Get bitter! Columbus Negroni Week starts today

Anthony Dominic, Crave

If we use Negroni Week as a measuring stick, Columbus' bar scene is booming. Last year, around 20 area bars participated in Campari and Imbibe magazine's international celebration of the classic bitter cocktail. For this year's week-long event (June 1 to 7), that number has tripled; 60 bars and counting will serve classic negronis (equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth) as well as creative negroni twists. And to sweeten the deal: A portion of the proceeds from every drink stirred will benefit a cause of the bar's choice.

Negroni twists are our favorite part of Negroni Week-and this year, we mean twists. Rebecca Monday, Curio bar manager and Negroni Week Columbus coordinator, has heard talk of bartenders prepping Campari-flavored cotton candy and negroni Jello shots. And according to Facebook, Oddfellows Liquor Bar in the Short North will be serving negroni slushies, and Kraft House No. 5 in Powell has been testing a Oaxacan-inspired negroni mixed with mezcal. Keep tabs on your favorite watering holes via the Columbus Negroni Week Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, or view the complete list of participants here.

New this year are Negroni Week passports, available at participating bars. For a chance to win a basket of goodies, take a passport to all the bars you visit, get it stamped and then send it off to Campari at the end of the week.

For the second year, Monday and the local chapter of the United States Bartenders' Guild have rallied the majority of bars around the Jack Roth Fund, a local lung cancer research nonprofit. Roth's daughter, Maren Roth, owner of Rowe Boutique in the Short North, founded the Jack Roth 5K Rock & Run/Walk after her father, an avid runner, passed from cancer in 2004. Appropriately, this year's Run/Walk falls on June 7.