Photos by Aaron Davidson
“It’s all about drinking what tastes good,” Laurel Elm smiles from behind the bar of Saint Dinette. “But for me, it’s more about the relationship and less about what I’m pouring in your glass.” Elm has been a driving force behind the much-anticipated Lowertown eatery that opened in late June. Early reviews of Saint Dinette rave about the bologna sandwiches and marlin enchiladas, served with the warm hospitality you’d expect from the crew of Strip Club Meat & Fish alumni.
Elm says she intentionally devised a short cocktail list for Saint Dinette. “Choice is the devil,” she says. “That’s our whole approach with food and wine, too.” It began with five cocktails and grew to seven when two killer drinks from the brunch menu demanded an everyday billing. Our current favorite is the Negroni Puebla. “We have influences here from Montreal all the way down to Mexico,” Elm explains. “This drink is our nod to those French colonial cities in Mexico that inspire our menu.”
Elm uses a 3:2:1 ratio for her Negronis—which is far superior to the traditional version that calls for equal parts of all three ingredients. Here, she trades the gin for reposado tequila; the sweet and floral overtones help to mellow the bitter Campari. Note that it’s worth using your best vermouth in such a simple drink with no finishing bitters, and Carpano is the gold standard.
- 1½ ounces reposado tequila (Cazadores)
- 1 ounce Campari
- ½ ounce sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica)
Stir well with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a wide strip of lime zest.