Negroni Week is a real holiday or, if not, at least it raises real money for charitable causes. It started Monday and runs through this Sunday (June 5–11) so you have ample time to join the fun. Luckily, with the SF Peninsula’s craft cocktail scene flaring up, plenty of local bars and restaurants are joining in.
While the classic drink has but three ingredients (Campari, gin, vermouth), we found a few that are trying out some new ideas. Crazy ideas. Here are the ones we think are worth checking out.
Vina Enoteca — Palo Alto
This still-new Italian restaurant inside the Stanford Barn is serving up two non-traditional drinks to celebrate Negroni Week. The Oscarino combines artichoke-infused Campari, herbed Cocchi vermouth and walnut-infused London dry gin. The Messico and Nuvole is Campari, fresh-squeezed grapefruit, chili syrup, tequila and mezcal. Both are $14.
// vinaenoteca.com //
The Oxford — Sunnyvale
This British gastropub makes it Negroni Month and donates a dollar to the No Kid Hungry Foundation when you sip one of the drinks below. Sure, you can have a classic negroni but try their Bluejay with Fidencio mezcal, grapefruit juice, lime, lager and bitters or the Lonesome Dove, made with strawberry-infused mezcal, vermouth, Campari and bitters. All $10.
// theoxfordca.com //
Pausa Bar & Cookery — San Mateo
While Pausa sports an imaginative bar menu, chef owner Andrea Giuliani is most proud of the selection of spritz, Italy’s national happy hour libation. Try a classic negroni, the Spagliato spritz (Campari, Carpano Antica vemouth, prosecco and orange), Il Corso (a negroni with rye instead of gin) and the Negroni del Sud — Espadin Joven mezcal, Campari, Alessio vermouth. All $12. Food specials ($11) include chicken liver made with negroni butter and and gin, Campari and vermouth-flavored sorbets. Supports the Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco.
// pausasanmateo.com //
Pizzeria Delfina — Palo Alto and Burlingame
Delfina keeps things a little looser, letting bartenders get creative and experiment. Have no fear says a manager: all cocktail creations have been approved by senior management before release into the wild. Among them: The Ricco di Noci, which combines gin, Gran Classico, Campari, orange bitters and the used-to-be obscure Italian walnut liqueur nocino. Expect a nutty drink with notes of cola and orange. The San Pietro Negroni is a tad more conventional: Rittenhouse rye, Carpano Antica vermouth, cynar and Campari. Spicy, herbacious and citrusy with some sweetness at the end. All $11, benefitting the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank.