Shannon Tebay, the first woman to be appointed head bartender of the Savoy Hotel's legendary American Bar in nearly 100 years (and the bar's first ever head bartender from the United States) took a path to bartending was somewhat circuitous, but every step along the way was based on her passion for creativity, which she brings to every cocktail she creates.
In this cocktail, Tebay brings a few twists to the iconic and popular cocktail, the Negroni. Instead of the classic Negroni garnish of an orange, she instead uses strawberries—one to muddle into the drink to add flavor, a lovely pink tinge, and a bit of sweetness, and the second to garnish. Be sure to find the sweetest, most flavorful strawberries you can find at the market for the best version of this drink. If you aren't at a farmers market where you can often try samples, give the package a sniff. They should smell sweet and fragrant.
Pisco, a type of brandy made from distilled wine originating in Peru and Chile (there's disagreement over which country was first to make it) stands in for the usual herbaceous gin. Unlike most brandy you may be familiar with, Pisco is not aged in barrels, and so is clear, or sometimes a very pale yellow. Floral blanc (white) vermouth stands in for the sweet vermouth that would be typical of a Negroni, and Aperol for Campari. Aperol is more orange than red, lower in alcohol, and slightly sweeter than Campari.
Tebay prefers to use a cocktail spoon to gently mix this drink to coax the flavors out of the ingredients until it tastes just right. But how do you know when it's ready? She recommends using a small straw to taste as you stir, and when the drink is bracingly cold and has a smooth, silky texture, it's ready.