Doc Pepe’s Lab Negroni, Boulevardier Barrel-Aged RTDs

Doc Pepe’s Lab, based in Monterey Bay, has added two new cocktails to its existing barrel-finished product line.

The Negroni and Boulevardier join the company’s four flagships: the Manhattan and Old Fashioned, and Cuvée Reserve styles of each aforementioned.

“Through our aging process, we infuse a level of complexity, dimension and flavor into traditional cocktails,” says Christian Pepe, Doc Pepe’s Lab founder and chief cocktail architect. “Liqueurs and spirits are made in-house from scratch, giving us complete control of the flavor profile from start to finish.”

Doc Pepe’s Lab Negroni contains London Dry Gin, Italian-style sweet vermouth and bitter orange liqueur. Pepe begins his process by distilling a London Dry Gin, made from a maceration of 14 botanicals in American-made neutral grain spirits. Each of the three ingredients are prepared separately, then combined according to the classic Negroni recipe. The entire mixture spends three to six months in Kentucky bourbon barrels, which add caramel and vanilla notes to the cocktail. 

The cocktail is best enjoyed before dinner, the company says, as it can stimulate one’s appetite and aid digestion. Having a salty snack, like nuts or crackers, can calm and balance the bitter notes of the drink while making it taste a little sweeter. 

Doc Pepe’s Lab Boulevardier contains Kentucky Rye Whiskey, Italian-style bitter liqueur, and sweet red vermouth. The cocktail is bittersweet, spirit-driven and can be described as a “Whiskey Negroni.” Doc Pepe’s Lab Boulevardier includes a proprietary Italian-style bitter liqueur, which uses an adaptation of the original “Bitter of Turin” recipe — not to be confused with Amaro. The cocktail uses 10 botanicals, including Cascarilla Bark, which only grows on a few small islands in the Bahamas.

Pepe emulated the style of an early 1900’s Vermouth di Torino recipe, the company says. He uses a Muscat wine from California and historically correct botanicals. There are 18 botanicals in the vermouth, including Wormwood.

The bitter liqueur and vermouth are prepared separately, with each liqueur taking over a month to produce. The rye whiskey is diluted to 90 proof, and then all three ingredients are blended in the same tank before transfer into Kentucky bourbon barrels to age for three to six months. 

The Boulevardier can be enjoyed after dinner due to its strong flavor profile. The featured botanicals help aid with digestion, the company says.

All Doc Pepe’s Lab cocktails can be served on the rocks or “up,” meaning stirred with ice and strained into a chilled cocktail glass — never shaken. The products are line-priced with the Old Fashioned and Manhattan, ranging from $36 to $42 per 750-ml. bottle.

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