This week, bars all over the country are advertising and slinging their house Negroni variations for a good cause. Sponsored by Campari and Imbibe, Negroni Week participants donate a portion of the proceeds from this drink to the bar’s (or local bartenders guild’s) nonprofit of choice. Since its creation, Negroni Week has raised over $120,000 for charity.

But the ruby red drink’s allure goes beyond the weeklong event that shares its name. Italy isn’t a country known for its cocktails. On the whole, most of the alcohol consumed there is drunk as an accompaniment rather than something to be mixed.

Original Brew

With that context, it’s amazing that any cocktails have come out of Italy. One such long-standing tipple is the Americano. Made from equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth topped with soda, it’s thought that the Americano was the cocktail that fathered the Negroni.

As with most others, the exact history of the Negroni is unknown. The best-known story of its origin is that in 1919, Count Camillo Negroni ordered an Americano with gin instead of soda. Thus, the cocktail that holds his name was born.

Hit The Lab

Many, many variations on the Negroni have been thought up since its creation. Substitute bourbon for gin to make a Boulevardier. If you prefer rye, you’re drinking a 1794. Tequila lovers, don’t fret—replace the gin with tequila and you’ve got a Boulevarista. Craving bubbly? Sub gin with prosecco and you’ve got a Negroni Sbagliato.

Some more modern palates prefer a bit less bitterness balanced by more botanicals. In terms of the cocktail, this means adding more gin and less Campari.

Traditional Negroni

1 oz Gin
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Campari

Mix all three ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with an orange peel.

Modern Negroni

3/4 oz sweet vermouth
3/4 oz Campari
1 1/2 oz gin
Mix all three ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with an orange peel.