If you’ve been on social media this past week you’ve probably heard of a little thing called Negroni Week. I first came to know about it during a USBG meeting when our local chapter vice president asked for Volunteers to head up the drive. Birmingham’s own Queen of the Cocktail Steva Casey took the reigns of the project and boy did it yield amazing results. The idea for the event was each chapter would sell Negroni’s and donate a dollar from each to the local charity of choice. Some of Birmingham’s best bars signed on to participate with funds raised going to our own Jimmy Hale Mission. I got around and sucked up as many Negroni’s as the wallet would allow and would like present to you my findings below.
Mike Tobey-Mckenzie of Octane had one hell of a special I call the Tobigroni. The Genever really adds a rich malty body to a refreshing, herbal, young orange flavor. The mix of Campari and Cappelletti was pretty inspired as well to add depth and variance. Mike himself is always a perfect host at his bar with well made creative drinks and great coffee on hand as well.
by Mike Tobey-Mckenzie
1 oz Bols Genever
1 oz Campari
½ oz Cappelletti
½ oz Cocchi Red
Stir with ice and strain serving up in a chilled cocktail glass then garnish with a flamed peel of orange.
William Hamrick of Hot and Hot is one of my favorite people and a real dynamite bartender to boot. As is usual the restaurant was jumping busy when I came in. Still he found time to shake my hand and make me something special for Negroni week. His Tikagroni featured 10 Cane rum, Saint Germain, Campari, Cocchi, cantaloupe, grenadine, and angostura. With a custom Tiki mug that really made me grin. I’m tweaking his drink for a fun spin I hope to be able to show you all next month after I do a few restocks. It was a sweet delicious treat with enough bitter to keep some balance, the cantaloupe really wowed me. I never thought melon could play so well with Campari and vermouth but the combination was inspired and crazy good. Hats off to Hamrick.
Carrigan’s Public House is a newer spot than many, but blessed with Eric Bennet. It’s a big attractive room with a fun bar and tasty vittles. Their Negroni was on point but what really blew me away was Eric’s spin on the classic. A wonderful aroma of sweet mint and light cocoa along with strawberries and the dry minerality of the cremant greeted one’s nostril. Bubbly red berry with a light touch of mild vinegar fold into a lovely chalky mineral note that fills out with rosemary and sweet strawberry. The Heartbeat was a most lovely drink and I pine to enjoy it again.
Certainly I must take time to mention our hostess with the mostess. Steva Casey of Veranda was very kind to give her time to Chapter and Charity alike to put together such a wonderful week of barhopping. Veranda is a fun location and Steva holds court affably greeting and conversing with customers. Her spin on the Negroni had light wisps of green smoke that melded with flavors of fresh cut wood, arugala, pepper, cherry and rich pomegranate. I proudly present to you her cocktail below.
Heaven Help Us
by Steva Casey
1 oz Mezcal
1 oz Punt e Mes
½ oz Pama
½ oz Marsala
Stir vigorously and strain into a rocks glass topping with a large globe of ice and garnish with a peel of orange.
Of course the entire event was capped off with a big party at Collins bar. The place was packed as Steva and Will Hamrick served Negroni’s to a thirsty crowd. I think the Frozen Kingston Negroni might be the next big thing. That party alone raised $600 dollars for a great local charity. I’m sorry to other local spots my wallet and schedule wouldn’t allow me to drop in on. I do know that new local hotspot Paramount did a bang up classic Negroni themselves for the event. Until Next Time….
“You get Hammered America” – JFL