I hope you enjoy simple, iconic, no-frills cocktails, because it’s Negroni Week in the District and across the country! Imbibe Magazine and Campari have teamed up on their annual coordinated effort to offer us wonderful specials on that Campari-Gin-Vermouth marvel across more than 6,000 establishments in the United States. What’s better is that you can drink with a clean-ish conscience, knowing that a portion of your hard-earned drink dollar will be going to support various worthwhile charities. So today we’re profiling five unique spots that are offering traditional and off-the-wall interpretations of the Negroni. See you there in a few hours.
Our coverage doesn’t often take us over to Georgetown, and neither does the Metro, so maybe there’s a reason for that. That being said, Via Umbria really seems like a quaint little establishment. What started as a little pop-up has now reopened as a full-fledged Italian market featuring a large selection of Umbrian wines, a happy hour space, and café. Take solace in the fact that they’re using D.C. ingredients, including the amazing Green Hat Gin from over in Ivy City. In addition to the classic Negroni, they’re offering a Negroni Sbagliato with Prosecco and a cherry garnish, the delightlully named and arranged “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” includes Aperol, Don Ciccio Limoncello, Lemon, Club Soda, and Luxardo Cherry, and the “District Special” features 100% D.C. ingredients. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Inspire Artistic Minds, like yours and mine.
Not sure how many of our loyal followers are working out there on the Hill, but regardless, their offerings for Negroni Week might make this one worth a trek out to our city’s politics mecca. Hope you’re not expecting a stuffy environment, because their tagline reads, “If the glass is half-empty, you’re drinking too slow.” I like it already. They’ve got six takes on the Negroni available this week, so I’m not going to even begin to try to list all of the ingredients. However, I know they’re making use of some wonderful Jos. A. Magnus Vigilant Gin, also distilled locally in Ivy City. Indulging your vice here will benefit Friends of the American University of Afganistan.
Just south of Dupont is this smokin’ hot, brand new establishment that’s saying “fuck your gin!” during Negroni week and lighting it up with some tequila. They just opened in April, and are hanging their hats on their unique incorporation of smoke into various dishes and cocktails. Their Smoked Tequila Negroni is made with Herradura Reposado, Campari & Carpano Antica Vermouth. The cocktail is smoked in-bottle and served with coffee beans before being poured into the snifter. Fourteen bucks sounds like a small price to pay for one of the most exciting interpretations I’ve seen for this week.
Oh, how deep is my love for this iconic D.C. restaurant, in spite of the fact that I’m only well off enough to order the burger. Eh, at least it’s one of the best in the city. And since my monthly budgeting affords me just about equal amounts for liquid and solid consumption, cocktails are always on the table when I make my way over to this lovely establishment on 14th. This week, Le Dip is offering their classic Negroni for ten bucks. For $13, you can choose from the Maillot Jaune, made with Beefeater Gin, Lillet Rosé, Suze d’Autrefois, and Esprit d’June, and the L’Hommage, featuring Citadel Gin, Campari, Dolin Rouge, Dolin Dry. Bon aperitif!
I’m offering a hesitant recommendation here, but based on the sound of things, perhaps The Prospect can win me over again. Truth be told, I actually like their cocktails; they’re all very well balanced. I guess my opinion soured when I spilled about $15 on my lap after a really tough day at the office. Sounds kind of selfish of me to blame it on them, huh? My main point of contention is the idea of labeling yourself a sports bar, but offering unexceptional beers at a rate that is one to three dollars over the District standard. It’s a beautiful place to watch sports, though, and they’ve made our list with the most affordable Negroni variant on the docket today. For $9, get your hands on the Prospect Sbaglia, made with sweet vermouth, Campari, a crisp and bubbly cider and an orange peel garnish. Oh, and hog wings, baby, definitely some hog wings. Proceeds benefit Becky’s Fund.