Everyone loves a good cocktail-oriented celebration. It’s even better when that celebration supports wonderful causes. Back in 2013, Imbibe magazine created a celebration that combines the legacy of one of the most famous classic cocktails with charitable giving. It was then that Negroni Week was born. A tagline is typically three to seven words long, but the simple two words Negroni Week resonate across the world.
The Negroni cocktail is a simple one. Made from equal ratios of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, the spirit forward, stirred cocktail is a marvelously bitter delight. Loved by cocktail enthusiasts of all ages, the Negroni is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. With between 71% and 73% of Millennials being drinkers of spirits, wine, beer, etc. Negroni Week is a well-targeted and marketed celebration. Here’s how it works.
Every June, for a week, establishments across the world stir classic Negronis and innumerable variations of the classic cocktail. Partnered with the Campari brand, participating establishments donate portions of their Negroni sales to charities of their choice. What began with 120 establishments has since blossomed into more than 12,000 participating places that have raised more than $2 million for charities.
There isn’t much to it, either. As a bar or restaurant, you simply go to the Negroni Week website, select a charity from their list of charity partners, make an initial donation, then return after Negroni Week and donate again. Establishments of all sizes participate, from massive hotels to dive bars to cocktail lounges. The Negroni transcends boundaries for its simplicity, yet Campari, a particularly stringent ingredient can be decidedly intense for many palates. This brings the art of mixing Negroni variations into the spotlight.
But, the cocktails are merely a part of Negroni Week’s intent. One bar in Boston, the Cambridge Bistro is using their Negroni Week to support the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation, a charity that raises awareness for the support of mental health, substance abuse, fair pay, gender and racial equity, and social justice for restaurant workers. In 2016, there were 91,503 workplace discrimination charges in the United States, a number that, unfortunately, continues to grow. They’re especially prevalent in the service industry, too.
As a whole, this brings the restaurant/bar industry into the light. It’s markedly difficult for regular employees to have a voice that’s heard against what are often global corporations. In 1962, about 11.5% of civil cases went to trial, now that number is down to 1%. Imagine filing a civil complaint against a multinational, multibillion-dollar restaurant conglomerate. It’s exactly as difficult, expensive, and time-consuming as you think. Charities like this look out for the people who make an establishment.
“I wouldn’t change it for a thing, but unfortunately, a lot of people get taken advantage of in this industry. This foundation hits home the most for me for what they are doing to bring justice to people who are working grueling 12-plus hour shifts to put food on the table,” said bar owner Christopher Keith on being in the industry since 14 years old.
It lends a little more perspective to the vast majority of people who don’t understand what it is to be in such an industry. And that’s just one of the charities. As you can imagine, there are many that directly support industry workers in a similar light.
When Negroni Week concludes on the 30th, it’s important to remember that charity shouldn’t. Pop onto the Negroni Week website and look for participating establishments near you. Get your self a Negroni, have a sip, and ask your bartender what causes they’re passionate about supporting.