Palos y Piedras · Fool's Errand

The Negroni is almost the perfect pre-dinner drink. After all, aperitifs—Campari and sweet vermouth—constitute two-thirds of its build. But that third ingredient, gin, can feel a bit potent on an empty stomach.

If you agree, try making the Palos y Piedras, a drink from Fenway bar Fool’s Errand. Made with Campari and Spanish sweet vermouth, it’s close to being a Negroni itself (and was originally concocted by bartender Cruz Vasquez for Negroni Week in 2019), save for one crucial difference: the substitution of palo cortado sherry for gin.

Not only does this simple swap turn it into a low-ABV dram—the palo cortado gives the drink a drier, less bracing character with creamy and nutty flavors.

The drink’s name, which translates to “sticks and stones” in Spanish, references the sherry’s unique creation process.

“[Palo cortado] occurs when a fino sherry begins to deviate and show alternative characteristics,” says beverage director Brian Callahan. “The cellar master will mark fino sherry [casks] with a vertical line called a palo or ‘stick.’ When removing the cask to become a palo cortado, they cross the palo with a diagonal line called a cortado.”

We think that happy accident is worth raising a drink to—or even a few, considering the lower alcohol content.

Palos y Piedras
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth (Fool’s Errand uses Mata Vermouth Tinto)
1 ounce palo cortado sherry
Orange swath, for garnish

Add all ingredients except orange swath to a mixing glass filled with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a Nick & Nora glass. Express orange swath over the surface of the drink and garnish.

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