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Mar 19, 2018
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Drink This Weekend Edition: When one tweak changes everything

August 31st 02:08pm, 2012

As the revival of classic cocktails appears to be here to stay, area bartenders are finding ways to flex their creative muscles and still give a nod to tradition. At Robust Wine Bar, for instance, we noticed a couple of cocktails in which one tiny tweak is making a very big difference.

Lauren Blake, wine and spirits curator at Robust and a self-proclaimed “amaro freak,” enjoys finding ways to use the liqueur in new ways. Like in The Robust Negroni, which doesn’t hold the traditional one-to-one-to-one ratio of gin, Campari and vermouth. Instead, those who order the tippler will sip on 1½ ounces of Pinckney Bend gin, 1 ounce of Campari, 1 ounce of Cocchi Vermouth di Torino and 1/3 ounce of Nonino Amaro. According to Blake, the amaro “smoothes out the drink and cuts through the bitterness of the Campari.”

Amaro serves a similar purpose in Blake’s Plu-Perfect Manhattan (pictured). Her interpretation calls for Bulleit 95 Rye whiskey and a touch of amaro, which “tempers the rye” and makes the drink “more velvety.” After just one sip, we agree.

Blake joined the Robust team a year ago after moving to St. Louis from Aspen, Colo. The New Jersey native, with an extensive restaurant background, will soon release her fall cocktail menu. We’re looking forward to seeing how amaro makes its way into that set of drinks; then we’ll order a round at Robust’s downtown location in the MX building, which is set to open in early November.

By Ligaya Figueras

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