Boxed Cocktails Are the New Boxed Wine

The St. Agrestis bag-in-a-box Negroni is the perfect large-format summertime cocktail.

St. Agrestis Box Negroni
Photo: St. Agrestis

In this odd pandemic summer, many of the usual comforts of the season are unavailable or curtailed. One of the chief summer pleasures that remains is drinking outside, either in the park or on your roof, balcony, fire escape, or backyard. I’ve been setting up for a friend or two at a time on my roof, evenly spacing folding chairs so that we can maintain social distance, and putting a cooler in the middle filled with beers or a pouch of wine and cups.

It’s hard to do cocktails in this fashion—you either have to pre-make a large batch and bottle it, or do rounds of small servings in a way that’s both conscious of melting ice and possible viral contamination. Luckily, Brooklyn-based Amarro company St. Agrestis came out with the solution to my problem: Bag-in-a-box Negronis.

A large-format boxed cocktail has all the virtues of a pouch or bag of wine. First, there’s a lot of it. The St. Agrestis box has 60 ounces, or approximately 20 three ounce negronis. It sells for $59.99, meaning each cocktail averages about $3, way less than what you’d pay for a good Negroni at a bar in Brooklyn. Second, it comes with a spout that keeps the cocktail fresh. Pls, contrary to boxed alcohol’s reputation for being, well, not very good, the St. Agrestis Negroni is both stylish and made of ingredients you would display on your bar. It includes Greenhook Gin and house-made Torino-style vermouth as well as the cocktail bitters that St. Agrestis is rightly known for. You can have one or two rounds and forget about it for another week, when it’s Negroni time again.

St. Agrestis makes single serving bottled versions of their Negronithat my colleague Maria Yagoda is fond of, and the boxed version is similarly delicious. The Negroni is great on its own—you don’t need more than a glass and some ice, and maybe an orange-peel garnish, to enjoy it. But it’s also great as a base for other drinks. If you want a drink that’s a little less strong, add some seltzer and make a Negroni spritz. If you’re feeling festive, you can top up your Negroni with sparkling wine. Want more tartness? Add orange or lemon. It’s been a huge hit with my rooftop visitors, and I imagine it’ll play equally well in a backyard, beach, or whatever other outdoor celebrations you’ve been managing this summer—without the fuss of attempting mixology outdoors.

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