Florence Opens Its Doors To The Fourth Edition of the Florence Cocktail Week

Cocktail week D1-79

Following the success of its past editions, Florence Cocktail Week (FCW) will make its return from the 6th to the 12th of May. Founded and organized by Paola Mencarelli and Lorenzo Nigro, the weeklong event dedicated to mixology “Made in Florence” serves up a sundry calendar consisting of master classes and night shifts, featuring Italian and international guests, round tables and gatherings aimed at professionals and enthusiasts.

Now in its fourth edition, FCW has established itself as the most anticipated spring event by international and local mixology professionals and cocktail lovers, boasting an always-richer schedule. All of this is made possible thanks to the support of important sponsors and partners, such as Campari, Fratelli Branca Distillerie, Ginarte, Marchesi Frescobaldi, Martini&Rossi, Michter’s, Molinari, Plantation Rum, World Class Diageo and more.

FCW selects the best cocktail bars in Florence and Tuscany, and is backed with the patronage of the Municipality of Florence, which will also act as a partner for the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Negroni, the historic Florentine cocktail renowned worldwide.

During the FCW, every night is a party that brings a vivacious vibe to the city’s establishments, all easily reachable by foot or by bicycle (the Mobike service is available, as always). Thus, everyone can enjoy a completely safe mixology experience – based on personal tastes and preferences – in the unique and evocative surroundings of Florence. All of the events and master classes are free-of-charge and open to the public, with the only cost being that of the cocktails.

30 cocktail bars in Florence have been selected to participate in the 2019 FCW – with an increase compared to 2018 – and each establishment will present a cocktail list featuring 4 cocktails crafted for 4 special categories: a Signature Cocktail (a Negroni with a twist), a RiEsco a Bere Italiano, an I Love Bitter and a Green Drink, for which bartenders are given free rein to their creativity to whip up enticing mouth-watering concoctions.
Quality drinking and drinking responsibly will be the common thread between all of the moments of this densely packed weeklong event.

Le novità del 2019


Round Table on Negroni, with the patronage of the Municipality of Florence

Saturday, May 11, there will be an institutional Round Table by the title “The Century of Negroni. History, protagonists and evolution of the most loved Italian cocktail in the world,” with the patronage of the Municipality of Florence, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Negroni. Doing the honours will be Luca Picchi, author of the book “Negroni Cocktail, leggenda italiana,” and some of the most prominent experts of the Italian and international mixology scene: Fulvio Piccinino, Manager of Saperbene.com, expert and writer of Italian spirits, Alessandro Pitanti, Campari Academy Brand Ambassador, Roberta Mariani, Martini Global Ambassador, Mauro Mahjoub from Münich, known in the trade as the “King of Negroni”, and two icons of Italian bartending in London, Salvatore Calabrese “The Maestro” and Peter Dorelli, Educational Officer and National Ambassador UK Bartenders Guild. Guests of honour Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller from London, and David Wondrich from New York, among the main authorities worldwide on cocktail history. The event will be moderated by Federico Quaranta, radio and television host.

 

Tuscany Cocktail Week | TCW
For the very first time, FCW will also include a selection of 49 Cocktail Bars in Tuscany, which, starting from the week ahead of the event will each present a craft cocktail list consisting of 3 drinks: a creative Signature Cocktail, with which the bartenders will take part in the Final Contest, a Negroni with a twist (to celebrate the 100th anniversary), and an I Love Bitter (Amari/Bitter). At the Final Contest will participate only 10 cocktail bar (1 each city).
FCW Awards Ceremony
The yearly Contest starring the best Florentine bartenders will be substituted with the FCW Awards Ceremony. A party will be held on Sunday May 12th, and for the occasion sponsor companies will award the winning bartenders and cocktails for the different categories.

The final day of this edition is Sunday May 12th, which will also feature the second edition of RiEsco a Bere Italiano, the first edition of the Final Contest of the Tuscany Cocktail Week, the not-to-be-missed Under 25 Young Talent Contest, and the highly anticipated FCW Awards Ceremony.

Not-to-be-missed events

As for previous editions, prominent personalities from the Italian and international mixology scene will take part in the weeklong event, working alongside local bartenders during a series of master classes and night shifts.

Matteo di Ienno, head bartender of Locale Firenze, and Federico Pasian, head bartender of Quaglino’s London, will kick off the FCW on Sunday, May 5 at Locale Firenze serving up a cocktail list dedicated to the 100 years of Negroni, “Peter and Camillo back in Florence.”

But that’s not all, with more exciting events at Locale on Tuesday, May 7 with Antonio Naranjo, Bar Owner of Dr. Stravinsky, Barcelona, and on Thursday, May 8 with “World Class meets The Clumsies” (by World Class Diageo), featuring Vasilis Kristizis of The Clumsies, Athens – 7’ World’s 50 Best Bars 2018.

On Monday, May 6 visit the terrace of Hotel Kraft will host an aperitivo by Marchesi Frescobaldi, while the OOO, The Student hotel Florence will get ready to shake things up with “Bar Milano” (by Martini&Rossi), an event dedicated to Milanese mixology, featuring 11 of the best cocktail bars in Milan, in collaboration with Bartender.it.

Guglielmo Miriello, Bar Manager of Ceresio 7

Camilla Bosatelli, Barlady of 1930 Cocktail Bar

Marco Russo Co-Owner of Mag Cafè, 1930 Cocktail Bar, Backdoor43, Barba, and Iter

Federico Volpe, Bar Manager of Dry

Sossio Del Prete, Bartender of Octavius Bar at The Stage Milano

Yuri Gelmini, Co-Owner of Surfer’s Den

Ivan Patruno, Bar Manager of Bulk Mixology Food Bar

Luca Marcellin, Owner of Drinc. Cocktail & Conversation

Mattia Pastori, Owner and Founder of Non Solo Cocktail

Patrick Greco, Bar Manager of Bulgari Bar

Teo Rizzolo, Head Mixologist of Mandarin Bar & Bistrot

 

And on Wednesday, May 8 the same location will host a selection of the best bartenders from the

Forte Cocktail Week in Versilia.

 

Tuesday, May 7 will see Paolo Sanna, Bar Manager of Banana Republic in Rome at Rex for

“Scotland Breeze” (by Molinari), and Wednesday, May 8 Francesco Pirineo, Brand Ambassador

Plantation Italia, will be at Santarosa Bistro for “Cheese pairing with Plantation Rum: an unprecedented encounter between rum and cheese” (by Plantation Rum)

 

Thursday, May 9 at Palazzo San Niccolò, Luisanna Messeri, writer and television pop chef, will give a talk on Caterina de’ Medici and the tradition of Tuscan spirits, titled “Caterina’s Chests. A short, alcoholic history of a Queen;” which will be followed by an aperitivo by Cultural Salon featuring the works of Florentine artist and designer Marina Calamai.

 

Friday, May 10 Belmond Villa San Michele will host “Drink your habitat,” with botanist Caterina

Candia and bartenders Erica Rossi and Bledar Ndoci (by Fratelli Branca Distilleries), while at

Empireo of the Plaza Hotel Lucchesi palates will be soothed at “The versatility of Ginarte” (by

Ginarte) with Filippo Sisti, Bar Owner of Talea, Milan.

 

Saturday, May 11 Soren Krogh, Michetr’s Senior Advisor, will be at Rasputin for the master class  “Michetr’s its all about the whiskey” (by Michter’s).

 

Saturday, May 11 will also see the celebration for the 100 years of Negroni at Hotel Savoy with Salvatore Calabrese, “The Maestro”, straight from London.

 

On the same day, at the Sala dei Gigli of Palagio di Parte Guelfa, Religion Sociologist Simona Scotti will present “Spirito&Spirits. Religioni e Lifestyles,a volume that collects the materials of the meeting of the same name organized by AIS – Section of Sociology of Religion, in collaboration with Florence Cocktail Week 2018.

 

Sunday, May 12 RiEsco a Bere Italiano, the Fair for Italian Liquors, Bitters and Spirits will close the week-long celebrations at Fabbricato Viaggiatori, in Piazza della Stazione 50, where small and larger realities will meet and showcase Italian quality products.

 

The Tuscany Cocktail Week 2019 Contest and the Young Talent FCW19 Contest will also take place on the same day.

The jury will be composed by: Flavio Angiolillo (Co-Owner Mag Cafè, 1930 Bar, Backdoor43, Barba, and Iter), Babis Kaidalidis (organizer of the Athens Bar Show), David Wondrich (New York bar historian and writer), and journalist Federico De Cesare Viola (Brand Ambassador and Editorial Director for Food&Wine Italia). Moderating the event: Federico Quaranta, Radio and Television Host.

Finally, it will be time for the much-awaited FCW Awards Ceremony, and sponsors will award the winning bartenders and cocktails in the different categories.

 

Straight from the American Bar at The Savoy in London – 2’ World’s 50 Best Bars 2018 – arrive the Senior bartender Pippa Guy, for the final night shift at Four Seasons Hotel Firenze (by Michter’s).

 

Adding to this week filled to the brim with events, several restaurants will be organizing a series of themed dinners: every night, at Gurdulù guests can savour a special menu called “Spirito Classico”; Wednesday, May 8 Essenziale will feature “Hops and Chefs, Malts and Bartenders;” and on Thursday, May 9 at Regina Bistecca Tuscan classics will join for “Count Negroni meets Regina Bistecca.”

 

A number of book presentations and in-depth, themed appointments will complete this already-rich event calendar: Monday, May 6, Federico Bellanca and Marco Gemelli will present the book “Toscana da Bere” at Caffè Concerto Paszkowski. Friday, May 10 at Grand Hotel Cavour it will be the turn of Fulvio Piccinino and his “Amari e Bitter. Storia e produzione dagli speziali ai bartender;” and, on the same day, at Caffè Concerto Paszkowski, Paolo Ponzo will talk about his research on Negroni through the presentation: “Negroni Cocktails by Amedeo Gandiglio.”

 

Lastly, we designed two fascinating appointments, created specifically for this 2019 edition: the Cocktail Walk, on Tuesday, May 7 and Thursday, May 9, featuring a tour of the cocktail bars taking part in FCW, in collaboration with Le Baccanti; and the Tour of the Historic Cafes on Wednesday, May 8 and Thursday, May 9, in collaboration with Ful Magazine and Ricomincio da Firenze.

 

Hereby is the complete list stating all the participating cocktail bars and Florentine bartenders, as well as their respective Signature Cocktails.

 

Cocktail Bar – Bartender – Signature Cocktail

 

Bitter Bar, Cristian Guitti – Brancamente me ne infischio

Cafè 19.26, Simone Zangirolami – Faites vos jeux

Ditta Artigianale Oltrarno, Ginevra Gabbrielli and Simone Zaccheddu – Il mondo dal Conte

Gilli 1733, Luca Picchi – Hippy Negroni

Gurdulù, Cristina Bini – DownTown

La Menangere, Luca Manni – Un Casto Negroni

Locale, Matteo Di Ienno and Andrea Fiore – Il Conte Timido

Love Craft, Manuel Petretto – Old but Fashion

Pint of View, Lorenzo Pizzorno – La cura per l’Imperatore

Rasputin, Daniele Cancellara – A New Silk Road

 

HIGH VOLUME BARS

Dome, Lorenzo Gironi and Domenico Varone – Fretta Biscottata

Gesto, Martina Bonci and Mirco Cicchi – Peter in Gesto

Inferno, Italo Mercurio – Alba n’ Florence

MAD – Soul & Spirits, Neri Fantechi – Internazional popolare

Rex, Virginia Ducceschi and Mosé Giordani – Conte di Savoia

Santarosa Bistrot, Davide Nocentini and Maddalena Vannozzi – Diecimila leghe sotto al Conte

Viktoria Lounge Bar, Paolo Marini and Marco Marini – Da ponte a ponte

000 – Student Hotel, Cosimo Tarducci – Around the world

 

HOTEL BARS

AC Lounge – AC Hotel Firenze by Marriott, Giuseppe Alessandrino – Dolcemente Bitter

Atrium Bar – Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, Edoardo Sandri and Simone Corsini – Negroni Completo

Empireo – Plaza Hotel Lucchesi, Lorenzo Bianco and Eleonora Contessi – Camillo

Garibaldino – Garibaldi Blu Hotel, Massimo Maietto – Il Conte Ritorna

Horto Convento, Cosimo Nigro – Estratti di Negroni

Irene Firenze – Hotel Savoy, Denis Giuliani – InfusioNegroni

La Terrazza Rooftop Bar – Continentale Hotel, Diego Rampietti – il Moro

Le Pool Bar – Villa Cora, Mirò Abdel Rahmam – Dolce Amaro

Picteau Cocktail Bar – Hotel Lungarno, Marco Colonnelli and Vincenzo Civita – Il Conte di Picche

The Cloister – Belmomd Villa San Michele, Lorenzo Aiosa – Ada

The Fusion Bar&Restaurant – Gallery Hotel Art, Sacha Mecocci – A Negroni Story

Winter Garden Bar – The St. Regis Florence, Christian Pampo – American Boulevard

Florence Cocktail Week Returns In May For Its 4th Year

Cocktail week D1-79

Following the success of its past editions, Florence Cocktail Week (FCW) will make its return from the 6th to the 12th of May. Founded and organized by Paola Mencarelli and Lorenzo Nigro, the weeklong event dedicated to mixology “Made in Florence” serves up a sundry calendar consisting of master classes and night shifts, featuring Italian and international guests, round tables and gatherings aimed at professionals and enthusiasts.

Now in its fourth edition, FCW has established itself as the most anticipated spring event by international and local mixology professionals and cocktail lovers, boasting an always-richer schedule. All of this is made possible thanks to the support of important sponsors and partners, such as Campari, Compagnia dei Caraibi, Diageo, Frescobaldi, Ginarte, Martini, Michter’s, Nardini, and more.

FCW selects the best cocktail bars in Florence and Tuscany, and is backed with the patronage of the Municipality of Florence, which will also act as a partner for the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Negroni, the historic Florentine cocktail renowned worldwide.

During the FCW, every night is a party that brings a vivacious vibe to the city’s establishments, all easily reachable by foot or by bicycle (the Mobike service is available, as always). Thus, everyone can enjoy a completely safe mixology experience – based on personal tastes and preferences – in the unique and evocative surroundings of Florence. All of the events and master classes are free of-charge and open to the public, with the only cost being that of the cocktails.

30 cocktail bars in Florence have been selected to participate in the 2019 FCW – with an increase compared to 2018 – and each establishment will present a cocktail list featuring 4 cocktails crafted for 4 special categories: a Signature Cocktail (a Negroni with a twist), a RiEsco a Bere Italiano, an I Love Bitter and a Green Drink, for which bartenders are given free rein to their creativity to whip up enticing mouth-watering concoctions. Quality drinking and drinking responsibly will be the common thread between all of the moments of this densely packed weeklong event.

New in 2019:

A Round Table on Negroni, with the patronage of the Municipality of Florence
Saturday May 11th, an institutional Round Table will take place, with the patronage of the Municipality of Florence, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Negroni, the historic cocktail from Florence renowned worldwide. Doing the honours will be Luca Picchi, author of the book “Negroni Cocktail, leggenda italiana,” and some of the most prominent experts of mixology and cocktail history, such as Mauro Mahjoub from Münich, known in the trade as the “King of Negroni”, Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller from London, and David Wondrich from New York.

Tuscany Cocktail Week | TCW
For the very first time, FCW will also include a selection of the best cocktail bars in Tuscany, which, starting from the week ahead of the event will each present a craft cocktail list consisting of 3 drinks: a creative Signature Cocktail, with which the bartenders will take part in the Final Contest, a Negroni with a twist (to celebrate the 100th anniversary), and an I Love Bitter (Amari/Bitter).

FCW Awards Ceremony
The yearly Contest starring the best Florentine bartenders will be substituted with the FCW Awards Ceremony. A party will be held on Sunday May 12th, and for the occasion sponsor companies will award the winning bartenders and cocktails for the different categories.

The final day of this edition is Sunday May 12th, which will also feature the second edition of RiEsco a Bere Italiano, the first edition of the Final Contest of the Tuscany Cocktail Week, the notto-be-missed Under 25 Young Talent Contest, and the highly anticipated FCW Awards Ceremony.

Nardini Raises The Bar For Grappa

Selezione Bortoli Nardini

Nardini, Italy’s oldest distillery, is launching an ultra-premium grappa range aimed at setting a new quality threshold for the country’s national spirit. Called ‘Selezione Bortolo Nardini’ in honour of the distiller who founded the family-owned brand in 1779, the new line includes an elegant ‘Bianca Extrafina’ and ‘Le Ramate’ – three extraordinary barrel-aged Riserva products.

All four drinks are blended from Merlot, Cabernet and Pinot Grigio grape pomaces selected from local DOC winemakers and distilled using Nardini’s distinct combination of pot still and column still techniques. Conceived to rank alongside the best spirits in the high-end digestive market sector, they are presented in stunning 70cl cut-glass bottle designs, inspired by Nardini’s futuristic Fuksas-designed ‘BOLLE’ building in Bassano del Grappa, Veneto.

The ‘Selezione Bortolo Nardini’ is the splendid result of a 20-year labour-of-love led by the Nardini Family alongside Master Blender Renato Mazzeracca and Andrea Manzoli, who directs operations the two Nardini distilleries in Bassano and Monastier. Consequently, as the international spirits authority David Broom observed in his pre-launch evaluation, all four grappas are ‘unmistakably Nardini’, showing clear family resemblances with the firm’s legendary Bianca and Riserva staples. However, they display ‘a wider, fresher, more tantalising aromatic spectrum’.

Rested in steel tanks for six months before blending and then rested for another six months before undergoing a further selection process, the 42% abv ‘Extrafina’ is floral and very fruity, with herbal elements and a nuanced complexity amplified with notes of banana, maraschino and ‘proving bread’. As Dave Broom confirms, ‘there is something both ancient in its aromatics and something entirely new’. The three ‘Le Ramate’ products are equally remarkable. Following the initial one year resting in steel, all three are aged in barrels sourced from the same oak forest in Slavonia (Croatia) that has been used by Nardini since it became the first-ever distiller to market aged grappa some 70 years ago. However, only the smoothest and sweetest batches from these barrels are ear-marked for the Le Ramate range.

The 42% abv Three-Year-Old Riserva is coherent, complex and refined, showing a clear sweetness as well as the ‘cooked fruit’ characteristics that have made Nardini’s core 40% and 50% Riserva products so popular, especially in export markets. At 45% abv, the Seven-Year-Old Riserva is more extravagant and spicy, but equally complex and Dave Broom has noted similarities with Cognac and even aged Genever. Not surprisingly, the 15-Year-Old Riserva is more wooded, but it’s also drier, with hints of creamy vanilla, chocolate, nuts and wild fruits – a superbly balanced drink. As Dave Broom concludes, ‘like the rest of the range, it does, I believe, offer a new dimension for grappa, one which stays true to its roots, but aligns it more closely with top-end wood-aged spirits – and as a result opens up the possibilities of new serves and occasions.’

Antonio Nardini, Managing Director of the seventh-generation family owned company believes the new ‘Selezione Bortolo Nardini’ is a major milestone for grappa and not just for Nardini. “As Italy’s oldest distiller and the country’s leading premium grappa brand, we are obliged to innovate rather than stand still. Since we only produce for ourselves and never for third parties, we apply much stricter criteria to the quality of the raw materials we use and the production techniques we employ.” Adds Nardini: “With the new range we have demonstrated our ability to produce elegant, exquisite distillates – and I am confident that we have set a new standard for grappa that will not only astonish many people, but lead to a greater appreciation for Italy’s national spirit amongst the most discerning drinkers in the world.”

UK Availability
In the UK, ‘Selezione Bortolo Nardini’ will be available initially to the on-trade from Speciality Drinks with on-line availability from The Whisky Exchange, The Drink Shop and Master of Malt. Hedonism Wines in Mayfair is the range’s opening retail outlet in London, while in the North-West, it is being showcased at the award-winning Riddles Emporium in Altrincham, South Manchester. UK Distributor is Emporia Brands. The agent for the UK and Ireland is Nick Hopewell-Smith Associates Ltd. Products in the range are likely to retail at between £55 and £125. Nardini’s 50% ABV Grappa Bianca is by some way Italy’s best-selling premium grappa. In the UK, the more accessible Bianca 40 and Riserva 40 are listed as house pours in many leading outlets, including the Polpo chain and across the Soho House estate. In 2017, sales of Nardini products in the UK grew by 40% compared to the previous twelve months.

Background Note: The Best Grappa Demands Pomace Excellence
The quality of any grappa is largely dictated by the quality of the raw material used to make it – the pomace (the skins, seeds and pulp that remains after grapes are pressed for winemaking). In the ‘Selezione Bortolo’ range, the pomace is derived from a balanced selection of grape types rather than from a single variety, which assists Nardini to achieve an optimum condition for the pomace mix prior to distillation. Red wine grapes provide much of the flavour, but the more lightly-pressed white wine grapes add vital moisture to the final blend. Quality is further guaranteed by ensuring that winemakers only supply pomace derived from de-stemmed grapes. For Nardini, fresh pomaces and a fully-controlled initial fermentation immediately prior to the distillation process – whether by pot or column still – are considered critical elements of the production process. At Nardini’s distilleries, some 22 kilos of pomace are needed to produce a single litre of grappa. Importantly, prior to distillation, unlike the custom with many other grappa producers, no sugar or yeast are deployed to boost fermentation, nor is any water used to moisten the pomaces. Demineralised water is only added after distillation to achieve the desired alcohol level. In the case of ‘Le Ramate’ products, this takes place prior to their final blending.

London’s First Prosecco Bar To Open In Tower Bridge

Prosecco_House_003
February 2018 will see Prosecco​ ​House​, London’s first bar dedicated to
prosecco open at One Tower Bridge.

The bar will stock Prosecco DOCG, the premium prosecco from Veneto, the home of the
drink and has been created by owner Kristina Issa who wants to bring the same excellent quality of prosecco enjoyed in Italy to London.

Kristina is working directly with family owned vineyards in Veneto and will be exclusively stocking five vineyards that are not available anywhere else in London. The bar will have over 20 different proseccos on the menu, hand picked by Kristina herself.

The five wineries that will be served are: Marchiori, Rivalta, Cirotto, TASI Bio and Andreola. Guests will be able to enjoy glasses of prosecco starting at £7.50 and bottles starting from £30. Bottles will be available as standard, magnums and go up to jeroboams.

The interiors have been designed by Kristina and interior designer Justyna Czarnoba and
will include burnt orange velvet bar stools, hand selected marble from Italy and antique
bronze tables with mirrored glass surfaces. The bar will be stunningly back lit and have a wide variety of prosecco bottles on display.

The focal point of the room will be the large wine fridge that will span the whole side of the room chilling the prosecco to perfection. Guests are also able to buy bottles to take home with them and the aim is to create London’s best selection of prosecco available to enjoy at home too. The prosecco will also be available for delivery via UberEats and Deliveroo.

A small selection of cicchetti will be served alongside the prosecco and will include Salami Lovison, Prosciutto, Gorgonzola and Ricotta with sundried tomatoes and Italian pickled artichoke. There will also be a small selection of prosecco cocktails available including Aperol Spritz, Bellini and Prosecco House signature cocktails.

Prosecco House will be open from 11am each day and will also be serving delicious Italian coffees with focaccia sandwiches throughout.

Kristina says of her new venture, “the idea came to me over drinks with friends back in
January. I love prosecco but could never find a glass of the same quality here in London
compared to Italy. I wanted to create a bar that feels both luxurious but is also open to
everyone and that all feel welcome.

There is a gap in the market for a high quality bar serving the finest prosecco that is not in a hotel or a cocktail bar. I am working closely with producers to ensure guests receive the finest prosecco that is so readily available in Veneto.”

Prosecco House will sit within Berkeley Homes’ One Tower Bridge, a development of
high-specification apartments, five-star residents’ facilities, restaurants and commercial
space, including The Bridge Theatre.

Bartenders Challenged To Design 2018 Fernet-Branca Coin

Fernet Branca cocktail with Challenge Coins
Classic Italian herbal spirit Fernet-Branca is inviting bartenders to submit designs for the UK’s 2018 Fernet-Branca Challenge Coin.

Distributor Hi-Spirits has set the challenge, with a theme for the design of “what makes the UK bar scene so great?” A shortlist of coin designs will be voted on by the industry, and the winning design will be produced next year.

The coins are carried by a select group of bartenders around the world, marking their membership of the exclusive Fernet Branca Secret Society, which celebrates the brand’s heritage and versatility.

Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: “Fernet-Branca is hugely respected by bartenders, and the Challenge Coins are an important part of the international bartending community. We’re delighted to be giving UK bartenders the chance to design the 2018 UK coin.”

Designs should be for one side of the coin only and are limited to five colours. Bartenders have until 31 December 2017 to submit their ideas at http://www.Fernet-Branca.co.uk/coin, where full T&Cs can also be found. Entries will be shortlisted in January 2018 and voted on by the industry, with the winner announced in February.

Created in Milan in 1845 by Bernardino Branca, Fernet Branca is a herbal spirit with a distinctive bitter flavour, and is still made at the Fratelli Branca Distillerie to the closely-guarded original recipe.

Along with Fernet Branca, Hi-Spirits distributes other speciality drinks from Fratelli Branca Distillerie in the UK including BrancaMenta, Antica Formula, Punt e Mes, the Carpano Vermouth range, and Caffè Borghetti.

For more information, please contact Hi-Spirits on 01932 252 100, email info@hi-spirits.com or visit http://www.hi-spirits.com.

The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress Launches ‘Bassano Aperitivo Season’

Mezzoemezzo 1_Low Res

Pop-up innovators Bassano Events and their Manchester venue, The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress located on First Street, are launching a tasting calendar of Italian aperitivo over the next two months.

Focusing on Distilleria Nardini, the namesake of the bar name Bassano with its origins from Bassano del Grappa in Northern Italy, guests will enjoy one of the famous serves originating from the iconic Ponte Vecchio bridge distillery, the Mezzoemezzo, itself combined with soda and a twist of lemon. A closer look at the flavour profiles of Nardini Grappa Bianca 40 and a selection of their liqueurs, including the citrus peels of Acqua di Cedro, juniper led Ginepro and the almond profiles of Mandorla.

Each session looks to finish with a refreshing Nardini Ginepro and Tonic, as well as a classic offering of Italian Antipasto courtesy of PizzaExpress.

Each hosted by Dave Marsland, co-owner of Bassano Events and brand agency Drinks Enthusiast, the Bassano Aperitivo Season is said to demystify the Italian spirit category, showing off the tradition of grappa and aperitivo and its versatile use within simple mixers and flavours.

All sessions will be held within The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress, itself opening in June 2017 to bring the modern Italian cocktail bar concept to the North of England after it follows last summer’s successful debut for The Bassano Bar and its winning Italian drinks formula within the busy ‘Magic Roundabout’ venue in London’s Shoreditch.

Offering a selected menu that combines a focus on classic Italian cocktails such as the Negroni with Campari, Aperol Spritz, Nardini Mezzoemezzo and Frizzante Frutta with San Pellegrino, the bar is also including innovative home-grown recipes, with the ‘The Haçienda Sour’ and ‘The Manchester Negroni’ featuring local gin producer, Three Rivers.

Dates of the Bassano Aperitivo Season;

18th August
25th August
31st August
7th September
21st September
28th September

Price;
£15 pp – tickets can be purchased in venue or via http://www.thebassanobar.com

General Opening Hours;
Wednesday-Friday from 5pm – 11pm and from 12noon to 11pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Address;
The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress, First Street North, Manchester, M15 4FN

#BassanoMcr

ALL DRINK IMAGERY BY GEORGIE GLASS/ WWW.GEORGIEGLASS.CO.UK / @GEORGIEGLASS_

Italian Brand, ITALICUS®, To Launch In Mid-July With Cellar Trends

Italicus

Leading branded alcohol distributor, Cellar Trends, is building on its success of 2017 with the addition of ITALICUS® Rosolio di Bergamotto to its ever-expanding portfolio. From mid-July, Cellar Trends will be handling all sales, distribution and marketing for the brand in the UK.

Capitalising on the worldwide trend of aperitivo, Giuseppe Gallo launched his brand-new spirit, ITALICUS® in September 2016, in a bid to lead the global revival of Rosolio and in doing so, has honoured the historic origin and recipe of this forgotten category.

Produced at a family distillery, the spirit is made by infusing Bergamot and Cedro in cold water to release the essential oils, before blending with Italian grain spirit to produce a lightly citrus nose with hints of rose and lavender. In order to make the most of the delicate flavours of the botanicals, ITALICUS® is best enjoyed with Prosecco, served over ice and garnished with three olives to balance the floral overtones.

Director of Sales and Marketing at Cellar Trends, Terry Barker says: “It is always an exciting time for us when we bring a new product to the market and one such as ITALICUS® offers not only a great taste, but also the opportunity for Cellar Trends to work within a unique category. Since its launch to the UK market, ITALICUS® has already gained listings in a variety of premium bars throughout London, gaining some remarkable feedback from renowned mixologists and we are looking forward to building this brand’s reputation and reach.”

Founder of ITALICUS® Giuseppe Gallo comments: “As a young brand we are very honoured to be working with Cellar Trends, and feel that their expertise and experience will help build on the brand’s success as we continue to establish it amongst the on-trade.”

For more information visit: http://www.rosolioitalicus.com

Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto

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Italian drinks are a big focus for me at the moment, with the opening of my ‘The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress‘ in Manchester a great example of utilising a variety of Italian styles. The rosolio aperitivo category escapes me though, until the arrival of Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto!

I’d imagine the rosolio category isn’t one that strikes too many bells to many, so a little rundown before heading to Italicus.

Rosolio is an ancient type of Italian liqueur, deriving its name from ‘Drosera rotundifolia’, itself a species of sundew. It used to be flavoured exclusive with the herb, but now it’s known for more homemade low alcohol content spirits. The liqueur is common in Piedmont and in Southern Italy. It enjoys a special popularity in Sicily, where it has been prepared since the sixteenth century and was given to house guests as a sign of good luck.
Local ingredients are typically used depending on the region (for example Sicily with Cedro citrus fruit and fennel) and aromatized with herbs and spices.

Giuseppe Gallo has brought the category from the 1850’s of Rosolio back to the new-age with the launch of Italicus back in September 2016. Using peels from bergamots grown from Italy’s UNESCO-protected area Calabrian region and Cidros from Sicily, they are infused into cold water to release the essential oils (a process named sfumatura) prior to being blended with Italian neutral grain spirit, all within a family-owned distillery in Moncalieri, Torino.

The resulting bergamot and cedro flavoured spirit is then blended for several days with a separate maturation that contains Roman chamomile from Lazio, lavender, gentian, yellow roses and lemon balm from Northern Italy.

But how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto – 20%

Very fresh lemon balm, bergamot, citrus peel and gentian coming through on the nose, followed by a naturally sweet chamomile flavour upon the palate. Notes of subtle lavender, honey, rose petal and lemon balm ride a lingering fresh finish.

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A fantastic liquid on its own, but one recommended to be enjoyed in the following way;

“50/50 with Prosecco, over ice and garnished with three green olives”

Better get a bottle for the drinks cabinet, there are friends and family to impress.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Peroni Ambra Brings A Taste Of Italy To Manchester This Summer

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To celebrate the launch of Peroni Ambra, the Italian brewer has partnered with The Oast House in the heart of Manchester to open ‘The Apertivo Bar, Presented by Peroni Ambra,’ this summer.

Peroni Ambra extends the brand into a new territory, for the first time since its creation in 1963. Inspired by the classic Italian aperitivo, Peroni Ambra combines crisp and refreshing Peroni Nastro Azzurro and the sharpness of Italian Chinotto – a rare Italian citrus fruit, grown and harvested in the region of Liguria, North West Italy.

The new product is inspired by the Italian ritual of the bitter ‘aperitivo’, a pre-dinner drink designed to open the palate and stimulate the appetite. Distinctively, Peroni Ambra is served from its 250ml bottle into a bespoke tumbler glass, over ice, and garnished with orange peel, opening the senses in anticipation of the first sip. It has a bittersweet yet balanced flavour, which leaves the palate cleansed and refreshed. With the attention to detail synonymous with Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Italian designer, Andrea Morgante, was commissioned to design the bespoke glass – each one handmade, crafted by a small artisan Italian glass production house.

Capturing the essence of Italy, guests will be transported to the rural Chinotto grovesof North West Italy during the special four-day residency, from Thursday 22nd to Sunday 25th June. The Oast House has been beautifully transformed into an immersive Italian setting, where consumers will discover the authentic tastes and rare ingredients of Italy.

‘The Apertivo Bar, Presented by Peroni Ambra,’ will also play host to a contemporary orchestra and DJ collective, allowing guests to enjoy a snapshot of authentic modern Italian culture. The Urban Soul Orchestra, comprising a talented all girl string quartet and DJ from music curators, Euphonica, will be playing laidback Italian grooves between 6pm and 8pm on Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th June.

As with all Peroni products, this innovative new drink offering is brewed and bottled in Italy. Reaffirming Peroni’s passion for craftsmanship and authentic Italian heritage, their master brewers have worked closely with the farmers of Besio, where the Chinotto is sourced, to perfect the recipe.

Pronounced Kee-not-toe, the Chinotto fruit is extremely rare, grown in small areas of rural Italy based on the climate. The Chinotto fruit is an ingredient used in aperitivos, as the bittersweet taste stimulates the appetite. Carefully blended with the crisp and refreshing taste of Peroni Nastro Azzurro, it creates the perfect balance, making Peroni Ambra the perfect drink to start the evening.

‘The Aperitivo Bar, Presented by Peroni Ambra’ takes residence at The Oast House:
The Avenue Courtyard, Spinningfields, Crown Square, Manchester M3 3AY
From Thursday 22nd to Sunday 25th June

For more information visit: http://www.thehouseofperoni.com

The Bassano Bar and PizzaExpress To Partner Up in Manchester This Summer

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The nation’s favourite restaurant chain PizzaExpress and pop-up innovators Bassano Events have joined together to bring ‘The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress’ to Manchester. Opening June 21st at PizzaExpress’s First Street restaurant, the modern Italian cocktail bar concept will be a first for the North of England after it follows last summer’s successful debut for The Bassano Bar and its winning Italian drinks formula within the busy ‘Magic Roundabout’ venue in London’s Shoreditch.

Offering a selected menu that combines a focus on classic Italian cocktails such as the Negroni with Campari, Aperol Spritz, Nardini Mezzoemezzo and Frizzante Frutta with San Pellegrino, the bar is also including innovative home-grown recipes, with the ‘The Haçienda Sour’ and ‘The Manchester Negroni’ featuring local gin producer, Three Rivers.

Augmenting the much-loved and increasingly broad PizzaExpress menu, The Bassano Bar is keen to promote a range of traditional Italian drinks, including grappa, Italy’s much under-rated national spirit. Originating from Bassano del Grappa in the Veneto region, Nardini is Italy’s most prestigious grappa brand, with the distiller’s home town providing the inspiration for the name of the bar.

Working alongside PizzaExpress, owners of Bassano Events Dave Marsland and Nick Hopewell-Smith have taken the opportunity to bring a flavour of Italian serves to the terrace of First Street, Pizza Express’ newest restaurant in the city, located in one of Manchester’s most dynamic leisure areas.

Dave is a well-known drinks expert and trainer, creating brand agency ‘Drinks Enthusiast’ in 2011, with his own spirits retail business in Altrincham and a national social media and publication presence as a drinks journalist.  A marketing professional with over 35 years experience, Nick is the initiator and creative driver behind The Bassano Bar in London and a specialist importer of Italian spirits and liqueurs from The Nardini Distillery.

With an al-fresco feel to the venue, making use of its natural light and, hopeful, Summer months, The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress will be a welcome addition to the Manchester bar scene.

Opening Hours;

Wednesday-Friday from 5pm – 11pm and from 12noon to 11pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays. 

Address;

The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress, First Street North, Manchester, M15 4FN

Image by Georgie Glass / www.georgieglass.co.uk / @georgieglass_