Italians touch the stars with one finger in the latest World's 50 Best Bars ranking, promoted by Perrier. Residing at the top - as we have written here and here - is Giacomo Giannotti of Paradiso, the Barcelona speakeasy to which Agostino Perrone and Giorgio Bargiani of The Connaught in London have passed the first place. A success, that of Paradiso, that does not betray expectations, given the third position reached in 2021.
PARADISO: GIACOMO GIANNOTTI
The bar counter at Paradiso in Barcelona and, below, its triumph at the 50Best Bars
On the occasion of the big gala on the 4th October, Giannotti and his team presented a preview of the new card, which is particularly evocative and characteristic of the DNA of the top-ranked drinklist. Called The Evolution, the drinklist was born from merging the ideas of the entire team together with those of Paradiso Lab, the creative laboratory. The 14 new drinks are the result of a long and challenging creative process, which aims to represent the progress of mankind by drawing from historical discoveries and inventions that have marked our evolution. The beauty of an experience in the Catalan cocktail bar is precisely that of finding oneself in a place, outside of time and geo-locations, where past and future, creativity and fellowship create a unique allure that Giannotti himself considers the basis of his project.
'Hospitality, cocktail list and team must always travel together,' continues Giannotti. 'For us, the customer is the protagonist and must feel good. Finally, we also focus a lot on the team, which is very strong. We are a team in all respects, cohesive and united. Everyone plays and has played their part exceptionally well. The drinks are increasingly sophisticated, complex and new in terms of flavours. We always try to have a balanced list, where you can find all options: from refreshing, to sweet, to bitter, to dry. We try to evolve every year and continue to surprise our customers, always offering them something innovative. We are now on our seventh menu: we start with the classics and try to grow more and more by mixing new, little-known ingredients or ingredients that are not always from the liquid world. With the help of innovative techniques and state-of-the-art special machines in the Paradiso Lab we manage to come up with new combinations and flavours. In the future we will always try to follow this line and create surprising mixes'.
SIPS (and ESSENCIA): SIMONE CAPORALE
Marc Alvarez and Simone Caporale
As Caporale puts it, 'the hallmark of Sips is to always remain true to its identity, which is to do our best to serve and engage our guests. We focus above all on the human factor'. With a close-knit, passionate team and a strong sense of hospitality, Caporale and Alvarez designed not only this venue but also the next new opening, Essencia, which they previewed during the Barcelona Cocktail Experience and at 50Best Bars. What will distinguish the new sign will be the proximity of the guest to the bartender's work. Sips thus finds an extension - even a physical one, in fact Essencia is in an adjoining room at the back of the bar - of its winning formula and a further evolution that is intended to be a reinterpretation of what the modern cocktail experience should be. Instead of a menu of mixed drinks, the guest will be able to choose a concept - in our case we tried Bloody Mary and Xeres Sherry Wine -, which will be served in three 'sips' to explore its essence.
Simone and Marco also devised an ad hoc set-up with two large chef's tables, so dear to the restaurant industry, around which they staged a tasting in which the ingredients were used with ingenuity and the glasses had unusual shapes.
THE CONNAUGHT BAR: AGOSTINO PERRONE, GIORGIO BARGIANI and MAURA MILIA
The Connaught Bar team in London and, below, Agostino Perrone, Maura Milia and Giorgio Bargiani
‘Our essence,’ says Perrone, ‘is a basis of classicism reinterpreted through the experiences and stories of our bar and our people. We have always had a solid vision, which we have consistently developed over the years with research, study, passion and dedication. This is what has rewarded us and will continue to reward us, regardless of the awards'. Maura Milia, bar manager, adds: ‘Our next goal is to continue doing our job while remaining faithful to our identity, taking care of our customers as well as our team. Connaught Bar's goals are built and nourished by our daily commitment: this remains our priority’.
1930 COCKTAIL BAR: BENJAMIN CAVAGNA
Benjamin Cavagna e il 1930 a Milano
The Milanese speakeasy currently tells the story of the mysteries, bright colours and intense flavours of Africa; each drink is served in works created ad hoc by an artist and recalling that continent, such as tribal masks, pyramids, baobab trees... These elements emphasise the constant search for and use of ingredients from different parts of the world to reach a level of expression where the cocktails become true works of art, steeped in history, legends and cultural contaminations.
What emerges from the experience and dialogue with the many protagonists of international mixology is the strong desire to give free rein to creativity, which was so compromised during the pandemic, and to find balance and refinement even in low or non-alcoholic drinks in order to broaden the audience but also to diversify and find further territories in which to test oneself, with ideas and talent.
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso
The world of cocktails and bartenders as told by Identità Golose.
writer and screenwriter, she arrived at Identità Golose after training at Gambero Rosso's school of wine and food journalism
Chef Marco Zampese, originally from Veneto, is executive chef of the three-Michelin-starred Hélène Darroze at the Connaught restaurant in London. While remaining focused on the philosophy of the French chef, Marco brings his talent and personal touch to the restaurant's menu. Photos by Gaia Menchicchi
Agostino Perrone and Giorgio Bargiani, the two Italians (the former from Como, the latter from Pisa) at the helm of Connaught Bar, at the top of the World’s 50 Best Bar. Photo Leonardo Filippini