Kansas City bartender Ryan Miller has rallied a ton of support for Negroni Week this year, encouraging many of KC’s best bars to come together in support of the CCVI, a charity that works to prepare children with visual impairments to reach their highest potential in the sighted world. We asked Miller why the CCVI was their charity of choice and where he’ll be sipping during Negroni Week this year.
Imbibe: What’s your role within the USBG?
Ryan Miller: I’m on the USBG-KC leadership council as the Social Media Director. To the best of my ability, I get the word out to our membership and perspective membership about all the events and all other things USBG in our community.
Imbibe: What inspired you to rally Kansas City’s bartending community around the CCVI for Negroni Week?
RM: We asked our bartending community through our USBGKC membership. CCVI came up the most. That organization has been doing great things for our community for a number of years. The staff there is great and very supportive of our arts scene. Their annual Trolley Run is not only their largest and most successful fundraiser but involves over 600 local volunteers and even more runners.
Imbibe: Do you remember your first Negroni?
RM: My first experience with a Negroni was a straw-pull off of a guest’s cocktail. She had ordered a Negroni on a busy Friday happy hour. I said “of course” then scrambled to the back to look up the recipe. I thought, “gin, Campari, sweet vermouth? Gross.” This, of course, was before I was working in bars with properly stored vermouths and aperitif wines. So, I didn’t like it. I also probably shook it.
Imbibe: How do you take your Negronis these days?
RM: I usually do what Angus Winchester tells me to do. I build the ingredients in an Old Fashioned glass, give a quick stir, add ice, and garnish it with a lemon twist. Now I love Negronis.
Imbibe: Where and what will you be pouring during Negroni Week this year?
RM: I’ll be pouring Negronis at Voltaire in Kansas City. We’ve been open for a year and have already featured Boulevardiers and Old Pals. I’ll be offering those three classics while trying to explain the nuances between styles of gins, bourbons, ryes, vermouths, etc.
Imbibe: And where will you be sipping during Negroni Week?
RM: I’ll do my best to hit all of the participating bars and restaurants in the Kansas City area, as well as non-participants. Hopefully, to stir up more awareness for next year and to spread the word for this one.