Nine Boston Bars for Celebrating Negroni Week
Raise a toast (and support some worthwhile charities) by sipping these spins on the classic cocktail.
Summer cocktail season is in full swing, and there’s no better way to celebrate than with an entire week dedicated to one of Italy’s greatest alcoholic exports: the Negroni. Through Sunday, June 30th, dozens of Boston-area bars are stirring glasses of the ruby-red concoction in honor of Negroni Week, an annual charity initiative that first launched in 2013 with 120 participating bars and restaurants. Since then, Negroni Week has exploded into a nation-wide event. Nearly 1,000 bars and restaurants from all across the country are currently participating, and over $2 million has been raised for various charities since its inception. (Who said nothing good can come from drinking?)
If you’re interested in imbibing to support some worthy causes, here are nine places in town to grab a seat and start sipping–plus a little background on the organizations you’ll support. (You can find the a full list of local participants here.)
This clandestine cocktail hideout is curating a list of special Negronis, including the Smoking Section, which features woody, warming Scotch whiskey made by Compass Box Distillery.
How it helps: Backbar will be sending a portion of Negroni Week profits to the WILD Foundation. The Colorado non-profit concentrates their efforts into preserving some of the world’s most vulnerable animal species and conserving the land that sustains these critters.
7 Sanborn Ct., Somerville, backbarunion.com.
Banyan Bar + Refuge
Banyan has embraced the season with a Negroni that’s fitting for the heat: the Grass Skirt, a sunny mix of pineapple Campari, tropical Tiki Gin made by Ipswich-based Privateer Rum, and sweet vermouth. Have one, then hula to your heart’s content.
How it helps: Banyan has chosen to support Outside In, a Maine charity that fights poverty and homelessness in the LGBTQIA+ community up in Portland.
553 Tremont St., Boston, 617-556-4211, banyanboston.com.
The eclectic small-plates-and-cocktails joint is joining the Negroni Week party with three interpretations that fit right in to their globally-minded bar program. First is the Osaka Negroni, which features a Japanese twist on the traditional formula; it’s made with Roku gin, a version of the spirit that’s crafted with Asian botanicals like yuzu and cherry blossoms. Next up is the Café Del Diablo, a caffeinated take on the cocktail that’s made with coffee-tinged Mezcal. Rounding out the offerings is a nod to NOLA: a Sazerac-infused Negroni called the Sazerac Boulevardier.
How it helps: A cut of the cash from Negroni sales will benefit Muttville, a Bay Area dog rescue organization that provides senior pups with food, shelter, and love.
328 Washington St., Brighton, 617-208-8698, brightonbodega.com.
Barbara Lynch’s menu-less cocktail den is stirring up traditional, faithfully-executed offerings of Negroni Week’s eponymous cocktail. Head to Drink’s industrial-chic space down in Fort Point, and you’ll also find a small but mighty lineup of snacks to accompany your sipping: think lamb nachos, mushroom hushpuppies, and beet hummus.
How it helps: A portion of the proceeds will benefit Lovin’ Spoonfuls, a Brookline-based food rescue service that delivers fresh produce to food pantries and community centers throughout Eastern Massachusetts.
348 Congress St., Boston, 617-695-1806, drinkfortpoint.com.
Doña Habana Restaurant
This vibrant and colorful Cuban lounge and restaurant in the South End will serve a so-dubbed Negroni Maracucho, crafted with Santa Teresa Rum and cream sherry. Pro-tip: Scarf some booze-soaking Cubanitos while you’re gulping these down.
How it helps: Doña Habana is supporting the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation, a non-profit that provides financial and legal assistance to workers in the restaurant industry who straddle the poverty line.
811 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, 617-708-1182, donahabanarestaurant.com.
This Kenmore Square stalwart has dreamed up two unique riffs for Negroni Week. There’s the Negroni Milk Punch, a fragrant blend of Tanqueray 10 gin, strawberry-infused Campari, Lillet Blanc, fennel, and citrus milk punch. You can also sail by for the Yacht Club, which consists of Privateer Tiki Rum, Campari, and Dolin Blanc vermouth, finished with a sweet kiss of pineapple. In addition to serving these specially-crafted cocktails all week, Eastern Standard will be hosting a blowout to celebrate the end of Negroni Week, on Sunday, June 30 at 7 p.m.
How it helps: A cut of Eastern Standard’s Negroni sales will benefit the Surfrider Foundation, a Cali-based charity that aims to preserve the environmental sanctity of coastlines all around the globe.
528 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-532-9100, easternstandardboston.com.
The South End gastropub will be offering the Scarlet Witch, a frighteningly good take on the Negroni that’s made with fruity fig-infused gin and strawberry Campari, topped off with sweet vermouth. A few of these, and you’ll be speaking in tongues.
How it helps: The Gallows will donate one dollar from every Negroni sold to Lambda Legal, a non-profit firm that fights to ensure full civil rights for LGBTQ individuals and those living with HIV/AIDS.
1395 Washington St., Boston, 617-425-0200, thegallowsboston.com.
This cocktail haven—presided over by spirits gurus Jackson Cannon and Jared Sadoian—is doling out glasses of a sun-kissed Negroni called the Jungle Bird. In addition to the usual suspects of gin, vermouth, and Campari, this riff on the drink features shots of pineapple and black rum, plus a dash of pineapple syrup. And take note: Campari will be highlighted at the Sunday, June 30 installment of the bar’s summer-long “Sunday Swizzle” series, which always brings a different guest bartender to the patio.
How it helps: A cut of the Negroni sales at the Hawthorne will go to Children of Restaurant Employees (CORE), a non-profit that provides financial support to the families of people working in every sector of the food industry.
500A Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-532-9150, thehawthornebar.com.
This upscale Japanese spot nestled in the Financial District (which, by the way, just landed on our 2019 Best of Boston list), has developed a traditional Negroni—coined the One and Only—that consists of exquisite expressions of each component: Nikka Coffey Gin and Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth join the Campari in the mix. Another variant, named Dark & Delicious, features the addition of nutty and bitter Amaro Don Ferne.
How it helps: Kamakura is sending a portion of their Negroni funds to the James Beard Foundation, the culinary catalyst that nurtures young chefs and provides scholarships and grants to promising individuals all across the food and drink industry.
150 State St, Boston, 617-377-4588, kamakuraboston.com.