The New Orleans Musician Assistance Foundation + Negroni Week
When we put out our initial rallying calls for Negroni Week participation this year, New Orleans bartender Becca June was among the first people to answer. June, bartender at Bourbon O Bar, has helped get scores of New Orleans bars on board, and many of them have chosen to support the New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundation during Negroni Week. We chatted with June about what NOMAF means to her, how she takes her Negroni and where she’ll be sipping around town during Negroni Week.
Imbibe: What inspired you to rally New Orleans’ bartending community around the NOMAF for Negroni Week?
Becca June: Bar and music culture go hand in hand in New Orleans—neither one could be truly successful without the other. I selected a charity that more or less encompasses the spirit of NOLA. NOMAF has a clinic that offers help not just to musicians, but to employees of music clubs too. They also do youth outreach, which I find extremely important in a city where kids often slip through the cracks, and music can help save them. NOMAF has such deep roots in this city, so it was very easy to rally the bars behind them! I got a lot of help from my team as well as the NOMAF folks and people at Tales of the Cocktail, too.
Do you remember your first Negroni?
Yes, I do! It was at my family’s former restaurant in Northwest Portland. I was blessed with a strong palate, and the Negroni was right up my alley. Geoff Anderson was the bar manager at the time, and he has a magic touch with the Negroni—they get me every time. I also had the pleasure of sharing the bar with Gary Reagan last year during Tales of the Cocktail. He asked if he could join me behind the bar at the Bourbon O and make himself a drink (Beefeater gin, Martini & Rossi vermouth and Campari, finger-stirred, of course). It was amazing and one of the greatest nights of my bartending career.
How do you take your Negroni?
I prefer it served down with an orange twist.
Where will you be sipping during Negroni Week this year?
Any bar supporting NOMAF, especially The Cocktail Bar at the Windsor Court, Apolline, Twelve Mile Limit, Tableau, Winston’s and Bourbon O Bar (where I work!). But I’ll happily drink at as many as I can!