I lived in New York at one point in my life. Everyone had a triple lock on their apartment. There was the regular lock, for the key, but inside there was also the deadbolt, and the chain. Some people had even more elaborate affairs. If you wanted entry, you had to navigate all those locks. The 3-Lock Box from American craftsman Robert Yarger, which has triple-locked panels, would be right at home. A toast to this trifecta of puzzle box locks comes in the form of a classic cocktail triple play as well. The storied Negroni is one of my favorites, in all its forms and flavors, as evidenced by its many appearances on these pages. It may be the cocktail that I have featured more than any other. I suppose it’s appropriate to be using one to toast another Yarger box, whose work I have probably featured more than any other. The original Negroni, to refresh your memory, is a combination of gin, sweet vermouth and Campari, and was likely invented in the early 1900’s in Florence, although maybe not. For the full semi-factual and fun filled story you can read my prior history of the drink when you need to procrastinate about something. For the 3-Lock Box I was feeling like a fall Negroni was in order, both because the cooling weather calls for fall spirits and because the rich dark woods on the box feel appropriate for the season. I’ve therefore swapped out the gin for a fall favorite – Laird’s Apple Brandy, from America’s oldest distiller. Aged and complex, it can be substituted for bourbon or cognac wherever those may be called for – and wherever else too! Instead of Campari, I used a different amaro which is lighter, with more citrus and spice. I’d like to make a disclaimer here, that unlike solving the 3-Lock Box, enjoying this drink does not require imbibing three of them in a row. Although if you do, please leave a comment, as we’d all love to hear what you have to say at that point. Here’s three cheers to the things in life that keep us guessing, that aren’t always what they seem, or at least not all the time. Cheers, cheers, cheers!


Autumnal Equilocks

1 oz Laird’s Apple Brandy

1 oz Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth

1 oz Amaro Montenegro

Stir ingredients together with ice and strain into a favorite glass. Garnish with 3 locks.


For more about the triple terrific 3-Lock Box see:

Boxes and Booze: Doing a Good Ternary

For prior Negroni variations see: