Where to Drink for Negroni Week in Orange County
This year, Negroni Week is June 1-7. Imbibe and Campari have teamed up with bars and restaurants around the world for this one week with proceeds from Negroni sales going to each bar’s charity. Like last year, many Orange County bars have designated Inspire Artistic Minds as their charity. IAM gives scholarships to people in the hospitality industry furthering their education in all things delicious.
Here’s a round up of some of the best places to get your Campari + gin + sweet vermouth cocktail. Starting off at Anepalco’s Cafe in Orange, the restaurant is actually part of a hotel and surprises with excellent chef-driven food and craft cocktails.
For Negroni Week, Anepalco’s will offer 7 different Negroni variation, 8 if you count the traditional as well. It’s not just a matter of replacing the base spirit of gin with some other spirit. For instance, the beer Negroni has IPA, mezcal, Campari and mole bitters. The French-Mexican Negroni has Ilegal mezcal, Green Chartreuse, Ancho Reyes chile liqueur and Campari. Other riffs include pisco, white, amaro and tequila. I noticed Anepalco’s had a bunch of bottled cocktails and they have a strong barrel-aged cocktails program. It’s no surprise then they’re offering a barrel-aged Negroni as well.
Be sure to visit the Anepalco’s location on Chapman Avenue as the Main Street one is not participating in Negroni Week. Full review of the food coming soon!
Over at popular Mesa in Costa Mesa, they’re offering the traditional Negroni and a special white Negroni with strawberry and rosemary infused gin and Suze. I say go for both! After all, part of the proceeds go to charity.
725 Baker St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626 — (714) 557-6700
Over at Twenty Eight in Irvine, two Negronis will be on offer including the White Negroni (gin, Cointreau, Gran Classico, dry vermouth with a Lillet blanc wash topped with lemon ginger bitters). The more traditional Campari-based Negroni adds in a bit of creme de pamplemousse (grapefruit) as well as smoked orange bitters.
I couldn’t resist noshing on some spicy pork wontons while I was at Twenty Eight. I’d love to return for a full meal soon. Their brunch looks great with tasty white sangria.
19530 Jamboree Rd., Irvine, CA 92612 — (949) 852-2828
At Anaheim’s speakeasy, The Bind Rabbit, I tried a couple of Negroni riffs including one with aged gin, Campari and Lillet Rouge instead of sweet vermouth. This is a pretty nice drink to sit among the literary greats.
Or go classy with the Genever variation. Blind Rabbit swapped out the gin with Bols Genever, a maltier spirit. It pairs well with Campari and also some Gran Classico rounds it out. Check out my post on how to get into this clandestine destination inside the Anaheim Packing House.
Also at the Anaheim Packing House is Ecco Pizza Shoppe. They’re offering a Negroni riff as well as the classic Negroni. In bar terms, adding a bit of liqueur or absinthe is making it “fancy.” So here is your Fancy Negroni with Luxardo Maraschino. It evens out the bitterness and those who like bitter but prefer Aperol over Campari should give this a shot.
440 S Anaheim Blvd., No 209-B, Anaheim, CA 92805 –(714) 817-7323
Chef Amar Santana’s acclaimed restaurant Broadway in Laguna Beach is welcoming Negroni Week with a pair of drinks. Besides the classic Negroni, try a Boulevardier which is a whiskey Negroni. Swapping out gin for Angel’s Envy whiskey, this Boulevardier was quite tasty and surprisingly light colored for a whiskey cocktail.
We had many wonderful bites so a full review is coming soon!
328 Glenneyre St., Laguna Beach, CA 92651 — (949) 715-8234
At Social, they’re working on a super stellar riff on the Negroni that’ll be available during Negroni Week. In the meantime, I tried an excellent rendition with Bontanist gin, Campari and Punt e Mes (one of my favorite vermouths).
Social Costa Mesa
512 W 19th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627 — (949) 642-2425
For this bar crawl dubbed Tour de Negroni, I tried 12 Negroni riffs which I recommend you do over the course of a week. C’mon, you got 7 days to give to charity. Now where are you going to start first?
© The Minty 2015