21-11-2022

Italian-style super cocktails: the people from Paradiso, Sips, The Connaught and 1930 talk. And they tell us that...

They are at the top of the 50Best Bars and continue to grow: a journey between Barcelona, London and Milan in search of our best mixology. The words of Giacomo Giannotti, Simone Caporale, Agostino Perrone, Maura Milia and Benjamin Cavagna

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

The bar counter at Paradiso in Barcelona and, below, its triumph at the 50Best Bars

As Giannotti proudly says, 'there are many features of Paradiso that have helped us achieve this success. For sure, in first place I would put the concept behind the bar: the speakeasy. I would add the design of the bar that makes it unique and beautiful, with the waves of wood on the ceiling inspired by Antoni Gaudi and therefore Barcelona; and the service too. The guys inside the bar transmit joy, they are always kind and smiling with everyone and create a festive atmosphere. Last but not least, there is the quality of the cocktails, the flavours and the presentation: they are the result of long research and involve excellent ingredients'.

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

Marc Alvarez and Simone Caporale

Different but equally exciting is the approach of Simone Caporale who, together with his partner Marc Alvarez, animates Sips Drink House - ranked 3rd - also in the Catalan capital. Here you can enjoy a totally immersive experience where there is no classic counter to sit at, but each table takes centre stage. The restaurant focuses on ingredient research and on processing where technology and molecular biology are always accompanied by an idea of product enhancement.

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

The Connaught Bar team in London and, below, Agostino Perrone, Maura Milia and Giorgio Bargiani

Each with their own style, each with their own identity, the Italian barmen outside Italy speak not only of innovation and experimentation, but also of the art of hospitality in which classicism is told in a contemporary way. Agostino Perrone, Giorgio Bargiani and Maura Milia are masters of this at The Connaught, now in eighth position on the 50Best.

‘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

Benjamin Cavagna e il 1930 a Milano

The success of the speakeasy format also finds a happy and award-winning expression in our country, in 1930 Cocktail Bar (which was awarded 36th position) and which, since its beginnings, has not concealed its international vocation, as Benjamin Cavagna, bar manager and co-founder of Farmily Group, emphasises: ‘We try to offer customers a tailor-made, high-level and avant-garde service, where people can find something distinctive and a highly recognisable trademark. The 1930s is a Prohibition-inspired private club, and the cocktail offering is created specifically, with experimentation and storytelling always at the forefront. In addition to the great welcome for our guests, we have thought of creating menus that tell the story behind each creation’.

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


Shake & shock

The world of cocktails and bartenders as told by Identità Golose.

Claudia Orlandi

by

Claudia Orlandi

writer and screenwriter, she arrived at Identità Golose after training at Gambero Rosso's school of wine and food journalism

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