You still have a few days left to enjoy a proper, grownup cocktail while contributing to any number of worthwhile charities.
Negroni Week is fully underway, and I’ve witnessed up close and personal what good it can do here on the ground in New Orleans.
Juniper Negroni (above, center) is a New Orleans-based bartender who surfaces for just a few days every year around and during Negroni Week – sort of a cocktail-slinging superhero who shows up from an alternate, boozy yet compassionate universe. Her human alter ego, Becca June, is a highly skilled and dedicated bartender at the Bourbon O inside the Bourbon Orleans Hotel in the French Quarter.
She discovered her Gin-associated secret identity while mixing drinks in Portland, and the great responsibility of her great powers followed her to New Orleans. There, during the gin-soaked hours of Negroni Week, she encourages all mortals to order up the titular cocktail for charity.
Whether you’re in the French Quarter, Portland or anywhere else in the USA, you can walk into any of more than 1,300 bars and order a Negroni this week (gin, sweet vermouth and Campari). Campari makes sure $1 of every Negroni (or Negroni themed item) sold gets donated to that participating bar or mixology spot’s charity of choice.
Becca June (nee Juniper Negroni) reports that the Bourbon O sends its contributions to the New Orleans Musician Assistant Fund.
“We’re like a family at the Bourbon O, from the bartenders to the musicians who provide the entertainment,” June said. “We decided as a family to contribute to NOMAF because of all the great work they do in the city we love.”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the life of a New Orleans musician is fraught with struggle and financial uncertainty. So, NOMAF offers a wide collection of services from financial aid to Safe Sounds (promoting protection against persistent loud music and hearing loss) to medical aid and even contributions for funeral services and internment.
For its part in the Big Easy’s Negroni Week, June reports that the Bourbon O went for a barrel aged Negroni. The premixed recipe includes Bulldog Gin, Sweet Vermouth and Campari, served after aging in a charred barrel for about two weeks.
It’s a simple pour benefiting a happy cause — and June is all about simple and happy.
“We don’t do the pretentious side of mixology around here. I don’t mind serving you a Jello shot. I don’t mind serving a mean Jamison on the rocks. I don’t mind serving you something on fire. As long as you’re having fun, we’re all enjoying each other.”