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A bartender pouring Campari into a negroni
Photograph: Supplied/Campari

Your ultimate playbook for nailing Negroni Week with Campari

Here’s how to find the perfect Negroni with tips from Re’s expert mixologist, Samuel Cook

By Melissa Woodley for Time Out in association with Campari

If there’s any cocktail that deserves its own week-long party, it’s undoubtedly the Negroni. For one week each year, bars and restaurants around the world unite to celebrate the iconic red Italian apéritif, while raising money for charitable causes ($4 million to date). This year’s Negroni Week, hosted from September 18-24, is a grand toast to the timeless bond between Campari and the Negroni, with bartenders across the city putting their own spin on the classic cocktail.

Negroni Week at Re

Among the talented mixologists getting behind Negroni Week is Samuel Cook, bar manager at the world’s first permanent zero-waste bar, Re

“As everyone knows, you can’t make a Negroni without Campari,” Cook says. “It’s a bitter-sweet aperitif that lends itself perfectly to the Negroni serve, as well as contributing to the iconic ruby red colour.”

The bar maestro is a long-time advocate of the simple cocktail, which has stood the test of time since its inception in 1919. Negroni lovers can appreciate how sweet vermouth balances the bitterness of Campari – the red heart of every Negroni – with gin adding depth of flavour. 

A negroni sitting on a black table
Photograph: Supplied/Campari

Having celebrated Negroni Week for many years, Cook believes it is a great way for bars and restaurants to “showcase the uniqueness of their venue through the well-known classic that is the Negroni.”

At Re, Cook takes the traditional Negroni for a spin, jazzing up the gin with salvaged cacao husks from South Pacific Cocoa. These husks, sourced ethically from the Solomon Islands and processed right here in Sydney, add a touch of magic to every sip.

“Our dilution comes from clarified class two oranges from Harris Farm; fruit that is considered imperfect due to dents or blemishes and would otherwise go unsold,” Cook explains.

For the garnish, we use waste-tempered chocolate from Messina. It’s a blend of white, milk and dark chocolate, which they scrape from the inside of their production machine.”

The Negroni is then finished with a zest of the class two oranges, adding an extra punch of citrus to the cocktail.

A Campari bottle next to two negronis
Photograph: Supplied/Campari

Where to celebrate Negroni Week in Sydney

Direct from London, Kwãnt's celebrated bartender, Giusy Castaldo, will serve up two exclusive Negronis at Rockpool on September 19 and 20. You can experience the grandeur of the Sunflower Negroni with Campari, Bulldog Gin, Cinzano 1757 and Jerusalem artichoke, or the High Five with Campari, Ancho Reyes, watermelon and Ethiopian berry tincture. What’s even sweeter? $2 from every cocktail will be donated to Slow Food, in support of their mission to foster a more equitable and sustainable world of food and beverage. 

Further down the road, subterranean cocktail lounge Door Knock is serving up an Alexander Pacitto Negroni with salted banana-infused gin, coffee, Campari and sweet vermouth, while Parisian wine bar Le Foote is mixing up a Le Sbagliato with Campari, Cinzano 1757, rhubarb wine and grapefruit cordial.

For an after-work apéritif in the CBD, you can also head to Hickson House Distilling Co, Bistecca, Cabana Bar and Old Mate’s Place. The fun spreads further East too with Negroni specials at Piccolo Bar, Franca Brasserie, Cho Cho San, the Apollo and Da Orazio

If a night of bar hopping picks your fancy then head to Surry Hills for a Negroni or two at Bar Conte, Chin Chin and Four Pillars Gin Laboratory. Make sure to drop in at the immersive Bar Red by Campari, which will pop up at the Dolphin from September 20 to October 22. Bar director Josh Reynolds has created an innovative menu of 'Newgronis' including the Black Truffle and Cacao Husk Negroni with Tanqueray Gin, Campari, black truffle, Martini Rosso, cacao husk and white chocolate; or the Tiramisu Negroni with Mr Black and Madeira clarified with Messina coffee gelato. Pair your Negroni with Northern Italian-inspired snacks including fritto misto and fried zucchini flowers, which are $6 during daily aperitivo from 4-6pm.

Everyone can get around Negroni Week with the celebrations stretching as far as Lady Banks Rooftop in Bankstown and Pasadena in Church Point to Sails, Glorietta and Ripples Chowder Bay in the North. You can see the full list of participating venues available here.

Win tickets to this exclusive Negroni Week Secret Bartender Party

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