Sep 17, 2023 Drinks
This year Negroni Week is celebrating its 11th birthday. After a decade of dedicating a single drink to raising money for charity, this year is focused on the timeless bonds that exist around this iconic drink – the bond between Campari and the Negroni; the bond between Campari and the bartending community; and the bond between Negroni Week and the community.
What bond do you have with the Negroni? Why is it special for you?
It was the first cocktail my partner made for me, back in Toronto during the peak of the lockdown after we moved in together. She’s a big cocktail head and probably the first person who made me get into cocktails beyond drinking them.
Tell us about the best Negroni you ever had.
This may be a little biased due to the location, but I was in Milan having one as an aperitivo as the sun was setting by the canal – it was a perfectly balanced, classic-style Negroni and it really was one of those moments that feels hard to beat.
What is special about the Negroni and your bond with it?
It’s always going to remind me of my partner, Jessie, and that brings me comfort. The memory of watching her use a ruler to measure one out before putting the ice in when we lost our jigger will stick with me for a long time.
Do you remember your best conversation / moment involving a Negroni?
The best moment is yet to come! I’ve got my Campari and gin set up at home right now – I’m just deciding what my favorite vermouth is at the moment, and when Jessie gets back from Canada next month, there’s going to be the whole set-up waiting at the door. It’s a surprise, actually, so if this makes the paper I might not show her this bit.
How do you bond with your customers and give them a lasting impression?
Being authentic I think is key. Share a silly story, be honest, have a laugh with them if you can. If you could make someone’s day better with a few words and a good drink, why wouldn’t you?
How have you seen the Negroni change over your career? Has it grown more popular?
It’s honestly hard to say if such a foundational cocktail has changed that much. Our love of bitter things ebbs and flows a bit, though, so you’ll see the sweetness change a little. But if anything, what I’ve been enjoying most of all would be the love for infusions lately and how that naturally lends itself to such a simple cocktail. (Who doesn’t love any kind of chocolate infusion in a cocktail like this, right?)
People always have a favorite bar, drink, bartender they love to tell their friends about. What do you think makes the bond between bartenders and cocktail lovers so strong?
Bartending, but especially cocktail making, is an empathetic and collaborative process between the cocktail lover and the bartender. What people enjoy in a cocktail opens up conversations about ourselves. It’s a little window and sometimes a moment of true vulnerability to share what you like and enjoy. It’s an opportunity for new stories to be shared.
What would you like to see start, stop, change within our industry to help those strong timeless bonds continue?
I’ve spent the better part of my life in kitchens and bars and I think now more then ever we’re seeing the mental and physical health and wellbeing of the workers being centered alongside the drinks and food. For the first time in my life, I’ve been hearing the words ‘living wage’, ‘collective bargaining’ and ‘worker representation’ used by both workers and management seriously. I want to see that grow and continue; our industry needs to move forward in a healthy way if we truly want to see it blossom into something we can be proud to leave to the next generation of hospitality.
Pink peppercorn Strawberry Negroni
30ml Strawberry infused Campari
30ml homemade pink peppercorn gin
30ml Rosso Vermouth
Stir over ice and strain into old fashioned glass over large ice cube
Garnish with chocolate and popping candy brittle