Nine Places to Celebrate the Negroni
The fourth annual Negroni Week, which puts a spotlight on my favorite cocktail, takes place on Monday, June 6th through Sunday, June 12th. Presented by Campari and Imbibe Magazine, its aim is to encourage participating venues to donate a portion of their proceeds to charity. In its inaugural year of 2013, over 100 venues participated, with this number growing to 3,500 around the globe in 2015. If you're a fan of bold, spirit-forward libations, it's time to try a Negroni, traditionally a combination of London dry gin, vermouth rosso, and Campari, a distinctive bitter liqueur. As I've written in this brief history, named after Count Camillo Negroni, the Negroni is a classic Italian aperitivo that I love for its harmonious balance of sweet and bitter. Here are nine Phoenix restaurants and cocktail lounges where you can enjoy a great Negroni, many of which are participating in Negroni Week.
At Crudo, co-owner, award-winning beverage director and certified sommelier Micah Olson is renowned in the industry. His Arizoni created for Negroni Week will be supporting C-CAP Arizona. Celebrating Arizona artisans, it features Campari, AZ Distilling Co. Commerce Gin, sweet vermouth, fresh grapefruit juice, and AZ Bitters Lab Orange Sunshine bitters.
Gertrude's is a special spot to savor a Negroni. Set within the Desert Botanical Garden encompassing 140 acres of Papago Park, you can sip on this colorful cocktail surrounded by the natural beauty of the Sonoran desert.
Southern Rail's menu boasts Southern inspiration and an award-winning wine list, but they also are known for their craft cocktails and their Negroni is part of that roster.
Counter Intuitive in Old Town Scottsdale has created quite a buzz both locally and nationally with their unique concept of rotating themes. Currently, you'll be transported to Tijuana's Agua Caliente Racetrack in 1929 during Prohibition. Cleverly using the Negroni as its base, the creative Little Nymph is then shaken up with amontillado sherry to recognize the Spanish influence in Mexico, watermelon, cherry tomato juice, and fresh lime.
I first met Robert Porter, 2016 Arizona Star Bartender winner, over a Negroni at the Thirsty Camel at the beautiful Phoenician Resort so, naturally, this cocktail lounge with its scenic views is a favorite of mine. Here, Robert stirs Campari, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, and Nolet's gin before straining over a Phoenician-embossed ice ball and garnishing with a large orange peel.
At Okra Cookhouse & Cocktails, the featured cocktail is called the Passion Project. Order this Negroni variation, and you'll be served a delicious combination of Campari, Beefeater gin, sweet vermouth, passion fruit syrup, and fresh lemon. Okra will be donating a portion of each drink cost to support C-CAP Arizona during Negroni Week.
It's no secret that I love everything about acclaimed Bitter and Twisted Cocktail Parlour (as I've mentioned here) in downtown Phoenix. In fact, I bonded with owner and Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame Mixologist of the Year Ross Simon seven years ago over Negronis at Prado. Since it is also one of his favorite libations, a portion of the proceeds from all the Negronis on the menu will go to Halo Rescue. This includes the classic B & T House Negroni, the Sbagliato with prosecco, the Negroni First Class with Old Raj gin, and all four infused Negronis (rose, jasmine, Earl Grey and, my favorite, chamomile).
As its origins trace back to Florence, nothing is more appropriate than to enjoy a Negroni at an Italian restaurant. In my Northwest Valley neighborhood, you'll find me at Pomo Pizzeria in Glendale with one in my hand (I've been known to be greeted with "would you like your Negroni?").
The newest addition to midtown Phoenix is Stock & Stable. With industry star and former Kimpton Bar Ambassador Steph Teslar leading the beverage program, you're guaranteed superlative cocktails abound, including a perfect Negroni.
You can follow along with me around town as I enjoy Negronis at other favorites, such as Franco's Italian Caffe, Marcellino's, The Gladly, Prado, and more on my Instagram hashtag #RubeeNegroni.