Those that know me know I am primarily a ‘red wine guy’. But it’s Negroni Week and there are good causes involved! Running from 6 to 12 June, the Negroni cocktail is being showcased around Melbourne with events that also support the bar’s chosen charity. It’s ‘7 days, 3 ingredients (campairi, gin, and vermouth), 1 simple way to give back’. There are some real reasons right there not to wait until the weekend to celebrate!
On a cold winter’s night, my plus one and I headed to 18o6 bar (eighteen oh six) to see how they were personally tending to the event. I had never actually been to the bar before and was instantly warmed by the atmosphere and the staff. The place reminded me of the bar from Cheers, conveying a real sense of familiarity and comfort (albeit in a much more sophisticated setting), and the look of newfound joy from the other customers suggested that they were first timers too. The décor is opulent, the lighting perfectly subdued. Signs on the wall also spoke of Buttered Mulled Wine and Mozart Dark Chocolate; all very intriguing, but that was not what tonight was about. As we arrived, Guilia, the Italian maître d’, introduced herself. She was simply fantastic, and clearly passionate about both the bar and Negronis.
To begin, we were presented with the ‘classic’ red Negroni made with Cocchi Vermouth, as recommended by our host. A great introduction. A short cocktail made long by the most impressive (and classy) giant block of ice I have seen in a while. As we were admiring this, and appreciating the further warmth that the Negroni was providing, the food arrived. The Melba toast, sardines, peri peri croquettes, olives, and lupinis (a taste of Italian winter, apparently) were a lovely accompaniment, and further smacked of Italian flavor.
Next we tried the Champagne Negroni and the White Negroni. A rather contrasting pair, although the Negroni does unite them. My White Negroni was again reinforced by another amazing giant ice block, and was surprisingly smooth and light. The Champagne Negroni was as fun as Champagne should be, but with a real kick. It was turning out to be a great evening.
We noticed that some of these Negroni variations, and a few more, can be tried as part of their four-course Negroni Degustation (proceeds also to Cancer Council) on 9 June. Negroni Week 2016 is ramping up, and we will be back for Negronis or otherwise at bar 18o6.
Duncan was the most illegible bachelor in town, but times have changed, although he is still a purveyor of Melbourne’s surprising, quirky, and cultural events.
Negroni Week runs from 6-12 June at venues throughout Melbourne, including 18o6 (169 Exhibition St, Melbourne). You can choose a bar, you can choose a cause, and you can choose a Negroni! Three ways to win!