On this episode of the “Cocktail College” podcast,” host Tim McKirdy is joined by Ally Marone and Patty Dennison from New York’s Grand Army Bar to discuss the White Negroni. Beloved worldwide, the White Negroni is often the first stop on many drinker’s journeys down the craft cocktail rabbit hole. Tune in for more.

Listen Online

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

Ally Marone and Patty Dennison’s White Negroni Recipe


  • 1 ounce Suze gentian liqueur
  • 1 ounce gin, such as Plymouth
  • 1 ounce Dolin Blanc vermouth or Cocchi Americano
  • Garnish: grapefruit twist


  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and stir briefly.
  2. Strain into a rocks glass over one large cube of ice.
  3. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

Check Out the Conversation Here

Tim McKirdy: Day of first here in the “Cocktail College” studio in the VinePair Offices, two guests today on “Cocktail College.” One additional pooch in the studio. I’m very, very glad and happy to welcome Ally Marone and Patty Dennison. Guys, welcome to the podcast.

Ally Marone: Thank you, and good morning.

Patty Dennison: Thank you so much for having us.

T: Thanks for joining me today. How are you feeling about this? First, we’re just feeling it out here in the studio.

A: I’m currently petting the pup.

T: That’s helpful. That’s always helpful. Emotional support podcast dog here today. Really iconic cocktail that we’re going to cover a modern classic, I would say, in every sense of the term. We have had these discussions before, what constitutes a modern classic, but the White Negroni really is one of them. Before we get into it, I just wanted to note that sadly the creator of this cocktail, Wayne Collins, passed away earlier this year unexpectedly. Just wanted to give a shout-out to his family and friends, and no doubt the countless people in this industry whose lives he’s probably touched. Certainly the three of us here in the studio today with the White Negroni. Let’s just kick it off. Can you call out the ingredients, Patty, please for those who may not be familiar with it?

P: Yes. I think specifically with Wayne’s iteration. It had three ingredients similar to the Negroni. It’s just going to be gin as I would say the main base spirit Suze and then Lillet Blanc.

T: Like you said there, gin is the main spirit, but without this drink, I certainly would not be familiar with Suze. What do you think of that as well, Ally? Is this a Suze cocktail? The way we’ve said this before about the Negroni, I think that the Negroni is a Campari cocktail and not a gin cocktail, but that’s just my stupid opinion.

A: No, I agree.

T: Do you feel that about the-

A: It’s like yes, the color is so iconic, but just Suze, that’s my baby girl. It’s just like she does complete the White Negroni. Pat and I were just chatting earlier, just like Suze is going in and out all the time. It’s stressful, but just without it, it would not be a proper White Negroni in a sad way. It’s like I rely on it

T: It’s one of those ones, like you can change, tweak some of the other ingredients, but it’s not the same drink without Suze. Just as Campari and Negroni just further putting that one out there.

A: Everyone has to agree.

T: Let’s talk about this through the lens of modern classics. What has been the significance of the White Negroni in modern cocktail culture and where do you think its standing is? Is this a drink that I can rightfully expect to be able to order at most bars, most cocktail bars at least, and they would have the ingredients?

A: I would say so. I think it’s interesting depending where you go when people use Solaris sometimes instead of Suze. I’m like, “Whoa, what you doing?” But also respect that’s your iteration. I will respect it any time, but I do think it is a cocktail that you can order anywhere and almost get the respect of the bartender like, “Oh, okay. I trust your taste. Good palate.” It’s a trusting drink.

P: I really agree, and I also think for me it’s a good way to gauge the bar. We’re talking, there are different subs and different ingredients you can use. For me, using Suze, one, is really important. Then a grapefruit twist is my heart and soul. If I go into a bar and that’s how they make it, I just am like, “Okay, I can trust the cocktails they’re going to make here. You have good taste.”

A: I feel seen.

T: It’s funny too because like you say, it is one of those great calling cards if you go into a bar and you order it and that you can gauge where the bar is at. Another one similar to the classic Negroni, which is one of these cocktails that people often say, if you’re in a spot and you’re not sure about what their mixed drinks capabilities are, order a Negroni because it’s pretty hard to mess up, and everyone has them all. It’s equal parts. It’s somewhat ironic that the story, the history of this drink actually stemmed from not being able to get a Negroni somewhere. Can you tell us about that?

The History of the White Negroni

P: Yes, no, I can talk about it a little bit. It’s funny because all they wanted was a Negroni. They were both in France and there’s no good bars in the area. They’re like, “Okay, we can’t find a place to get a Negroni, there’s not a good bar. Let’s go to our liquor store. Let’s see what the vibe is.” There’s no Campari. There’s none of the things they need, which I think is just crazy now. I feel like in this day and age, there’s just not a world where you’re going to any liquor store and there isn’t Campari.

T: This was Wayne and who was he with?

A: Nick Blacknell.

P: At the time, Nick Blacknell was the director of Plymouth Gin and it was really Nick who is like, “I needed a Negroni right now. It’s a hot day. That is what I want.” I guess just like with the inspiration of being in France, they were like, “Okay, let’s base this on just French ingredients,” and obviously Plymouth because they had a ton of it because he was the director of Plymouth. They saw Suze and were like, “Cool.” Had been introduced to it a couple of years before and was like, “This could be really nice.” Then Blacknell also was like, “I love Lillet.” They bottled the shenanigans, went back to where they were staying, made a couple of this kind of Negroni variations. It sounds like at the time they were using a grapefruit wedge as a garnish. Then after there were like, “More people need to see this and have this, it’s amazing.” How can we get this to the people? I guess that’s where they ended with that. It ended up regaining popularity in like 2010s with Simon Ford, which is crazy and full circle. It’s like we use forged gin primarily in White Negronis. It’s like, wow, that’s a nice little cherry on top.

A: Yes, that’s nice. It’s cute.

T: I feel Plymouth has just been this launchpad and is a brand for so many amazing people in the industry. You mentioned Simon Ford there. We’ve also had Sebastian Hamilton-Mudge on the show before who works there, who has Candra Drinks now. No, just a really iconic gin. As bartenders, how does it feel to you to hear someone come up with such a simple concept and it becomes so iconic? I guess it’s like Phil Ward’s Whack Old Fashioned as well too, right? Do you have that moment where you’re like, “Oh my God, I wish I thought of that?”

A: I guess no. It’s like, thank God someone did, but also what could be next? Has it all been done? Maybe not. I don’t know. There’s so much always being created, but I would honestly say gratitude.

P: Thank you.

A: Thank you so much.

T: Thanks to Wayne there. I believe Wayne too, I think he was pretty big in the U.K. drinks and cocktail scene, I believe in London as well. That’s why those guys have probably been just traveling around France and whatnot. What are you looking for from this drink? Is it something that seems like a sibling to the Negroni beyond the build, just profile-wise, or do you think it’s wildly different?

The Ingredients Used in Ally Marone’s and Patty Dennison’s White Negroni

P: I would say it’s relatively similar, right? I think that to me, the White Negroni is a refreshing but more intense cousin. I love Suze and I can tell you that Suze is probably Ally’s favorite thing on this planet. She’s a bitter girl, very intense. I think that it still has that aperitif vibe that you get from a Negroni, but the Suze smacks you. Suze is one of those things that’s like not everyone likes it. I feel most people like a Negroni. My old boss Adam hates Suze more than anything on this planet.

A: So sad.

T: Really?

P: That’s okay. We all can’t be amazing, and that’s okay.

T: Feel like Suze there’s an aspect to Suze, maybe the bitterness that almost reminds me of Malört, which I think a lot of people will take offense to. I actually don’t hate Malört. I’m not trying to say that just to be like, “Oh, I’m cool. I have a refined palate.” I don’t think it’s as bad as people make out, but it’s that bitter of quality too, right?

A: I feel like when bartenders are really getting into the nitty-gritty of all the ingredients, that is the one ingredient I do feel like I’ve had people say like, “I don’t love Suze,” shocker. It’s just like, compared to most other things, that’s one that I’m most surprised by. I’m like, “Really? It’s just the best. It’s such an icon,” but that is more frequent than like I feel I’ve never heard somebody say like, “Oh, I don’t like Campari, I don’t like Aperol.” Suze is the one, and it’s just like, I guess maybe good because when it’s low on stock. I’m like, “You’re not buying it. I can.” That’s cool, but it is interesting.

T: Is it something that is relatively easy to get hold of here in New York just in terms of supply or it’s one of those ones that maybe can go both ways?

P: It’s just a tricky game.

A: I feel like the world of ordering and what the supply chain is something that I now am familiar with after the pandemic, but it was just that scary, it was like six months, maybe almost a year that you couldn’t get it. I’m just like, people are like, “If you see it in the liquor store,” I feel like that’s like Chartreuse now where people are like, “Oh my gosh, we don’t know what’s going to happen.” With Suze — I know at Grand Army it was like, as soon as it was available, the former beverage director Rob ordered, just like — it’s like the liquor room is only Suze and it’s like, “Rob, we love it, but come on.”

P: Poor planning, we were using a quarter ounce in one of our Spicy Margaritas. We totally f*cked ourselves, basically, and he was just such a planner that he just back-ordered a ton. After he had left, there was a period of time I was getting at least three cases a week for like two months. I was like, “I feel like I can’t tell anybody.” I guess everybody knows now, but we still have so much. I’m just like, I’m so grateful. Oh my God.

T: You spoke there about the Chartreuse situation too, and we were chatting about that recently with Erick Castro, who I believe at the same time was spending a lot of time in your bar. He was staying right around the corner.

P: Yes. I did his podcast last week, so yes. We love Eric. He’s a funny man.

T: I think Suze — I think that polarizing nature there, or for the people that love it, might come down to as bartenders tasting things all the time, you start to seek out things that are more complex. Again, it’s not an ego thing or a flex thing. It’s more like you are used to challenging flavors and you want to try new things. I think that speaks to the appeal of it.

A: Agreed.

T: For those who are listening right now and have never had this drink, and they’re like, “What the hell is Suze?” In a couple of words, it’s a gentian liqueur, but what does that mean?

P: I mean we found some lovely information on Suze, but basically, gentian is the root of a flower, and I guess the best way to describe gentian is just bitter. It’s bitter in a way that takes your tongue over a little bit. They take the gentian root, they macerate it in alcohol for a year and then they press that and distill it and then add a bunch of other shenanigans that nobody knows what it is. That’s why we love Suze and there’s nothing else like her. I think it’s just how it’s bitter to me, but it’s also really citrusy and saffrony and pretty, but it just has that it takes your whole tongue over in a way that Merlot obviously does the same thing. It’s such a unique bitter and that’s — it’s not something I can fully explain until you’ve tried it. Campari doesn’t do it in the same way.

T: No.

A: It’s like if I ever have it, it’s just like grapefruit pith and pine to the face and I love it.

T: I love the color too. Does that come from — you mentioned saffron does that come from saffron, do we know? Probably it does.

A: Probably. But I don’t know.

P: I would say those are like the mystery things. We can’t tell you everything that’s in this, so it’s like, “It could be anything.” I feel like it’s a trap.

T: I once read that Fernet-Branca does include saffron, which you can’t tell, obviously, because the color is like midnight black. Apparently, they buy up 75 percent of the world’s supply of saffron because they use so much. A lot of Fernet gets sold in Argentina, I know for sure but around the world now these days. Apparently, that also is because they have such a high demand for it. That also is part of the reason why saffron is so expensive. I might just be sharing misinformation here, but I’ve definitely read that before.

P: No, somebody told me that a couple of months ago and I was like, “What?” Also again, with the color Fernet. Also, I don’t know if I’ve ever tasted Fernet and been like, “Oh, I’m getting saffron.”

T: Exactly.

A: That’s the one.

P: That’s what I’ve been missing the whole time.

T: You got to assume, though, that it does — again, I’ve never tasted saffron in Fernet, but you got to assume that it does make a difference otherwise, given how costly it is as a producer, you just be like, “Yes, you know what? That’s the first ingredient to go.”

A: That’s wild.

T: It’s a liqueur roughly. How alcoholic is it? What ABV are we talking about here?

A: It’s like 36 percent.

P: Yes 36 percent.

T: It’s not the threshold of a spirit that — we have other spirits that feel more like liqueurs, I guess Chartreuse is one of them, so this one comes in a little bit lower. How else are you using this ingredient beyond, by the way, Spicy Margaritas? That does seem like a bad idea, given that that’s probably one of the most popular cocktails.

P: I know.

T: You’re like, Well, a product that might be hard to get hold of, but what does it bring to that drink and then what other uses are there for Suze?

P: Well, the drink that it was when Robbie was beverage director, I was head bartender and it was our Nick Cage menu and, right so right LOL. Johnny Blaze on spicy Mac, but the goal was we’re using a yuzu kosho, and just like the yuzu and the grapefruit notes that I get from Suze, really amped up the flavor and made the spice like, yes, it was there, but it wasn’t blowing out your palate. We kind of use Suze as a modifier and I would say we still do that. Robbie and I definitely bonded over our love for Suze, because that marriage be like, “Let me get a Suze and tonic.” I was like, “Any day of the week, Rob.”

T: Suze and tonic, yes, that sounds good.

P: Oh yes.

T: An incredibly bitter liqueur, there’s nothing I like more than just adding more bitter there. Quinine-fueled tonic. Just really going at the palate with that one.

A: Yes, that’s not what I can always do, I’m more of a Suze and soda girl, but tonic I go back and forth. Not always for me, I know.

T: I’m actually completely on the same page with you there. I’m the worst Brit ever. I cannot stand the Gin and Tonic and yes, tonic water, I don’t, yes.

A: It’s a lot. The only time I liked tonic, we went on the fly-

P: The fly, yes.

A: I did Madeira and tonic and it was really cool. Just a side note, yes.

T: Nice.

A: That’s the only time I think I was like, “Oh, sh*t this is a very cool combo,” that I would never expect, and I really liked it.

P: I also don’t like tonic. I thought that I didn’t like gin when I was like 16, but LOL. I don’t like tonic. Woo.

T: That’s such a common one though, is it-

A: Thank God.

T: -when it comes to gin? Oftentimes it’s like, “Try it without the tonic. Have a Martini.”

P: Exactly.

T: Yes, there to be there you go.

P: Dare to be different, give it a go.

T: Which is a wonderful segue there, because that is the next ingredient that we’re going to discuss. Would’ve originally been made with Plymouth by circumstance, but personally, I do think that is a great gin for this cocktail. How do you feel about that?

A: I do agree. Either way, Fords or Plymouth, I’d be super happy. Plymouth, there is something about it that’s just like, it lets the vermouth and Suze shine in such a beautiful way. It’s a perfect foundation for that cocktail. Fords has a little bit more of the juniper botanicals going on, which slaps for the drink, but they both are just such good iron forces that can be appreciated.

P: Yes, Plymouth is like a good canvas, right?

A: Yes.

P: It’s a little bit less juniper Ford, a little bit more neutral, and I will say, Plymouth is my call gin, I love Plymouth so much. It allows the other flavors in the drink I feel to really shine and for the gin not to overpower or take over when a lot of American-style gins might ruin it a little bit.

T: Yes.

A: Just a little bit.

T: I have this template where if I’m trying to get people into gin or if people are like, where should I start? I often go with Roku first, because I think that’s even more approachable, but still does meet the criteria for what gin is versus some of these may be new American ones. I’m like, “This is a botanical spirit.” I’m not sure, did you guys use juniper? I’m not sure you know.

A: What’s going on?

T: I go Roku, then Plymouth because I feel like that’s the natural progression there. It’s very citrusy. Then, yes, something like a Fords or a Tanqueray. Yes, Fords, Tanqueray. Fords for me, it is also — we’ve had Simon on the show. It’s not hidden, our love of that particular product on this show. Fords for me, is one of those ones where if I see it on a liquor store shelf, I’m buying it. I continue to be astounded by how good value is. I bought a bottle — Yes.

A: High-prize, yes.

T: I bought a bottle the other day on Saturday at my local liquor store. This is New York. I was expecting to pay maybe $30 and up $26. I could not believe that.

A: I know. Frankly, it’s a steal. Don’t change it.

T: It is a steal. Yes. Simon, if you’re listening, please don’t put the prices up, nor our friends over there at Brown-Forman. Guys, it’s good as it is.

A: Consistency is key. Don’t change it.

T: What if you wanted to shake things up with this cocktail, though, on the gin front? Do you have any wildcards for us today?

A: Honestly, do you know what I want to say?

P: I don’t know, but I want to hear what you’re going to say and then see if we’re on the same page. I feel like one that, oh — On the count of three.

A: No?

P: I love Bimini. It’s a beautiful gin for men. When I taste it, it– All right, follow me here. It’s like you know how Solaris tastes like sugar snap peas, Bimini does that for me. It’s more vegetal than anything. I feel like that can play really nicely with Suze, so that’s my wild card. I would be like, “If you want to get a little crazy, pick something else on the shelf, give it a go.” That would do.

A: It’s nice because my gin also starts with a B, but it’s not Bimini, which is fun because we would have been so close when we would have said it. I think I would probably go Boatyard.

P: Pop up.

A: Relatively new in the American market, but they use this local botanical called sweet gale, which to me gives that savory seaweedy vibe going. I feel, in a way, that it’s a relatively classic, like London drying style, even though it’s from Ireland. It would give just another note into the White Negroni that I do think would again pair well with the Suze and be a nice little savory undertone.

P: Yes, all back to Suze man.

T: Nice. That Boatyard, is it?

A: Yes.

T: I’ve recently just come across this myself and I like to think I keep on top of things on the gin scene. Actually, if you avert your eyes over here to the bar later on today, I think I’ve got about 80 to 100 bottles of gin to taste for you. Today is very much a good day.

P: Oh, wow.

T: Yes, I just came across Boatyard recently. I went to the Bar EMP just down the road here, and they’re using that as their well gin, and for Martinis, I’m like, “This is a new one and this is delicious.”

A: It’s class.

T: Seek that one out, folks.

A: Yes. It’s very good. Michael Smoley is the rep. We love Michael Smoley, beverage director at The Nomad for a while, but we were using it at Hawksmoor in the ultimate Vesper and then we then ended up getting in a Grand Army and it’s just like, great in a Martini, great in a Negroni, just like a solid gin.

P: Yes, also good in a gin and soda too.

T: Nice.

P: She’s a good girl.

T: I mentioned earlier — again, this opinion that I have about the Campari, the Negroni being a Campari cocktail because I don’t think the gin really can have too much of an influence on that drink. That’s just me personally. What about for the White Negroni though? How much does the gin matter? Or is it more of a case of, “You want something that compliments the other ingredients rather than the gin that can take this cocktail in crazy directions?”

P: Yes, I feel like right when you were talking about Plymouth and it’s just like a perfect canvas, I think that is the baseline when you’re working on a White Negroni because if you are working on or going to use an American gin that has off the shelf wild botanicals, you’re going to know. I was just creeping through some random bottles that Damon has stashed in the liquor room at Grand Army, and there was this one gin that was with peppermint and lavender and that sh*t was crazy. It’s like, “If that was in a White Negroni, it would just be like I feel toothpaste minty,” and it would just get so confusing to the palette, so it’s like, I would say the gin is quite important to be more of a low key, but for that reason.

A: Yes I would say just something relatively classic. Doing something that’s like London Dry style. It’s just if there’s 50 botanicals in it — again, it’s like, “Is this gin? What’s the vibe? ” and so-

P: What are you?

A: -I think focusing on what’s classic for me is what I want at least.

P: Yes. Agreed.

T: Yes and while we’re on this subject or we’re talking about some of those maybe wilder botanical and floral American gins, what’s your go-to with those? Is that simply one where you might be like, “I like this with soda, but it doesn’t meet the bill for classic gin cocktails?”

A: One thousand percent. Right. That’s why the well is so important, it has to be so consistent, but then you can have a fun gin back bar space and just be like, “These are all of our different characters we have. These are why.”

P: Yes, I think my thing with American gin is I’ll do it in a gin and soda. I’ll do it in a Gimlet, a Collins and Amass, for instance, a good example for me. Delicious in a gin and soda, toss a grapefruit wedge and they’re amazing, but I don’t know if I want that in a Martini.

A: Yes.

T: Yes.

P: And that’s just my personal preference. It’s like when people get Hendrick’s and a Dirty Martini, I’m like, “There’s rose and cucumber in it and you’re getting it with olive brine, that sounds so gross to me.” I just think there’s just a lot — that’s my palate but everyone’s is different but to me that style of gin is good and a light, refreshing drink as opposed to maybe a spirit board cocktail.

A: Yes. I think that’s why it’s just so much more fun to really understand the ingredients behind the label and just have a great understanding of, like, you should put a grapefruit in there. This is what should maybe avoid tonic and be a little too crazy. It’s a powerful spirit for being just so obtainable in a really lovely way.

T: I should note as well, I keep saying these American gins, this is not a phenomenon that is exclusive to America. One we can call out as well, just so in the interests of being equal here. Nolet’s is another one from Holland or from the Netherlands. That is pure raspberries and petals for me. I’m like, “That’s not a Martini,” but it’s a delicious product.

P: Right, exactly.

T: The next component of the drink here, we got Lillet. I’m very happy that this is a modern cocktail because we don’t need to get into the whole argument of the Vesper where it was like, “Lillet is not what it used to be.” Actually, do we use Lillet because that’s the name or is it a different profile? How do you feel about that? How do you feel about Lillet in general? We don’t need to put that one out there, right? We can assume that the Lillet they make this cocktail with is the one we’re drinking today.

P: Yes. They got some old Lillet from the early — prior to what, ’86 or whatever when it was, but, yes, I like Lillet. Lillet was probably one of the first things that I was like, “Oh, I can drink this with soda,” and it has a lower ABV. The orange in it is really pretty. She’s very beautiful. We also and I’m sure we’ll eventually talk about this. Ally likes Cocchi Americano instead of Lillet. Which is so funny because you brought up the whole argument about Lillet is not what it used to be. They took so much Quinine out. I like bitter. I have a love-hate relationship with bitter. Ally loves bitter. Like with Amaro and stuff, I just can’t hang in the same way she can. I like Lillet. I like Bianca Vermouth. That’s where I am more flexible than I think she is, where it’s like, I mean, you can speak, but want Cocchi Americano as opposed to it.

A: That would be my preference. I love Cocchi Americano. I would die for it. I wouldn’t be upset if someone used Lillet. I would never say anything and be like, “Party on, make the drink how you want.” In my house, it’s always going to be Cocchi Americano. I love it.

T: Interesting. What does that bring to the drink that you think maybe Lillet doesn’t? What does it bring to the party?

A: See, this is ironic because this is the thing that Pat will taste and hate. It does have a gentle baking spice I feel like more than I get from Lillet. It just adds a little bit more complexity to the White Negroni. It’s just like, right, she’s like bright citrus, piny, bitter, and then like a very soft cinnamon note. I love that so much. I think grapefruit and cinnamon is like holy matrimony, just meant to be. Pat is like, “I hate the cinnamon. This is all I could taste.”

P: It’s just like if it’s in a Vesper and I’m tasting cinnamon in a start up drink, I’m like, “What the f*ck is happening right now?” Why does this just like someone put cinnamon syrup in it. That’s not something I noticed until recently. It was when I was at Hawkesbury we were R&D-ing the ultimate Vesper. Every single time we made it it was like, “Why does this taste like cinnamon?”

A: The cinnamon challenge is here. It’s happening.

P: I still don’t like it. I like Americano but there is that cinnamon thing that I feel like I know there’s certain things that people are sensitive to perceiving and there’s something about the cinnamon in Americano that I’m just immediately like, “Oh my God, why is my entire mouth filled with cinnamon right now?”

A: I just got one more gentle, but I love it.

T: I had this thing recently where and again, I get through a lot of gin at home and I have a decanter and when it’s like if I don’t have enough to make a full Martini with a gin, then the rest of the bottle goes in the decanter. I also maybe have some small sample bottles. I had one recently, it’s been in my house forever, I don’t know where it came from actually. It was from Four Pillars in Australia and it was a dedicated Negroni gin. Rather than tasting, I was just trying to clear shelf space so I took the lid off and I dumped it in the decanter. I went to make a Martini later that day with the GinFinity bottle as some people like to call it and all I get is cinnamon from that gin. It was cinnamon-forward. I’ve been working my way through this decanter trying to top it up with Junipero just to make sure we’re going full juniper in the other direction. I still can’t dilute this cinnamon flavor. I’m not going to drain-pour it and I’m sure it makes a phenomenal Negroni that gin too, but I just can’t get past that cinnamon.

P: This is so funny.

T: Yes, that’s a weird one.

P: Yes, another thing sounds lovely and a classic Negroni, but if we’re doing it in a Martini, I’m a little weird. A little weird.

T: It’s very rare that I’ll pour a Martini down the sink but that one, I might not have finished that one if I’m being honest when I made it with that. There we go.

P: Martinez.

T: Yes, there you go. That could work.

P: That could be sneaky.

T: I just don’t know. I’m just too singular, my focus is on that one.

A: Can’t let it go.

T: Here’s an interesting one for us today because this being the first time we have two guests. Typically at this point, we’ll turn around and we’ll ask what’s your preparation and your recipe for this drink. Are we having a situation today where we’re going to have two recipes? I’m assuming the preparation might be the same or have you been able to come together over the Cocchi versus Lillet battle?

How to Make Ally Marone and Patty Dennison’s White Negronis

P: If I’m making the ideal White Negroni, for myself, I’m using Dolin Blanc instead of Lillet or Cocchi Americano.

A: Pop, pop.

T: Interesting.

P: I love Dolin Blanc, I love blanc vermouth. Blanc vermouth could be my favorite thing on this planet. Specifically, there’s something about Dolin Blanc that is lovely. If I’m making one for myself at my home, that’s probably what I will pull and Ally is going to disagree, and that’s okay.

A: I also love it specifically at home so no one’s around to see-

P: Yes. No.

T: To see the grind that you’re committing though. No, it’s interesting though, actually, you remind me of something I did want to ask when we’re talking about the conception of this drink, which is, if — I don’t know whether they had the Negroni — yes, they did have the Negroni in mind because that’s what they wanted to drink. It’s interesting that they didn’t go with Blanc vermouth, and they went with Lillet instead, because they’re in France. Dolin is a French brand, you would assume that would’ve been available, but I guess-

A: Honestly.

P: Maybe there were this really niche liquor store. They only had Lillet and Suze there, and that’s it. It all came together for them.

A: Maybe.

T: Yes. They’re like, “No, we don’t do Campari.” “We don’t do big brands, we just do more esoteric stuff.” I don’t know.

P: Figure it out.

T: Interesting liquor store. All right. Well, let’s do that then. Let’s go each of your ultimate White Negronis.

A: What are your specs Pat?

T: You can kick it off, Patty.

P: Okay. I’m doing classic eagle parts. When I have a Negroni, unless it’s like Mezcal Negroni, Boulevardier, where I might up the base spirit a little bit. With just the typical Negroni, I want it to be 1, 1, 1 so obviously Suze. It would’ve been a real wild card if I would’ve been like, “I only use Solaris and my White Negronis.” I would’ve had to leave the studio, but always Suze. Gin wise, like if I had to choose, I would probably choose Plymouth. I just really like Plymouth as a gin. Then, Dolin Blanc, we’re stirring it, we’re putting it. If I want it to be slow dilution, so just like a quick stir. Then if there’s a large chunk of ice that we could use and put in, that would be great, but I also put it whatever. Stirred up Negronis are so gross to me. As soon as they heat up, and get warm, there’s something about the sugar and the bitterness that is so off-putting to me. It needs to be on the rocks. Then grapefruit twists. The grapefruit twists make it all come together. I feel like it got famous, right? Everyone was using an orange, that’s like all the specks that you really see. In a lot of places, I feel like lemon is also pretty common. It’s the grapefruit twist, it might numb my tongue a little bit, and that’s okay. That to me, ties it all together in such a pretty way.

A: Honestly, I agree with everything. I would do Cocchi Americano instead of Dolin Blanc. I do respect Dolin Blanc, you know what I mean? You have your right to make your White Negroni however you want.

P: I’m glad we can still be friends after the podcast, Ally.

A: However, our house back at Grand Army is Cocchi Americano.

T: That’s the house back at Grand Army?

A: Yes, yes.

T: Interesting. I never knew we you had a room full of Lillet haters in here, right? No. No, I’m joking. I’m joking of course. I believe actually that was the first ever version of the drink that I had too was with Cocchi Americano, and it really popped, and with a grapefruit. It’s not often that you get a grapefruit garnish either, is it?

A: Which feels wild because I feel like that’s what it should be, but hey, it’s okay.

P: Yes. Maybe it’s just like, not all bars have grapefruits. I feel like that could honestly be– but then if I’m like, if you don’t have grapefruit, I’m probably gonna go the limit over orange. I don’t know what you — but like-

A: Oh, it’s tricky. I don’t know. I feel like-

P: Maybe that’s like the orange would go better with the Americano, and that’s where-

A: Oh.

T: There you go.

P: A little orange, a little cinnamon. It’s a happy day.

T: I feel like your neighbor, there over at Long Island Bar, Phil Ward. I feel like he does use a grapefruit garnish for his Martini, or a Martini.

P: You’re right.

T: Am I making that up?

P: No, you’re definitely right. That’s what you’re also making me think of too. The White Negroni Sbagliato, God’s gift to this earth.

T: Oh, yes. We haven’t gotten into that though.

P: That is an orange twist and a cucumber. I love that combo for that specific Bev.

T: What a wonderful drink, and is that with Prosecco? Are we needing to clarify that still these days? Did you ever get that? Did that phenomenon that was very online, did that ever make it into the bars via guest? It did? You’re nodding your heads here.

P: It’s the only time I’ve ever made a Sbagliato at Grand Army was after that video came out. There were two weeks where it was like, I’m like, “Just because you’re on Instagram.” It’s funny because that’s probably my go-to brunch cocktail. I like classic Negroni Sbagliato slaps. Now I’m like, “Wow. Now am I basic?” Now I’m just like, “Oh yes, I also have Instagram and saw this video.”

T: If you were to order that now, do you have to order it with a qualifier? Like, “I liked this drink before it was famous,” or do you just own it, and you’re like, “Whatever.” Yes.

A: I’ll just own it, right?

P: Yes. I don’t care. I will. Yes. The White Negroni Sbagliato. Best cocktail in New York City. I live really close to Long Island Bar. I frequent it with Ally usually, pretty often. I can drink so many of them, and probably not in a good way. If the cucumber garnish is there, just like brings it’s — I don’t know. It’s magic.

A: It is magic.

P: It’s so simple and so good.

A: Many positive memories, truly.

T: What a bar? Shame about the owner. He’s a bit of a dry guy, isn’t he? Otherwise, I love that place, actually. Shame about the bartenders as well, Phil Ward. What a hack. Anyway, that’s the preparation of the drink. When we said garnish, glassware, we’ve got that. I guess this is the point of the show when we say, do you have any final thoughts on the White Negroni?

A: What would I say? I don’t know. I hope people aren’t afraid of Suze and are willing to try it. I feel like I have a lot of family friends who are like, “Your job is so cool, blah, blah, blah,” but will you try this Bev? Would you give it a go? I hope that if people haven’t tried the White Negroni yet they will because it is truly a world class cocktail. I feel like the color of Suze can be intimidating, it’s so electric, it’s insane. I will say and I think the way that the White Negroni was in the cocktail movement in New York in 2010, that’s when it started gaining popularity and I feel like everyone’s palettes have matured. I would easily say the first White Negroni I had was with you when I was a bar back at Blacktail and Ally was a bartender. We became very good friends and I think it was one of those things and in my life where I was becoming a mature adult and that was one of the first spirit-forward cocktails I actually enjoyed. Also Bitter because at that point, bitter is a pretty overwhelming flavor, especially as a 22-year-old, but it can be a little offensive. I think for myself it helped me mature my palate a little bit and then just doing more research on the drink it was cool that it felt like we stopped — America stopped drinking really dry vodka Martinis and Cosmos and started drinking White Negronis, and then Penicillins and all of that, and it was just cool to be, “Oh I feel that’s how I evolved too.”

P: I feel like it is a cocktail. It’s like trust your bartender. This is an impeccable cocktail if you give it a go, you might be changed forever.

T: I think I also had one of those moments as well where the White Negroni was one of the first cocktails that I ever geeked out over and enjoyed. Wasn’t the first that I tried, but it was during the period that I really got into cocktails. It was like that there, so I feel personally I owe a lot to this drink, and owe it to Wayne, but also I got to say as well. I’ve got one final thought here which I mentioned up top but it’s like I think this might be if not the number one, then it’s in the conversation of top three most famous modern classics that has internationally spread around the world right. You could probably put the Cosmo if you want it in that equation. Hats off to Toby Cecchini actually, he’s not such a bad guy, maybe not considered in that realm but this is one of those drinks that’s broken through into somewhat of the mainstream.

A: Totally, I agree. I feel like some people don’t even think the Cosmo is a modern classic. They just assume it’s a classic because everyone has assumed it’s just been around for so long.

P: Yes, that’s a good point.

Getting to Know Ally Marone and Patty Dennison

T: Yes. Fantastic. All right then, well let’s head into the next section of the show, finish with our five weekly quick hit questions. I’m going to start with — you’re both going to get the opportunity to answer all of them. It’s 10 today, we’ll start with Patty for this one though. What style or category of spirit typically enjoys the most real estate on your back bar?

P: Oh wow. I don’t know if I’m going to say this with the most joy of my entire life. I think probably, and Ally, if I’m wrong, please let me know. I think American whiskey probably takes up the most real estate at Grand Army.

A: It do be them.

P: It’d be cool if it was like vermouth, but that was refrigerated and on the back bar because refrigerate your vermouth. I think it’s just down to what the people want. A lot of people love American whiskey, and that’s amazing. Do I love aged rum and Scotch a lot? Yes, but a lot of people that come to Grand Army don’t love it quite as much as I do and that’s okay, but we are.

T: I’m totally with you on that one. There’s a lot of good quality products out there, too. I know you’re not saying that they’re not. Especially bourbon, just the demand for bourbon right now is unreal.

A: It’s wild.

P: People love it.

A: It’s such a trip.

P: Don’t get me wrong, I like bourbon. Especially the spiciness of rye and where that can get a little bit more complex and really cool. It just seems more often than not, that’s where we’re getting more heavily called for spirits. It’s in bourbon, rye categories and specifically bourbon. People love bourbon and people love specific bourbons. I feel like in a way that might be a little bit different than every category where it’s like, there is the Woodford Reserve drinker, there is the Elijah Craig drinker, and that is the bourbon that they always drink at their house. I don’t know if it’s the same with every spirit.

A: It’s a very loyal spirit, the people that it attracts.

P: I actually had a guest the other day that really wanted– he was looking for a bourbon and then he was just like, “What are all the bottles behind you?” I was just like, “Oh, the rum section?” I actually had him try some aged rums. He was like, “Oh, sh*t.” I was like, “See? It’s nice.” It’s like, we definitely have a sh*t ton of American whiskey. You could tell the lads before us at Grand Army, that was their pride and joy and respect. I think our goal, we love Amaro, we love rum, we love mezcal, we love Scotch, Irish whiskey. It’s like the balance is definitely — we’re getting there. We’re just excited.

T: Nice. I guess another candidate or one that’s probably creeping up very fast these days is tequila, but probably less need to have such an extensive back bar of tequila unless you’re maybe in a place like La Honda because of the nature of how people drink it, right?

P: Totally, yes.

T: People are drinking it in mixed drinks and therefore a couple of bottles will suffice. Nice. All right, question number two here, Ally, which ingredient or tool do you believe to be the most undervalued in a bartender’s arsenal?

A: We’ve chatted about it. I would say our favorite thing to use for cocktails especially is sherry. Goodness, gracious.

T: Interesting.

A: Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. I would say my love and appreciation for sherry start with Gregory Buda, Dead Rabbit. The man popped in everything and I was like, “I get it now. I understand.” A young 21-year-old, I was just like, “Everything’s different.” Ever since then, sherry just adds so many flavors and just complexity. It’s my absolute favorite ingredient aside from Suze to add to a cocktail. Also just to enjoy. It’s such a beautiful spirit. Oh my goodness.

P: When we were doing R&D on the last venue, I was like, “Ally, is there a world in which you put sherry in every cocktail at this venue?” Because it was whenever we were at a point where we were like, “Oh, I’m not sure what to add,” Ally was always like, “Sherry,” and I was like, “There’s sherry in eight of the cocktails already we cannot.” I’m being dramatic, but it is really nice. I was looking at these questions and I knew what Ally was going to say. Especially with the different styles of sherry, fino and manzy can give you something, and then you get into the oloroso realm and that realm gives you such a lovely, nutty, oxidized flavor. Then you go all the way to PX and it’s like now you’re adding sugar, you’re adding a dried fruit characteristic. I feel like the fact that there’s just so many different flavors and opportunities, it can be a lovely modifier for any style of drink as opposed to just maybe one thing. It’s a nice little salt and pepper. It adds that one little thing that you’re like, “Oh, I don’t know what that is, but I think I like it.” At Grand Army, a lot of times it’s sherry.

T: All right. I’ve got an idea for it here for you.

P: Wow.

T: Here’s the pitch, because obviously at Grand Army you have really fun, interesting-themed menus. You spoke about Nick Cage earlier there. How about this one, Frankie Valli menu? Then underneath it just says, “Sherry. Sherry baby.” Then Sherry’s in every single cocktail. I feel like that’s the way you get away with it.

P: Honestly, it’s not bad. It’s not a bad idea, maybe for fall-winter, because our summer menu has been decided. Unfortunately.

T: I think you’re just being kind to me there about a terrible bad dad joke that I just cracked, but I appreciate the sympathy there, but yes.

P: It’s like I see the route. You know what I mean?

T: Yes.

P: I’ll let it marinate. We’ll put it in the cards. Now people might expect it.

T: I’m also a Frankie Valli fan, to be honest with you.

P: It’s a vibe.

T: Jersey Boys.

P: Yes. Oh, man.

T: It’s all good.

P: Sometimes they’ll come on at Grand Army. It’s a good vibe. Pick up the beat.

A: Everyone gets a shot of sherry. Wooh.

T: There you go.

P: Actually, that’s cute.

T: I feel like this idea’s evolving. Could happen. Who knows?

P: It could.

T: Who knows?

A: Also, we’ve done crazy things.

T: Yes, I feel like Frankie Valli’s better than the Spice Girls. I’m not sure.

P: A hot take. I feel that there’s going to be some comments on the podcast.

T: Oh. That’s it, the interview ended earlier. All right. Then we’ll move that one on. What’s the most important piece of advice you’ve received while working in this industry?

P: I thought about that a lot and I feel I’ve gotten so many different amazing things from so many amazing people. Honestly, it’s one of Hawksmoor’s core values. I think it was just nice because it reminded me of how I should act and one of the things is work hard and be nice to people. I think that just growing up, that was something that was always so important to my parents. I also feel like we’re in hospitality, we’re trying to be hospitable all the time. You don’t know what happened to the people you work with, the people that are in your bar earlier in the day. I feel as long as I’m just doing my job the best I can do and just being a genuinely kind person, it goes so much farther than you think. I don’t think people always think about other people’s feelings and what they’ve gone through that day. I’ve had people coming to the bar and I’ve just really been a homie with them and we’ve really gotten along and they’ve been like, “I’ve had a really sh*tty day and you’ve made it better.” I’m like, “That’s literally my goal.” My goal is to make one person have a better day every day. I feel that is a good, just general rule to maybe do that.

A: Yes. Wow.

T: I love that. Work hard and be nice to people.

A: I know, it’s so efficient.

T: It sounds like you shouldn’t have to say it but we — It’s one of those things that is actually if it’s top of mind, you enact upon it.

P: It’s easy to get lost in translation, just caught up in your own shenanigans.

T: How about yourself there, Ally?

A: I feel I have such a split too. It touches on Pat’s. Be curious, not judgmental. That was like Jack McGarry’s signature in his emails and like Ted Lasso says it to all women. It’s just so powerful. It’s just like if you lead with curiosity, the world can be yours, and just to not be judgmental, it’s just because life is hard, just be kind. Also my other favorite thing, clean as you go.

T: Clean as you go.

A: Pat and I are both CIA kids and it’s just like, “Hey man, you’re busy.” I have those hands full at all times. Clean as you go. Make the space nice because it just makes somebody else’s day easier. It’s all about being nice to people basically.

T: Yes and being nice to yourself right? Cleaning as you go because when you get into the weeds, somewhere down the line in service and that thing you didn’t organize earlier or put away, you’re going to hate your past self.

A: Exactly. You’re just like, look out for the future you. Keep it clean. Keep it nice. Makes life a lot easier.

T: Time to lean, time to clean, now

A: Pop-pop.

T: There we go out.

P: We worked first of all at Blacktail. He said that so much. I was just like, “Yes, you’re right. I should be pleading.”

A: You’re correct.

P: I will stop pleading now. Correct.

T: I feel like that’s an annoying one.

A: It’s so true.

T: It’s true. Coming back to you again here. Ally, if you could only visit one last bar in your life, what would it be?

A: It would be Blacktail any day of the week. That was the best place aside from Grand Army that I’ve worked, and holds such a special place in my heart. I would open it back up and just have a Daiquiri one more time. Just hang out any day.

T: Nice. How about you Patty?

P: I can’t say that as well, but after Blacktail closed another bar that is also closed, we all went to Diamond Reef so much. There’s just something about that bar that has a special place in my heart. Whether it be the Piña Chillins or the $4 hotdogs, the little slick of ice on a frozen mug is God’s gift to this earth. That is potentially my favorite thing on this planet. We had so many good times there and it was such a nice haven for us. Such a good bar. Also, we were really bad at Trivia but would go every Monday.

A: Such a good time. Actually, the bartender there would always remember, I would get a Suze and soda every time, no questions asked, just to bring it back.

T: Brilliant. Full circle right there.

A: Such an impeccable bar.

T: Nice.

A: Come back.

T: All right. Final question for each of you today. If you knew that the next cocktail you drank was going to be your last, what would you order or make?

A: Patricia?

P: I would have a frozen Piña Colada with a Smith & Cross float. Thank you. Will pass her neck for introducing that to me. There’s a level of comfort and happiness that I feel like that gives me. Also, Coco Lopez is just maybe the best-tasting thing besides Suze obviously. I’m a rum girl at heart. Maybe because the first bar I ever worked at was Blacktail, but that puts me in such a comforting place.

T: Ally.

P: So corny.

A: Just wait, just wait. It would be a White Negroni. I love it very much. It’s my favorite first drink I made at home as a young bartender because I was like, “This is sick. How do I do this?” I’ll just never forget. I love it so much. It’s my favorite cocktail. Really honored to be talking about it today on the podcast. Thank you, Wayne. That’s the one.

T: Fantastic. Well, Ally, Patty, thank you so much for joining us here in the studio today. It’s been a blast.

A: Yes, same.

P: Honestly, such a lovely day. It was lovely chatting about such an amazing cocktail, and having a dog while we were doing it.

T: Wondering whether some of her panting will make it into the final audio or not. Darbi’s going to have to work his magic.

A: I hope so.

T: All right then, thanks, everyone. Cheers. Let’s go buy some gentian liqueurs and Cocchi Americano or Lillet, who knows, and mix up some White Negronis.

A: Dolin Blanc for sweet Pat. Thank you.

T: Cheers.

OK, that was a lot of info, but here’s the good news. Every single episode of VinePair’s “Cocktail College” is also published on VinePair.com as a transcript. So you can check it out there all over again.

If you enjoy listening to the show anywhere near as much as we enjoy making it, go ahead and hit subscribe, and please leave a rating or review wherever you get your podcasts — whether that’s Apple, Spotify, or Stitcher. And please tell your friends.

Now, for the credits. “Cocktail College” is recorded and produced in New York City by myself and Keith Beavers, VinePair’s tastings director and all-around podcast guru. Of course, I want to give a huge shout-out to everyone on the VinePair team. Too many awesome people to mention. They know who they are. I want to give some credit here to Danielle Grinberg, art director at VinePair, for designing the awesome show logo. And listen to that music. That’s a Darbi Cicci original. Finally, thank you, listener, for making it this far and for giving this whole thing a purpose. Until next time.