5.31.18 / Brooklyn / New York

St. Agrestis’ Negroni and the New Wave of Portable Cocktails

Cocktailing on the go

  • Call it the millennial effect, but these days everything has become streamlined. From the way we get food to the way we start relationships, everything has become a little more simplified. Now thanks to a few new innovative brands like St. Agrestis Spirits, even drinking is becoming streamlined.

    There’s an irony that cocktail innovation is occurring at a time when new reports are constantly suggesting that younger people drink less, but it starts to make sense when you look at the cocktail world. Over the last decade there’s been a steady increase in interest over craft cocktails, leading to a surge in the amount of bars and drink menus. While that’s good for everyone who wouldn’t want to seek out a select few speakeasies, it also leads to menu fatigue. Bartenders, on the other hand, often use pre-batched versions of classic cocktails so not everyone has to wait fifteen minutes for their drinks. Companies have bottled that up and sold them as pricey 750ml bottles in recent years, but now brands like St. Agrestis have realized that the form factor of a pack of beer can have a much broader appeal.

    St. Agrestis sticks to one of the more universally favored cocktails, the Negroni, for their first 4-pack bottled beverage. Though the Brooklyn-based spirit maker is known for amaro, they teamed up with fellow Brooklynites Greenhook Ginsmiths Distillery to blend Greenhook American Dry Gin, red vermouth, and their St. Agrestis Inferno Bitters to create the new summer must-have. The stylish bottles add to the charm; it’s the kind of thing you would want to carry to the beach or bring to a barbecue. St. Agrestis isn’t the only one to catch this new trend. Cutwater has been selling cans of simple cocktails like the Rum and Ginger, or their popular Bloody Mary with Fugu Vodka. Hochstadter’s Slow & Low has become famous for their Rock & Rye, an 84 proof can of rye whiskey, honey, bitters, and orange rock candy (in lieu of a peel). Gosling’s Rum has canned their own Dark & Stormy, while Interboro (another Brooklyn brand) has nailed the canned Gin & Tonic. These join the growing market of canned alcohol like the increasingly ubiquitous rose Ramona and the new segment of spiked seltzer like White Claw (though that competes more with comparatively heavy beer).

    Brands have realized that sometimes it’s more effective to focus on making something convenient rather than trying to be revolutionary. We can see how this market will grow, adding not just classics but bottling up unique offerings that hold up well on a shelf. Maybe this will be what gets the youth (and by that we mean the over-21 youth, of course) back into cocktails, but for the rest of us, they’re still perfect for easy summer drinking.