For seven days starting on Sept.13, cocktail lovers in Vietnam will get to put aside their Covid-19 worries momentarily to celebrate Negroni Week in the comfort of their homes with a calendar of online events that includes learning how to mix Negronis like the pros and joining live trade talks with influential guest speakers, all the while supporting worthy causes in our community struck hard by the pandemic.
Launched in 2013, Negroni Week is a global celebration of the cocktail world’s iconic punchy ruby-red Italian tipple made with gin, sweet vermouth, Campari (the alcoholic liqueur that gives the drink its bitterness and spiciness) and garnished with a zesty slice of orange.
Negroni Week runs from Sept.13 to Sept.19
Described as an aperitif by some to enjoy before dinner but by others as a party starter to get you jumping, the traditional Negroni is carefully stirred over ice in an old fashioned or rocks glass.
“It sets you up for dinner, in a way it makes you hungry, sands the edges off the afternoon. It’s both an aperitif and digestive. It’s a rare drink that can do that.”
In previous years, Negroni Week raised funds globally for local charities in each participating country, including Vietnam, via sales of Negroni cocktails at participating venues across the land and by holding competitions among local bartenders to determine whose take on the classic gives the most bang for their Negroni buck.
Collectively, over 12,000 venues around the world have so far raised in excess of US$3 million for charitable causes in the nine years since its inception.
However, last year in 2020, the global Covid-19 pandemic forced a change in fundraising efforts due to the hospitality industry being ravaged itself.
Monies raised during events internationally were redirected towards bars and bartenders to help them through the difficult period of lockdowns.
Meanwhile in Vietnam, money totalling US$1,225 raised from last year’s Shaken Not Broken initiative that ran in tandem with Negroni Week was donated to not-for-profit social enterprise KOTO (Know One Teach One) in Hanoi, which, since 1999, has provided disadvantaged youth in Vietnam opportunities to undertake 24-month holistic hospitality training programs with the aim of ending the poverty cycle.
Timmy Dang, Commercial and Marketing Manager for Campari Group in Vietnam, the enterprise responsible for the activation of the global initiative in Vietnam says:
“While Negroni Week is a great campaign globally that benefits charities, it’s also highly beneficial locally here in Vietnam as proceeds from it and our Shaken Not Broken campaign go towards supporting those in need in our local communities. Importantly, it also contributes to furthering the skills and knowledge of local bartenders by virtue of the online sessions being offered during the period.”
Indeed, a precursor to Negroni Week has already been held online on Sept.6 called Trade Talk Live featuring international industry leaders leading the way in conversations around how to master mixing a Negroni, the lowdown on bottled cocktails and how social media can be employed for success in the bar business.
On Sept.13, Campari lovers and Negroni fans alike will have the rare opportunity to join two key opinion leaders in Asia-Pacific’s hospitality industry when they appear as guest speakers in what promises to be a fun evening in which punters will be able to master making their own Negroni with two of the best holding their hand every step of the way.
Then on Sept.17, some of the big guns of Vietnam’s bartending fraternity hit Zoom from 8pm – 10pm with an industry-only invite session aimed at inspiring Vietnam’s up-and-coming bartenders in which they will share their lives during lockdown; how they’ve been preparing for when the market reopens; ideas, tips and challenges when mixing cocktails like the Negroni; and sharing their “twisted Negroni” cocktail – their version of the classic concocted under lockdown at home.
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Words by Matthew Cowan. Follow Matt on Instagram at @mattcowansaigon
Feature photo by Mike Palumbo