Valentine’s Day is the right occasion to let your partner experiment new tastes. So, dare and make a special cocktail dedicated to your better half. Let’s get inspired by five famous “wizards of cocktails” in Rome and surroundings, to create the right cocktail for a romantic evening.
DRINK 1: FAR FROM YOU
BARMAN: Mario Farulla, bar manager of the Baccano Restaurant in Rome, has been ranked 70th in The World’s Best Bars 2019.
© Andrea Di Lorenzo
50 ml VII Hills Italian Dry Gin
50 ml Cordial Bacchus*
5 ml Peychaud’s bitter
*for the Cordial Bacchus: cook 200 gr of sugar, 200 ml of freshly squeezed lime, 1 sprig of thyme, and 15 gr of Jerusalem artichoke. Cook sous-vide at 55 degrees for 2 hours, then filter.
Glass: low tumbler
Garnish: pistachio granola
© Andrea Di Lorenzo
Pour all the ingredients directly into the glass full of ice, fill with a few drops of bitter and garnish with pistachio granola.
This drink is dedicated to lovers, in particular to those who do a job that takes them often away from home, their affections and their love. Sipping this drink you will think back to your homeland, and it will make you feel less distant from your darling, who patiently awaits your return. The ingredients of this cocktail become the Italian flag, our beloved motherland, thanks to the green of the pistachio granola, the red of Peychaud’s bitter, and the white of the VII Hills Italian Dry Gin, with its seven spices, like the seven hills of Rome and its scent of chamomile, pomegranate, celery, artichoke, rose hips, juniper and blood orange. And who better than the Roman barman Mario Farulla could create such a drink? After relevant experiences abroad, especially in Dubai, Mario Farulla returned to his native city, to pursue a career as a bar manager, at Ristorante Baccano, in via delle Muratte, behind the famous Trevi Fountain. His main features are: hard work, research, an innate sense of hospitality, and a unique and professional staff behind the counter, and its fascinating collection of over 600 bottles. A unique atmosphere that makes this place frequented by tourists from all over the world. It is a true temple of quality drinking and feeling at home, always at ease. The large counter, which is ideal for chatting, the flawless service by the best bartenders in the world, and the accurate customer care have made that Baccano would reach 70th place in the prestigious ranking The World’s Best Bars 2019.
BARTENDER: Valeria Bassetti, co-founder and partner of Drink-It
30 ml Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea bourbon
10 ml organic cocoa liqueur
10 ml fresh raspberry and chilli syrup
1 tablespoon of fresh, filtered lemon juice
Take a glass that makes you feel particularly beautiful, pass it quickly under cold water and put it in the freezer. Pour the ingredients as listed in the order of the recipe into a shaker and stir gently with a long spoon. Taste, smile at yourself, taste again. Fill the shaker with ice cubes, close and shake vigorously thinking of any ex-lover. Take the iced glass and pour slowly through a small tea strainer, decorate on the spot, sipping with your favourite lipstick, previously voluptuously applied on your lips.
Selfish and romantic drink. Love yourself first to love better.
BARMAN: Max La Rosa, owner and barman of Divan Japonais in Frascati (Rome)
1 1/2 part and 1/2 Jefferson’s Rye Whiskey Pork Infused*
3/4 part lemon juice
1/2 part black pepper and rosemary syrup**
2 splashes of Lemon bitter wine***
q.s. egg white
1/2 part Cesanese of Lazio
*infusion of 250gr. of roast pork and 1 liter of whiskey for a lunar cycle at 8 degrees celsius, filter with a cloth strainer.
**infusion of 20gr. of fresh rosemary for about 30 minutes in 1 liter of water at 68 degrees celsius, filter and prepare the sugar syrup in a ratio of 1.5/1 adding 15gr. of ground black pepper.
***cut 1/2 litre of Malvasia Puntinata wine from Lazio and 1/2 litre of pure alcohol, with 40gr. of untreated lemon peels for 28 days at -18 degrees celsius and filter.
Garnish: a sprig of fresh rosemary, ground black pepper and lemon peel.
Use the dry shake and shake and strain techniques for the first five ingredients, then serve in a small cup. Complete with Cesanese red wine on the surface. Decorate with a sprig of fresh rosemary, ground black pepper, and lemon peel. Always serve with Love: Cheers!
Talking about one’s feelings is never easy, as well as talking about love is never easy, because it makes us very often vulnerable to the eyes of others and to ourselves… Love is often beautiful and makes us do extraordinary or blatant things, sometimes stupid or totally crazy! It commands our body with wonderful vibrations; it makes our hands do things we would have never expected… that’s how it was for me, giving birth to Tusculum, the cocktail dedicated to the city of Frascati, in the province of Rome, where I decided to open my first bar as owner: Divan Japonais. A great bet, a “great madness”, but apart from the love for this amazing place, all happened here: the first kiss, the first love and the first cocktail! Then, once again, the greatest feeling at all, love, brought me back to the heart of the Castelli Romani. I felt I had to dedicate a cocktail to this wonderful town, so Tusculum was born here: a Whiskey Sour with the typical flavours of the Castelli Romani, reinterpreting a very simple cooking recipe like porchetta! It has always been important for me somehow to include our regional Italian cuisine in the drinks, trying to match the dishes with the blends I prepare, to give a strong identity to the cocktail. It’s a habit inherited from my mother.
DRINK: RUSCIO DE MARE (in Roman dialect meaning Sea Noise)
BARTENDER: Ilaria Bello, bartender at Talea in Torvaianica (Rome)
© Alberto Blasetti & Andrea Di Lorenzo
5 cl rum Don Papa
2.5 cl pink grapefruit juice
2.0 cl rock samphire syrup
Glass: cocktail cup
Garnish: wild fennel twigs
Pour the pink grapefruit juice, syrup and Don Papa Filipino rum in a shaker, shake vigorously and pour, filtering into a cold cup. Let the fennel get some air and place it on the drink and decorate with wild fennel twigs.
Legend has it, that the rock samphire was born from a spell of a fairy, who transformed her man in this plant, which is typical of sea cliffs, and his beautiful lover in a sea fish, so that the two could still look at each other, but never meet again. Ruscio de mare is a homage to all those impossible loves, made of overwhelming passions, as impetuous as the waves and rumbling in our heads like the sound of the sea.
DRINK: FORMIDABLE LOVE
BARTENDER: Roberta Martino, co-founder of the ShakHer collective
1/2 teaspoon Amaro Formidabile
4.5 cl VII Hills Italian Dry Gin
4.5 cl Vermouth Cocchi After Theater
1/2 teaspoon Apricot Brandy Giffard
aroma of Cognac Hine Rare V.S.O.P. Fine Champagne
Glass: elegance cup
Garnish: lemon peel and “message in a bottle”.
Using the stir and strain technique, pour all the ingredients except cognac into a previously cooled mixing glass and mix gently. Dirt the already cooled cup with a hint of cognac and flavour it with the essential oils of lemon, before pouring the drink inside. Leave a message of love on a card and accompany it to the drink.
Valentine’s Day explodes in the notes of this drink, that tells us about love with the warm nuances of its basic component: the sweet and luxurious notes of apricot, the essential spicy touch of vermouth, the dry note released by the herbs inside the VII Hills Italian Dry Gin, and the fatal bitter counterpoint of Amaro Formidabile. The cognac Hine?
Cover photo: Humphrey Bogart & Ingrid Bergman’s scene-stealing gin cocktail in Casablanca directed by Michael Curtiz (1942).
Photos in the article: Courtesy of Carlo Dutto Press