If you're into bespoke cocktails, and you need to sit at the bar while your bartender rubs a tangerine peel on the rim of your glass and lights sugar cubes on fire and mixes basil with lemon juice and performs the hundreds of intriguing rituals that are part of the show, then you know all about having that one signature sip you order wherever you go.
For some, it is a Manhattan. Others ask for a Sidecar. And a passionate bunch are all about a beverage that slightly more offbeat, or at least seen less than a Martini or Cosmpolitan.
Pity, really, given its full flavor and mysterious allure. It's the Negroni, a deep pink, nearly watermelon-hued cocktail that is not watermelon-flavored in the least. It has strong and slightly bitter overtones, and all sorts of depth, and Negroni mavens are mad for it, often claiming that it is among the king of cocktails.
But the born-in-Italy gin-Campari-vermouth rosso drink, which will soon mark its centennial, takes centerstage each late spring, even over the Martinis of the world, during Negroni Week, a charitable push backed by Imbibe Magazine and Campari.
The week-long fundraiser, which began in 2013, will be observed at over two thousand bars here and beyond from June 1 through 7.
Locally, the choices are plentiful, as are the organizations receiving the love. Harlowe is serving a quartet of Negronis, including a Frozen Chocolate Negroni, and its charity? Inspire Artistic Minds. Bigfoot West is sending support to Good Shepherd Los Angeles with its Ancho Negroni and Traditional Negroni, and the Blind Pig in Rancho Santa Margarita will be raising funds for Miracles for Kids.