From New York to San Francisco.
You might not need a reason to drink a Negroni—the simple and satisfying combination of Campari, gin, and vermouth—but in case you do, Negroni Week is coming up June 5 to 11. The seven-day celebration, now in its fifth year, has a more honorable cause than getting you happily tipsy: when you buy a Negroni at participating bars during the week, part of the proceeds go to charities. More than 6,000 bars participate in the event, which makes your Negroni venue choices almost endless—but here are simply the best, bartenders say.
Marta, New York
When Pernod Ricard mixologist Kevin Denton craves a slice of pizza pie with his Negroni—"which is, like, every day," he admits—he heads to Marta inside The Redbury Hotel. "Their bottled version is a perfect companion to a carbonara pie," he claims. "The Negroni is such a sturdy cocktail. You can over-dilute it; pre-batch it; I've even had a shaken one that wasn't bad. It's kind of indestructible. But what makes me love this version is that they make a perfect batch and store it at the optimum temperature." Marta; 29 E. 29th St., New York City
Typically made with gin and Campari, the Negroni at The Mixing Room—dubbed the Pacific Standard—is stirred with tequila and Aperol instead. "This one is particularly good because the ingredients are a little unusual," explains Amanda Gunderson, Altos Tequila's west coast brand ambassador. "The sweetness of the Aperol pairs beautifully with the agave notes in Altos [tequila]." Gunderson suggests sipping a Negroni here before heading out to a show. "It's a lovely place to enjoy a cocktail before seeing a performance at the Microsoft Theater or a game at the Staples Center," she says. The Mixing Room; 900 W. Olympic Blvd., L.A.
Amor y Amargo, New York
With a name like Amor y Amargo, it should come as no surprise that this East Village staple also serves its stand-out Negroni, the Di Pomplemo, with tequila. "It combines Olmeca Altos tequila with Lillet, Citron Sauvage, Aperol, and Bittermen's Hopped Grapefruit Bitters," says
Eric Job, east coast brand ambassador for Olmeca Altos. Adding to this Negroni's cool factor is the fact that "the barkeeps at Amor y Amargo build it in a keg to add a little carbonation," Job adds. "It is served on the rocks, garnished with a grapefruit twist—beautiful, delicious, and thirst quenching." Amor y Amargo; 443 E. 6th St., New York City
You might come to this award-winning bar for any boozy beverage. (For one, it's bar top doesn't have a spirit in sight, making it a pretty unique setting.) But you shouldn't miss the Negroni served here, says Pamela Wiznitzer, president of the U.S. Bartender's Guild and creative director of Seamstress NY. "The beauty of ordering a Negroni at this bar is that the drink is crafted in their bar stations and just appears out of nowhere—most likely in some of the most unique glassware seen in bars," she says. Drink; 348 Congress St., Boston
Mother's Ruin, New York
Forget a regular ol' Negroni; during Negroni Week—and only during Negroni Week—you can sip on a Negroni slushie at Mother's Ruin. "I have looked forward to it every year since I first tried it three years ago," says Bob Wagner, bar manager of Rosario. It's so delicious, he says, that it's downright dangerous. But beyond the drink's unique appeal, "Mother's Ruin is a fantastic neighborhood bar with delicious food, the kitchen is open very late, and there is a complete lack of pretention," Wagner says. Mother's Ruin; 18 Spring St., New York
For Mia Mastroianni, head bartender at Soho House West Hollywood, the Negroni is too simple a drink to really screw up. So when deciding where to sit down and sip one, "it comes down to atmosphere," she says. Cecconi's "is a modern day classic Italian restaurant, which might be the next best thing to actually sipping my favorite aperitivo in Italy." But as simple as the restaurant's Negroni may be, it's nothing to sneeze at either. "What makes the Negroni served here so special is the care that they put into making it," Mastroianni says, "as well as the restaurant's attention to detail." Cecconi; 8764 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood
The Violet Hour, Chicago
At The Violet Hour, "the bartenders are very particular about the little things," according to Benjamin Schiller, director of the 50/50 Group. And that's just one reason why the Negroni here is so very good. "The entire execution is thought out," he explains, "from pouring it in a chilled coupe to stirring the proper amount with the right amount of ice, serving with the right amount of Campari and using an orange zest that lets the oils sit just perfectly in the cocktail." The Violet Hour; 1520 N. Damen Ave., Chicago
Mayahuel, New York
When you stop by this East Village spot, ask if owner Philip Ward is behind the bar, says bartender Gaz Regan—and if he is, order his Cornwall Negroni. "It's [Ward's] take on the classic, and the most fabulous aspect of this version of the drink is the way in which he balances the ingredients," Regan explains. "There are two types of sweet vermouth in his Negroni, plus gin and Campari, of course, and Ward manages to blend all the ingredients together in perfect harmony. "Mayahuel; 304 E. 6th St., New York
Bix, San Francisco
While the Negroni served here is of the classic variety—made from Campari, dry gin, and sweet vermouth—it's "the setting that makes for the extra-special ingredient," says Jacques Bezuidenhout, partner at Forgery and Wildhawk bars. How so? "You feel like you have been transported back to another time," he explains. "When the piano is playing, that Negroni tastes like another time and place. It's the room, atmosphere, music, and the old school bartenders make for a delicious Negroni or two—or more." Bix; 56 Gold St., San Francisco
Libertine Social, Las Vegas
Ask The Modern Mixologist author Tony Abou-Ganim the key to an incredible Negroni, and he'll tell you it's all in the details. At Libertine Social, inside Mandalay Bay, the classic drink has all the right details: "It's prepared following the traditional recipe, stirred over Kold Draft ice, and strained into the perfect Old Fashioned glass and a crystal clear two-by-two cube with just the right amount of dilution and a freshly cut swath of orange peel," Abou-Ganim describes. Plus, he promises, "the drink only seems to improve in the glass and I always end up having a second one." Libertine Social; 3950 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas