CulinaryArts@SPAC: “The Negroni with Matt Hranek”

Saratoga Performing Arts Center announces that its CulinaryArts@SPAC initiative will continue with a special “Cocktails and Conversation” event, “The Negroni with Matt Hranek” on Saturday, October 16 from 5:30 – 7pm in the Nancy DiCresce Room at The Pines@SPAC facility. The event will kick-off on the Terrace with hors d’oeuvres by Kim Klopstock of Lily and the Rose and a flight of Negroni variations from author Matt Hranek and mixologist Brendan Dillon, co-owner of Hamlet & Ghost. Following the tasting, WAMC Northeast Public Radio’s Joe Donahue will lead a conversation with Hranek and Dillon to discuss the history of the Negroni, its cultural significance in today’s cocktail culture, and to share stories from the greatest Negroni bars from across the globe. An audience Q&A and book signing with the author will follow. Tickets to attend, including food and drink, cost $30 and are limited. For the health and safety of the attendees, artists, and staff, masks and proof of completed COVID-19 vaccinations will be required prior to entry. Visit for details.

“We’re excited to be able to carry our new culinary and literary programming into the Fall and this event is a perfect synthesis of the two,” says Elizabeth Sobol, President & CEO of Saratoga Performing Arts Center. “We are grateful to Pam Abrams, Kim Klopstock, The Savory Pantry, the SPAC Action Council and the SPAC Junior Committee for helping us to bring this unique event to our community.”

According to legend, Count Camillo Negroni asked his bartender in Florence to stiffen an Americano by replacing the soda water with gin, and thus, created the Negroni — equal parts Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth. In The Negroni: A Celebration of the Iconic Drink, Matt Hranek intones his love for the cocktail, offering a curated collection of recipes, both the classic and dozens of variations, deviations, and delicious reinterpretations in addition to tips on how to choose the optimal gin, bitter, vermouth, and garnish. Hranek takes readers on a journey through the Negroni Frappé from the famed bar Dante in New York City; the Negroni Spagliato from Bar Basso in Milan, where the gin is replaced with prosecco; and the author’s own version, which goes heavier on the gin and lighter on the vermouth. Featuring beautiful original photography of the drinks along with archival imagery of famous Negroni lovers—like Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles— the book highlights the best Negroni bars in the world and their intriguing history, along with interviews from their venerable bartenders. A limited number of copies of The Negroni: A Celebration of the Iconic Drink will be available for sale on site.

Matt Hranek is the author of The Negroni, A Man & His Watch, and A Man & His Car, and the forthcoming book The Martini. He is also a photographer, director, and the founder/editor of the men’s lifestyle magazine WM Brown. He and his family divide their time between Brooklyn and the Wm Brown farm in the Catskills, though he can also be spotted quite often in old-school bars around Europe, Negroni in hand.

This event is presented by the SPAC Action Council and Junior Committee, in collaboration with Pam Abrams and Kim Klopstock as part of “CulinaryArts@SPAC.” The initiative launched in 2020 and features educational classes, food demonstrations, workshops and more to support and spotlight the local culinary community.

Tickets cost $30 per person and include the tastings and discussion. Availability will be limited. All attendees are required to show proof of having completed their COVID-19 vaccination no sooner than 14 days prior to the event. Acceptable forms of proof include vaccination card, a photo of your vaccination card, or the Excelsior Pass. Verification will be required upon entry at the Charlie Gate adjacent to the Hall of Springs entrance. All attendees are required to wear a mask when not eating or drinking. Visit for more details.

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