Opportunity to Change the World With 3 Ingredients, One City at a Time.
#NegroniWeek is in full swing June 5-11 and Orange County’s commencement at Mesa restaurant, Costa Mesa, featured the summers most insta-grammable potion. Attendees paid 10 dollars for eight 1-ounce samplers crafted for the concours. Mesa held a blind taste test for judges and handed out ballots at the door for visitors to voice their opinion on the superlative aperitif. Second-time attendee, Steve Torres drum rolled his hands to the beat of the DJ as the crowd started buzzing. The obscure drink brings devotees that are willing to show-out under Mesa’s swanky decor. “This event brings together experienced bartenders from SoCal to put a spin on a classic. This year there’s a mix of new people and returners,” Torres said.
Each bar will be donating a minimum of 25 dollars to the charity Inspire Artistic Minds and the winner received an Experience Education Scholarship. Participants were allowed to be as creative as possible employing Campari, Botanist gin and vermouth as their base, and adding presentation and pizzazz to close the deal.
Inspire Artistic Minds
Inspire Artistic Minds is a community culture project which gives Experience Education Scholarships to artisans in the taste, sight and sound fields of visual arts, libations and culinary passions. Offering scholarships for education, classes and growing local community and small businesses, this is the first time Inspire Artistic Minds, a sub-division of 100Eats, has gone worldwide, “This is a journey representing the 100 people that chose this charity. We’re excited about 100 sponsors picking our charity which allows us to go global. We’re (Artistic Minds) in eight countries, 18 states and four continents,” Sylvia Navarro, Director of Operations said.
Negroni is a high-test Italian aperitif dating back to 1919. Meant to be served before a meal, Negroni contains only three ingredients: Dry Gin, Vermouth and Campari. Combined in equal parts over ice this drink has an alcohol by volume ratio of 40 percent. In 2011, Campari revived the drink to celebrate the company’s 150th anniversary. The rejuvenation of bitters and gin in the early 2000’s propelled Campari to buy Wild Turkey distillery, allowing them to procure all fixings of the Negroni. Campari’s Negroni Week has more than 7,000 bars all over the world competing for the best aperitif and most dollars raised for charity. Last year, Negroni Week raised 400,000 dollars for charities. A complete list of global participants and charities can be found at negroniweek.com. You can honor this vintage drink all week at any of the bars below or even try your hand at reinventing this classic at home. To contribute to Inspire Artistic Minds, donations may be made here.
The Line-Up + Stand-Out Feature
Ecco Pizzeria – Isabella Martinez – Miami Negroni: Hibiscus with chocolate shavings and Himalayan sea salt.
The Blind Pig– Ryan Autry – Attack of the Killer Negroni: Thai basil with mozzarella and tomato
Mesa – Jordan Kutchma – Gladys in Cherry: Foam consistency topped with Campari sprinkles, cherry and chocolate shot like an oyster.
Hopscotch – Jose Zepeda – L.A. Sangroni: Strawberry compote with rose wine.
Beer Belly – Sherwood Souzankari – Moonage Daydream: Blue pearl powder with a Dr. Pepper reduction.
The Blind Rabbit – Robert Adamson – Mother’s Ruin: Vanilla infused Campari and Earl Grey infused gin.
Dry Society – Andrew Parish – Café Mez Negroni: Coffee infused vermouth and mezcal.
Vaca – David Saenz – Best in Show: Toasted pecan bitters and clove studded grapefruit.
And the Winner Is…
Isabella Martinez of Ecco Pizzeria took home the prize with her Miami Negroni. Isabella states, “This drink is a tribute to my childhood. I’m Latina and love Jamaica and this drink has Latin inspiration.” The Miami Negroni has a tangy sweetness from hibiscus flowers and a muted bitterness from dark chocolate. “Miami is a destination that never gets old and let’s be honest, neither does Negroni,” Martinez said.
—Salute! Cin Cin!