wanted something a step above his usual drink of choice, the Americano (sweet vermouth, Campari, and club soda). The bartender, his friend Forsco Scarselli, replaced the club soda with gin. And thus, the Negroni, now considered a member of the Triple Crown of classic cocktails (along with the dry martini and the Manhattan), was born.
The Negroni continues to enjoy a reputation of being one of the classiest and most sophisticated cocktails around, in which the sweetness of vermouth and the floral notes of gin offset the pleasant bitterness of Campari.
Where can you try a Negroni this week? Consider stopping by Cúrate or Nightbell, where proceeds from Negroni sales will go to No Kid Hungry, a charity that works to end childhood hunger. Cúrate will have a Negroni on tap, and Nightbell will offer three variations of the libation. East Asheville's Post 70 will hold a Campari cookout on Saturday, June 10, which will feature a special menu highlighting the drink, which will include Campari-drunken chicken wings, negroni-infused chevre cheese, Campri and grapefruit aioli for hot dogs and brats, and more. Negronis, barrel-aged Negronis, and Sno-Gronis will also be available for sipping. You can also pick up your Negroni passport at any participating bar. Passports list all bars included in the 2017 Negroni week.
Want to make your own? Try out our Negritti, the Asheville Grit's spin on the Negroni. We've brought back the element of sparkling wine while still including the now-iconic ingredients to offer a longer and more refreshing summer sip.
1 1/2 oz gin (we like Hendrick's, because you might as well get the best for yourself)
1 1/2 oz Campari
1 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
juice from 1/2 orange
3-4 oz dry sparkling wine (Prosecco works well here, or you can use sparkling water to cut the alcohol)
Orange slice and maraschino cherry, to garnish
Combine first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker; shake well. Fill a wine glass or highball glass halfway with ice. Pour shaker contents over ice. Add Prosecco to the top of the glass. Stir to combine. Garnish with orange and cherry. Sip it on the porch!