Sedona: Five Ways to Celebrate the Negroni
Campari and Imbibe Magazine have once again joined forces for the fourth annual Negroni Week, which takes place on Monday, June 6th through Sunday, June 12th. Participating venues will donate a portion of the cost of featured Negronis to a charity of their choice. If you're a fan of bold, spirit-forward libations, it's time to try a Negroni, and what better setting to enjoy this ruby-hued cocktail than surrounded by the soaring magnificence of Red Rock Country? A combination of London dry gin, vermouth rosso, and Campari delivers a polarizing cocktail with a harmonious balance of sweet and bitter. Here you'll find five variations of this Italian aperitivo, ranging from classic to creative.
Relaxing at Enchantment Resort with its prime location nestled within Boynton Canyon ensures you'll be surrounded by majestic views as you sip and savor. Order a classic Negroni from bartender Sean Augard and you'll be treated to an elegant rendition served up with the traditional elements of a clean London-style dry gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. A second feature will be the Enchantment Negroni, a refreshing variation embellished with grapefruit sorbet and garnished with grapefruit peel. The charity they've chosen to support is the Sedona Community Food Bank.
Another favorite spot - Amara Resort - boasts the talent of Ardi Dulaku at SaltRock Kitchen (see prior interview here). His inventive SaltRock Negroni is made with smoky Vida mezcal, Beefeater 24 with its notes of green tea and lemon peel, cream sherry instead of vermouth to add a mellow sweetness, and Campari. Stirred and served over ice, it's finished with a garnish of grilled lemon.
I can't think of a better way to cool down on a warm Arizona day than with Ardi's Blended Negroni. This clever frozen concoction of exclusive Kimpton-strength Aviation gin, Campari, and Lillet Rouge, a fortified wine, is smoothly blended and crowned with a bruléed orange slice. SaltRock Kitchen will be donating a portion of the cost of both their featured Negronis to the Arizona Humane Society.
Leave the spectacular vistas of sandstone cliffs and ensconse yourself in the lush beauty of L'Auberge de Sedona on the banks of Oak Creek to enjoy a Negroni No. 9. Here at Etch, head bartender Alex Sunseri rotates the components in his nine-ingredient Negroni to experiment with unique flavor combinations. His most recent batch includes three white vermouths, three amari, and three gins - a saffron gin and two locally-distilled Arizona gins. Look for a barrel-aged Negroni to debut soon. "I enjoy the alchemy of cocktail mixing and the effect of wood on flavors is profound," notes Alex. In the works is a Negroni No.9 flight which will include five different batches of No.9 and a sample of Alex' oak-aged version.
While a Negroni is a favorite to order anywhere I spy a bottle of Campari on the back bar, it's especially fitting to enjoy this cocktail (allegedly invented in Florence) at an Italian restaurant. At Chef Lisa Dahl's Pisa Lisa, order a Negroni made with Bullldog gin, Cinzano's special-edition 1757 vermouth, and Campari garnished with an orange slice and lemon twist. I suggest following it with my favorite wood-fired pizza in Sedona (try the Primo Portobello with sausage or the Funghi with gorgonzola and caramelized onions) and ending with a scoop of flavorful gelato.