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Where to Celebrate Negroni Week in San Diego

Our (mostly) comprehensive list of some of the best offerings


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George's Level2's seven Negroni Week offerings. | Photo: Stephen Kurpinsky

Happy Negroni Week! The event, started in 2013 by Imbibe Magazine, runs through June 11 and has bartenders making their best Negronis and Negroni variations to raise money for charity (more than half a million dollars was raised last year). San Diego’s got another strong showing this year, with more than 50 bars participating, raising money for organizations like the Surfrider Foundation, One More Wave, No Kind Hungry, and the San Diego Feral Cat Coalition. (And props to all the bartenders who gathered in PB for a beach clean-up on Tuesday as part of Campari’s Negroni Week day of service.)

Negroni Week also gives folks a chance to try one of the most classic of classic cocktails and check out the countless riffs it inspires. Here's where to find them in San Diego.

First, a quick Negroni primer:

Negroni: Equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, served over ice (or chilled and straight-up) with an orange twist.
White Negroni: Traditionally made with 2 oz. gin, 1 oz. Lillet Blanc, 3/4 oz. Suze, served on the rocks with a lemon peel. For a less-sweet variation, make it with white vermouth and Cocchi Americano.
Sbagliato: Negroni made with sparkling wine instead of gin.
Boulevardier: Negroni made with bourbon instead of gin.
Campari: A bittersweet Italian aperitif that’s a key ingredient in a classic Negroni.
Carpano Antica: One of the most popular sweet vermouths, you’ll usually find it in a classic Negroni.
Carpano Bianco: The white version of Antica, it’s lighter and more floral.
Aperol: A lighter, sweeter aperitif that’s sometimes used in place of Campari.
Cocchi Americano: Found in a White Negroni (or its variation) in place of Suze or Lillet.
Bruto Americano: Like Campari, but a little bolder. Made by California-based St. George’s.

 

Cache

The Hillcrest bar is serving five Negroni Week cocktails: a classic Negroni, an “Ilegal Negroni” made with Campari, Ilegal Mezcal, and hibiscus; a tequila-based White Negroni; the tiki-esque Caribbean Negroni, made with Campari, Zaya Rum, and falernum; and, true to Cache’s French theme, an elegant Provençal Negroni, made with Campari, Maison Rouge Cognac, Grand Poppy liqueur, Giffard Violette, and absinthe.

Charity: Surfrider Foundation

1027 University Avenue, Hillcrest

 

Campfire

The North County restaurant is serving three takes on the classic, featuring ingredients like sorrell, burnt cinnamon, and juniper berry/orange sorbet that fit Campfire’s outdoorsy theme.

Carlsbad Pallbearer: White rum, Campari, cantaloupe, sorrel, coconut milk, lime, melon pomelo LaCroix
Accelerator: Gin, Suze, blanc vermouth, orange Starburst, citric acid, salt
Ambling Alp: Campari, sweet vermouth, burnt cinnamon, orange, lemon, soda, juniper berry/orange sorbet

Charity: Surfrider Foundation

2725 State Street, Carlsbad

 

Cloak & Petal

Cloak & Petal’s three offerings are boozy, yet refined, incorporating ingredients you don’t see too often, like the floral aperitif Rinomato Bianco, Nikka's new gin offering, and the citrusy California-made Amaro Angeleno.

Shiro-Groni: Rinomato Bianco, Lacuesta Bianco Vermouth, Nikka Coffey Gin
Califor-Negroni: St. George Bruto Americano, Amaro Angeleno, St George Botanivore Gin
Kohi-Negroni: Cocchi Torino, Campari, Ancho Verde, Old Harbor Ampersand Coffee Liquor, El Silencio Mezcal

Charity: No Kid Hungry

1953 India Street, Little Italy

 

Coin-Op Gaslamp

On Wednesday, July 6, brand ambassador Brandon Curry will be serving up copitas of El Silenco mezcal. The first 50 people to order a Negroni get a copita to take home.

Charity: One More Wave

789 Sixth Avenue, Downtown

 

Coin-Op's Malfy Negroni. | Photo: Stephen Kurpinsky

Coin-Op Game Room

Bartender DJ Mull’s Capri Sun Malfy Negroni wins the award for most clever packaging.

Charity: One More Wave

3926 30th Street, North Park

 

Concept Two Seven Eight

This new spot has the largest selection of booze from local distilleries than any other spot in San Diego. For Negroni Week, they’re doing a vegetal, herbaceous take on the classic with Liberty Call Gin, Campari, Carpano Antica, Cynar, and celery bitters

Charity: No Kid Hungry

3687 Fifth Avenue, Hillcrest

 

Craft & Commerce

Jungle Boulevardier: This rum-based version of a Boulevardier features delicious Plantation Pineapple Rum and Hamilton Pot Still Black Rum, plus Carpano Antica, and Campari.

Charity: Autism Speaks

675 W Beech Street, Little Italy

 

Duck Dive

Duck Dive wins with the best special: $7 Negronis all week. Try the Twisted Negroni made with Malfy Con Limone gin, Carpano Antica, and Campari.

Charity: No Kid Hungry

4650 Mission Boulevard, Mission Beach 

 

El Dorado

El Dorado’s serving the original classic, plus a White Negroni, and a Oaxacan Negroni made with El Silencio mezcal

Charity: Surfrider Foundation

103Broadway, East Village

 

Fifth & Rose

What’s a Negroni Machine? Find out at Fifth & Rose.

Charity: James Beard Foundation

550 J Street, Downtown

 

Florent

The Gaslamp restaurant's doing three different gin infusions for its Negronis:

Blue Bonnet: Blueberry/strawberry-infused Scottish dry gin, Campari, Carpano Antica, topped with rosé Champagne and garnished with a gin-soaked sugared lemon wheel garnish.
London’s on Fire: Habanero-infused gin, Carpano Antica, Bruto Americano.
Blushing Furtunella: Kumquat-infused gin, rose-infused vermouth, Bruto Americano.

Charity: Colorado Water Trust

672 Fifth Avenue, Downtown 

 

George’s Level 2

The bartenders at Level 2 have come up with a menu of stunning drinks that—as you’d expect from Stephen Kurpinsky and his team—both honor the classic and push boundaries.

The Devouring Strosis: Venus Spirits Aquavit, Amaro Braulio, dill-infused Carpano Bianco, black cardamom tincture
Caffe Campari: Campari infused with coffee beans and cinnamon, Carpano Antica, Malfy Gin, coconut, salted cacao bitters
Negril Fizz: Appleton Estate Signature Blend Rum, smoked Cynar, pineapple, lemon, egg white, Negroni Soda
Negroni Amarillo: Ome Mezcal, Suze Apertif, Giffard Pamplemousse, sage
Isola Bianca: Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum, Cana Brava 3-Year, Cocchi Americano, Lacuesta Vermouth
Golden Hill: Chinotto-infused Bulldog Gin, Campari, Carpano Antica, Italicus, Prosecco
Classic Negroni: Sipsmith Gin, Campari, Carpano Antica

Charity: Surfrider Foundation

1250 Prospect Street, La Jolla

 

Grant Grill

The Sideways Negroni (St George Terroir Gin, Campari, Domaine Santé “All-Sass” California Wine Grape Nectar, Sparkling California Pinot Noir) with its sparkling Pinot Noir and wine grape nectar, is an homage to the film Sideways.

Charity: Surfrider Foundation

326 Broadway, Downtown

 

The Grass Skirt

Two words: Negroni Slushies.

Charity: One More Wave

910 Grand Avenue, Pacific Beach

 

Herb & Wood

In addition to a classic Negroni, three Herb & Wood bartenders came up with variations featuring three very different gins (Swedish, British, and American): Tony's Negroni is made with charred pineapple, Right Gin, Aperol, and Cocchi Bianco. Meghan's Negroni features roasted strawberries, Beefeater Gin, Dolin Blanc vermouth, and Amaro Angeleno. And Priscilla's Negroni is made with roasted orange, Fresno chili, You & Yours Sunday Gin, Carpano Bianco, and Luxardo bitters.

Charity: Surfrider Foundation

2210 Kettner Boulevard, Little Italy

 

Hive

There are four option to choose from: a Classic Negroni, a Negroni Sbagliato (Negroni topped with prosecco), a Negroni Frappe Remix (Negroni shaken with OJ) and the Substitute Teacher (blanco tequila, Amaro Nonino, dry vermouth, Peychaud’s bitters), which Nonino fans will certainly dig.

Charity: No Kid Hungry

4428 Convoy Street #100, Kearny Mesa

 

The Hopping Pig

Jenna Elskamp and her team are doing a barrel-aged Negroni, an Ilegal Mezcal Negroni made with Aperol and Carpano Bianca, and bartender Karen Cheng’s tropical, tiki-inspired Negroni made with caramelized plantain-infused Zaya Rum, Aperol, Carpano Bianca, tiki bitters, passion fruit bitters, and a coconut-lime foam

Charity: Helen David Relief Fund

748 Fifth Avenue, Downtown

 

Hundred Proof

On Thursday, June 7, from 3 to 7 p.m., Hundred Proof partners with You & Yours Distilling for a Build Your Own Negroni. The first 25 guests receive a complimentary welcome cocktail. The rest of the week, try the Crimson Tide (Bulldog Gin, Carpano Antica, lemon, hibiscus simple syrup, peach bitters, Campari cream float) or the Barrel Aged White Negroni (You & Yours Sunday Gin, Dolin Dry Vermouth, Luxardo Bitters).

Charity: No Kid Hungry

4130 Park Boulevard, University Heights

 

JSix

This unnamed variation has You & Yours Sunday Gin as its base spirit, plus a quarter ounce of Del Maguey Vida Mezcal for smokiness, vanilla, and mulberry infused Campari, and Carpano Antica.

Charity: James Beard Foundation

616 J Street, East Village

 

Kettner Exchange

Word is that last year, Kettner Exchange’s Negroni Week specials raised more money than any other bar in San Diego. They’re going all-out again this year with seven offerings at $8 apiece:

Me Lychee Long Time: White rum, Campari, lychee, lemon, grapefruit, brut rose
St. Negroni Spritz: Gin, Campari, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, lime, soda
Mango Unchained: Gin, Campari, sweet vermouth, lemon, pineapple, mango, honey
Gulf of Paria: White rum, Campari, falernum, lemon, cinnamon, pomegranate
Goodbye Rajah: White jasmine tea-infused gin, Campari, Lillet, Champagne
Eureka: Pink peppercorn-infused Beefeater Gin, lemongrass-infused Campari, Bianco vermouth
Greetings Earthlings: Blanco tequila, Campari, lime, kiwi, Peychaud’s bitters

Charity: One More Wave (Kettner Exchange is hosting a silent auction fundraiser for One More Wave on Thursday, June 7, from 7 to 11 p.m.)

2001 Kettner Boulevard, Little Italy

 

Kindred's Turbonegroni. | Photo: Arlene Ibarra

Kindred

Negroni week asks only that $1 from every cocktail goes to charity. Kindred’s going above and beyond by donating half of all sales of the Turbonegroni (gin, Bruto Americano, Cocchi Americano, Scarborough Bitters).

Charity: San Diego Feral Cat Coalition

15030th Street, South Park

 

La Justina

Get a Classic Negroni at this spot right across the border.

Charity: Slow Food International            

Av. Revolución 930, Zona Centro, Tijuana      

 

Leroy’s Kitchen and Lounge

Lots of bars are making good use of You & Yours Distilling Co.’s delicious Sunday gin, like Leroy’s Sunday, Everyday. Or go with their take on the Boulevardier (bourbon Negroni) made with Four Roses, or the Mexigroni, made with Vida mezcal, Aperol, and Carpano Antica.

Charity: Surfrider Foundation

1015 Orange Avenue, Coronado

 

The Lion’s Share

The White Negroni Swizzle features tequila, pear brandy, white vermouth, Luxardo Bitter Bianco liqueur, lemon, salt, and crushed ice.

Charity: Lambda Legal

629 Kettner Boulevard, Little Italy

 

Maretalia Ristorante

Their Sunday Funday Negroni is a take on a Sbagliato, made with Campari, You & Yours Sunday Gin, Antica Torino, and orange bitters, topped with prosecco and served on the rocks.

Charity: Surfrider Foundation 

1300 Orange Avenue, Coronado

 

Mess Hall Bar @ Liberty Public Market 

Here's you'll find a Classic Negroni featuring You & Yours Sunday Gin.

Charity: Surfrider Foundation 

2820 Historic Decatur Rd, Liberty Station

 

Mission Avenue Bar and Grill

Here’s another impressive collection of variations, this one from Mission Avenue’s Guy Marino:

San Diego-Style "Traditional" Negroni: Old Harbor Southwestern Gin, Campari, Carpano Antica
Rosé Negroné Sour: Bols Genever, Aperol, Campari, Lillet Rose, Italicus, strawberry/rose/hop foam
It's Not What You Think It Is, Officer: Chamomile-infused Sipsmith Gin, Breckenridge Bitter Liqueur, Lillet Blanc, Bianco Vermouth, verbena and lavender (legal) weed leaf
Jabroni Negroni: Suntory Toki Japanese Whisky, Plantation "OFTD" Rum, St. George Bruto Americano, Averna, tiki bitters, bruléed pineapple 

Charity: Surfrider Foundation

711 Mission Avenue, Oceanside

 

Mister A’s

Made with Malfy Con Limone gin, Campari, and Carpano Antica vermouth, this one’s pre-bottled, poured tableside, and garnished with a Carpano Antica sorbet and Campari-soaked dehydrated orange.   

Charity: James Beard Foundation

2550 Fifth Avenue, Bankers Hill

 

Noble Experiment

Andrew Cordero won this year’s Negroni competition. See why when you try one of the three cocktails he and his team conjured up:

Cocktail #1: Aged rum, Campari, Carpano Antica, cream, whole egg, chocolate bitters
Cocktail #2: Reposado tequila, sloe gin, raspberry, Campari, vermouth
Cocktail #3: Almond-infused Campari, cocoa nib-infused vermouth, Ancho Reyes liqueur, mezcal

Charity: Surfrider Foundation

777 G Street, East Village

 

The Nolen

The Sparkling Strawberry Negroni sounds perfect for The Nolen’s rooftop bar: Muddled fresh strawberries, gin, Campari, Vermouth Classico, sparkling wine, and elderflower-lime "sea foam." The Barrel Aged Hot Fuzz includes gin, mezcal, Licor 43, Campari, Le Coq d’Or rose liqueur, and house-made bitters.

Charity: Core

453 Sixth Avenue, Downtown

 

Nortico

Tijuana's first speakeasy, hidden inside Oryx Capital, serves up a Classic Negroni.

Charity: Slow Food International

Avenida Emilio Carranza 3107, Aviacion, Tijuana (inside Oryx Capital)

 

Oryx Capital

The restaurant that houses Nortico is also offering a Classic Negroni.

Charity: WILD Foundation

Avenida Emilio Carranza 3107, Aviacion, Tijuana

 

Park & Rec

A Caprese Salad Negroni? Why, yes: Olive oil fat-washed Malfy Gin, basil-infused Carpano Antica, and tomato-infused Campari. The other options are yet-to-be-named, but include two mezcal-based variations: one with yellow Chartreuse, Lacuesta vermouth bianco, Campari, and smoked salt; and another with Milagro tequila, Rinomato Bianco, Campari, and Carpano Bianco. A charred-peach-infused Malfy gin Negroni that includes pickling-spice-infused Campari, Lacuesta bianco vermouth, and coriander rounds out the menu.

Charity: PAWS

4612 Park Boulevard, University Heights

 

Patio on Goldfinch

For fans of creative Negroni variations, these are two must-tries: The Estágioni features Damrak Gin, Madiera, Campari, and orange oleo-saccharum (like a citrus simple syrup). The Bay-jun is made with Mt. Gay XO rum, Carpano Antica, Campari, and Banane du Brésil liqueur.

Charity: Surfrider Foundation

4020 Goldfinch Street, Mission Hills

 

Polite Provisions

Looking for a lighter Negroni variation? Try Polite’s Red Light District, made with Campari, sweet vermouth, and sparkling rosé. Can’t decide between a white or classic? The Vanilla Sky includes Carpano Bianco, Campari, vanilla-infused Bols Genever, and Giffards tasty banana liqueur. Rounding out the menu is a Smoked Negroni Swizzle made with mezcal, Campari, falernum, honey syrup, and lemon juice.

Charity: Helen David Relief Fund

46930th Street, North Park

 

Prohibition's classic Negroni

Prohibition

Prohibition will be serving classic Negronis in addition to “bartender’s choice” Negroni variations.

Charity: Inspire Artistic Minds

548 Fifth Avenue, Downtown

 

Raised by Wolves

This take on a Boulevadier called the Pride of Long Island, features Creme de Noyaux, a tasty almond-flavored liqueur that’s actually made from apricot kernels.  

Charity: Core

UTC mall, 4301 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla

 

Royale

The buzzed-about OB bar’s Negroni Royale includes aged rum, Campari, sweet vermouth, and a smidge of dry vermouth

Charity: Slow Food International

4204 Voltaire Street, Ocean Beach

 

Soda & Swine Liberty Station

In addition to a classic Negroni, try the Frozen Sbagliato, or the Negroni de Jamaica made with hibiscus and rum.

Charity: USBG National Charity Foundation

2750 Dewey Road, #104, Point Loma

 

Stake Chophouse & Bar 

Try the Negroni Bianco, featuring Old Grove gin, Suze, and Lillet Blanc.

Charity: Surfrider Foundation

1309 Orange Avenue, Coronado

 

Sycamore Den

In addition to a classic Negroni, the team at Sycamore Den has figured out how to work some fruits and veggies into a couple of variations. The La Tomatina features roasted tomato-infused Campari, London dry gin, Averna, lemon zest, Applewood smoked sea salt, and soda water. The Bananegroni is made with Malfy gin, toasted spiced banana Campari, Lusteau Amontillado Sherry, and house maraschino liqueur.

Charity: Outside In

3391 Adams Avenue, Normal Heights

 

Tamarindo

They’re calling it, simply, the Tamarindo Negroni, but this fruity, smoky variation, made with sage-infused Illegal Joven mezcal, sweet vermouth, Campari, peach liqueur, and bitters, certainly deserves a fancier name.

Charity: One More Wave

2906 University Avenue, North Park

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