On the prowl for the most delectable libations, we’re checking in with local bartenders to bring you a sampling of some off-the-cuff cocktails guaranteed to pull you out of your Jack and Coke rut.
Check back each week as we challenge a new St. Louis bartender extraordinaire to come up with a drink that fits our monthly theme. Our bartenders are pulling out all the stops, armed with their most inventive tricks, fresh-squeezed juices, superior liquors and house-made infusions. Their creations are sure to keep your taste buds guessing.
Root, 1135 S. Big Bend Rd., 314.781.4734
For Valentine’s month, romance us with a red or pink drink of your choice.
The Vero Amore, Matt’s take on a traditional Negroni
1 ½ oz Hendricks
¾ oz Campari
½ oz Maraschino Liquer
1 bar spoon of vodka soaked Oregano
3 sugared cranberries to garnish
Who better to kick off the Thirsty Thursdays challenge than our very own spirits guru, Matt Sorrell? We pulled him away from his bartending duties at Root—a new addition to the gastro-scene in Richmond Heights—to pick his brain about his favorite behind-the bar moments and to learn more about a valentine-themed drink he’s been working on.
Matt concocted this amber-red drink in the comfort of his own home – toying with sugared cranberries and bitters. The final product negotiates a careful balance between light pink and red, a poise that achieves a degree of gender neutrality. The taste follows close behind, as the sweetness of the Maraschino tempers the bitter Campari, topped off with vegetal notes from the Hendricks and Oregano tincture. The name, Vero Amore, is Italian for “Real Love,” signifying a cocktail that isn’t overly romantic or fleeting, but mature, steady and in it for the long haul. Something like a Cosmopolitan’s older, wiser aunt.
What is your favorite drink?
Definitely a Negroni. Traditionally it’s an equal parts cocktail, so you can experiment with different liquors and amounts to get a perfect balance.
What’s the weirdest request you’ve gotten?
Probably just something exceptionally typical. A lot of thought and effort went into the cocktails on the menu, so when I have someone sit down and ask for a gin and tonic, I’m like…really?
Someone orders ________and you automatically know they have no idea what they’re talking about.
A vodka martini. First of all, vodka isn’t a particularly rich spirit; it’s fairly odorless, tasteless, and the martini is a classic gin drink. So when I get a request for a vodka martini, the customer essentially ordered three ounces of straight vodka.
– Jorie Jacobi, ALIVE Street Team
Photos by Ettie Berneking