Happy Hour: Ever tried a Negroni? Belly up to the bar for this summer cocktail from wine me, dine me

CINCINNATI - It's Negroni Week! Bars across the city have Negroni and Campari specials, and I've had fun this week tasting a few of them. Even better, $1 of the proceeds goes to charity, such as Save the Animals, Constella Festival, and St. Joseph's Home. 

You can celebrate (and contribute) this weekend at the following watering holes:

  • Igby’s
  • Arnold’s 
  • Lackman
  • Righteous Room
  • Kaze
  • Below Zero
  • Pavilion
  • Neons

TIP! I especially like Kaze's riff on the Boulevardier, which is a Negroni variant.

Don't want to go out, or won't make it to one of these places? You can make a Negroni at home. The featured spirit in this drink is Campari, a bitter Italian aperitif.

Every cocktail has a story, and the Negroni’s is that an Italian count wanted to strengthen his Americano (1 part Campari, one part sweet Vermouth, one part soda water) by replacing the soda water with gin.

It's not unpalatably bitter, but can take some getting used to. It lends an herbal note to the drinks, and balances well with the herbal gin and sweet vermouth. 

The Campari is mixed with gin and sweet vermouth and finished with a twist of orange. Sometimes, for variety, I like to use lime. If you substitute bourbon for gin, you have a Boulevardier. If you substitute vodka for the gin, you have a Negroski. I also like just plain Campari and soda.

This recipe, from the Savoy Cocktail Book, is very simple:

  • 1 part Campari
  • 1 part sweet Vermouth
  • 1 part Gin

Stir with ice in an old fashioned glass, and garnish with a twist of orange. It is the perfect refresher for these hot summer days.

More "Happy Hour"

(Photos by Julie Niesen Gosdin)

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