Since our thirsty food & drink editor’s cup runneth over, here’s a space for her to spill the tea on all of the greatest, tastiest, and trendiest sips. There's really only one thing you'll find here ... NO BAD DRINKS!
My Current Drink Crush: St. Agrestis Bag-in-Box Cocktails
Why These Drinks Matter: It goes without saying that 2020 has been a real doozy across the board, but one area we've all personally excelled in is drinking at home — and, more specifically, drinking luxuriously at home. We've seen an uptick in demand for large-format magnums and bag-in-box wines over the course of the pandemic, and now it's time for bag-in-box cocktails to have their moment.
Enter: St. Agrestis Bag-in-Box Cocktails, a three-part series of delicious large-format cocktails batched in Brooklyn. Founded in 2014 by Louis Catizone, Matt Catizone, and Steven DeAngel, St. Agrestis entered the ready-to-drink market a few years ago with launches like their Amaro Minis and Negroni 4-Packs to bring cocktail bar-quality products straight into consumers’ homes.
It's a no-brainer that as bars are being less frequented, retail alcohol sales have gone up. Now, there is a demand for better, higher-quality cocktails at home, and St. Agrestis is here to meet that demand. With their recent launch of a Bag-in-Box Black Manhattan, Boulevardier, and Negroni, St. Agrestis is quite literally tapping into a whole new spirits category and format.
A note on pricing: These bag-in-box cocktails are $60 each, and each box contains 20 cocktails. That comes out to $3 per cocktail, which is one hell of a steal given the oft-inflated price of craft cocktails at bars, especially here in New York City.
To put it simply, these bag-in-box cocktails elevate the experience of drinking, offering quality large-format drinks in the comfort of your own home.
In the words of the founders:
"With the new Bag-in-Box lineup, we're able to extend that same quality to a large format, essentially creating a cocktail on tap. Our cocktails last up to three months refrigerated and, we like to think, have become something of a quarantine essential: high-quality and ready-to-go whenever you are."
How We Met: I was lucky enough to try these bag-in-box cocktails over Thanksgiving. Since the Boulevardier (a riff on a classic Negroni that substitutes bourbon for gin) has been trending in the cocktail world recently, that was first on my list. Aptly described by St. Agrestis as "Negroni’s cool-weather cousin," the Boulevardier bowled me over after my first sip.
Needless to say, my weird quarantine Thanksgiving at home became a whole lot better after sampling the full lineup. Don't get me wrong — all three are well-balanced and tasty (more on that below), but I'm partial to the Boulevardier. It's got all the dry bitterness and citrus flavor that I crave in a Negroni without the sometimes harsh botanical slap of gin. Bourbon just works better here.
Bag-in-Box Black Manhattan: Sweet vermouth is replaced with the more herbaceous St. Agrestis Amaro in this bourbon cocktail, and it's deceptively smooth (read: too easy to drink). Herbal, minty, and refreshing, this one left my mouth tingling with a boozy-root-beer kind of taste lingering. It's perfect for cool winter nights.
Bag-in-Box Boulevardier: Created with St. Agrestis Inferno Bitter, house-made Torino-style sweet vermouth, and bourbon, this is a balanced cocktail that both vermouth lovers and bourbon lovers can get behind. On the nose, it has an intense spicy aroma of dried cherries and orange peel, but it's much more mellow on the palate. The Boulevardier is bitter, then warm, then dry, in that order.
Bag-in-Box Negroni: Bitter, boozy, and unexpectedly refreshing, the St. Agrestis Negroni is an exceptionally well-balanced flavor bomb that makes for the perfect aperitivo. It's slightly more herbaceous than your standard Negroni, which makes it even more drinkable.
Closing Argument: Spending $60 on cocktails for home consumption might sound slightly indulgent, but given the shelf life, serviceable format, and quality of these boxed cocktails, this is a wise investment for your home bar that eliminates the need for any bar tools — no shaking or stirring required. So go and indulge.
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