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STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Peter Botros, proprietor of the Stone House at Clove Lakes Park

The cocktail portion of the Cookbook contest, only two years in effect, is open to professionals. With that, kudos to former Cookbook winner Jennifer Lamonica, who competed against her son Frank Lamonica: Both put on a great demonstration at the Taste-Off.

It is Peter Botros who won the category, the self-made chef who competes against himself each week with his Chef's Loft concept at the Stone House. Here he runs off the rails from the restaurant's usual offerings and personally cooks for guests in a more intimate setting.

For this cocktail, says Peter, "The inspiration was the first 70-degree day we had in early 2017. It made me think of cocktails perfect for drinking on the outdoor patio." And a Negroni of herbaceousness and fruity refreshment was born.

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Peter explains the elixir's title: "'Cousins' was derived from the brand of Amaro I used for the cocktail, Montenegro Amaro. Although the brand is from Italy, it reminded me of all the people who I met in the restaurant industry who hails from Serbia and Montenegro. They were all hard workers and were very close to one another, often referring to each other as 'cousin.'" Cheers, Peter.


(Makes 1 drink)


1 1/2-ounce Montenegro Amaro

1-ounce Brooklyn Gin

1-ounce peach nectar

4-ounce club soda



Shake together all the ingredients with ice. Pour into a highball glass and served with dried apricot.

-- Peter Botros, Sunnyside, Staten Island