I was in a restaurant in Princeton, NJ last week called The Dinky Bar & Kitchen that’s in a former train station. Most of the original architecture of the station remains intact: the high arched ceilings, the windows, the pass through areas where you would have purchased tickets. Even the menus resemble the old black and white train time schedules, that would change with that quiet whirring kind of noise. It made me think of a recent conversation that I had with my youngest son about the way things like relationships or situations come into our lives. It’s like we’re running along on parallel tracks, totally independent of and often unaware of the other person that’s out there. If our schedules are the same, our trains will pull into the platform at identical times, and for a few minutes we will sit there while our passengers load and unload. That’s when we are presented with the opportunity to glance over and notice one another. Maybe we’ll act impulsively at that moment and say something, or maybe we’ll be more cautious and wait to see if our schedules really are in sync, and try it the next time. That last part is so important though, right? Even if the strongest connection is there, it’ll never work if we can’t be in the same place at the same time and we don’t look at things the same way. Even if we have work to do and things to figure out, there’s every reason to be hopeful, so long as we have real compatibility and are in agreement about the things that matter the most. Otherwise, we’ll run on those parallel tracks forever, always missing one another.
For today’s cocktail, I definitely wanted to go with an equal parts kind of drink that would represent those train tracks for me. I decided on a Negroni riff using Petty’s Island Rye Oak Reserve rum, Amaro Nonino, and Dolin Rouge sweet vermouth. The rum has been aged in barrels that previously held rye whiskey, which imparts a definite spiciness and bit of caramel and vanilla sweetness to it. The Amaro Nonino contributes the bitterness, but it does so in a delicate way so as not to overpower the rum. Similary, the Dolin Rouge brings in the sweet vermouth flavor without the heaviness of Carpano Antica or Punt E Mes. The end result is a well-balanced cocktail in the true spirit of a Negroni: bright, bracing, and smooth all at the same time. It’s what we hope for in the best of relationships, that all begin with just one glance, and a little bit of hope. Cheers to that.
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir until very cold. Strain into an old-fashioned glass over 1 large cube. Express an orange peel over the glass, twist and drop in. Enjoy!