Mattia Pastori & 1919 – One of Heering´s 200 years

Words by: Fabio Bacchi

Recent generations of bartenders include figures who rise quickly through the ranks of a very competitive career.  The modern bar industry offers opportunities that were unthinkable just a few decades ago.

Today’s bartenders step out from behind the bar much earlier, taking on managerial roles or serving as brand ambassadors for some of the most important players in the industry. Mattia Pastori is a steadfast example of this latest generation of Italian bartender. 

 Peoples’ stories

Born in a small city in Lombardy, Mattia was drawn to bartending from a young age, having spent time in his parents’ bar.  A magical world of shiny, colourful bottles and liquid mixtures created by his father. Mattia did his best to immerse himself in that world, populated by people with stories that were always new, different, never to be repeated. Mattia recalls “There was a group of customers who would come every week for an aperitivo. A man named Ubaldo made all the decisions. Before leaving, Ubaldo would book for the following week, deciding there and then what they’d drink for their next aperitivo. His manner made a huge impression on me. I was working in a hotel many years later when I bumped into Mr Ubaldo again. I was delighted to see this person who reminded me of the start of my career. When Park Hyatt sent me to America, to Miami, I immediately fell in love with surfing. The senior bartenders never let me work the evening shift, which would have allowed me to earn more tips. I had started paying for surfing lesson, but had to tell my teacher that I couldn’t continue because I couldn’t afford it any longer. He thought about it and said “Meet me in the water, I’ll teach you for free! I’ve met exceptional people through bartending”.

 Between present and future – nostalgia for the past

Today, Mattia is the outlet manager at Camparino in Galleria, Campari’s iconic flagship bar in Milan, a place rich with history. It’s a position laden with responsibility, impressive for a young man of barely thirty years of age. “Bartending has evolved at an extreme pace, blending cooking techniques and ingredients with more traditional bartending methods. But I do have a sense of nostalgia for the past. I grew up in a culture of professional associations. Bartending associations were global families, that took care to nurture their young carefully and gradually. They were families that shared everything, creating lasting bonds among people. We all had a mentor who served as a teacher, but also as a father and a brother. They taught me a sense of hospitality, elegance, what words to use in various contexts. Now I think things are far more individualistic. I have a sense of nostalgia for those times. My blog “Non solo cocktails” [Not just cocktails] shares my experiences on professional themes of general interest. I would like cocktail culture to become a common practice at home, like cooking”.

 Heering Amarcord

Mattia was always fascinated by the history of cocktails, those stories that deserve to be passed on. “I remember when I started out, the Singapore Sling was the third cocktail I ever prepared. I was struck by the unique Cherry Heering bottle, but at the time I barely knew what it was. It was one of the first products that caught my attention. History is an essential source of inspiration for my drinks. And this is certainly true of the drink I developed for the Cherry Heering 200 year anniversary, which was inspired by 1919.

In 1919, “Arte Futurista”, a large exhibition, was organised in Milan. Futurismo was an Italian artistic movement founded in 1909 by F.T. Marinetti. He based his own aesthetic concept on dynamism, on the cult of modernity and technique, a controversial contrast with all forms of artistic traditionalism. In 1931, “The Futurist Kitchen Manifesto” was published. It was written entirely by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and also signed by the poet Fillia. It is a collection of Futurist thoughts, convictions and intentions relating to cuisine and gastronomy. As well as advocating for the elimination of pasta, the Manifesto preaches the abolition of the knife and fork, traditional condiments, food weights and volumes and table politics. He calls for the creation of “simultaneous and changing morsels”, inviting chemists to invent new flavours and encouraging the combination of music, poems and perfumes with the dishes. The “Arte Futurista” exhibition took place at 1, Manzoni Street, just two minutes walks from Camparino. Futurismo is the inspiration behind my drink.

Lavorato Amabile

40 ml Campari Bitter

10 ml Amaro Braulio Riserva

20 ml Cherry Heering

40 ml seltzer water

Method: Build ingredients in glass

Garnish: Edible flowers

Glassware: Frosted Camparino

The drink is a traditional combination of Italian aperitivo, bitter, amaro, spices and Vermouth with seltzer water. Today it is fashionable across the world. It represents an important moment involving food culture, where the cocktail becomes a tool for food pairing

Lynnette Marrero & 1834 – One of Heering´s 200 years

words by: Jenny Adams

This time is the time of women, like never before since the right to vote was won in 1919. Over the last year, we’ve seen marches in the streets of dozens of cities around the globe, with millions of women protesting challenges to equality and also celebrating those who came before them. It’s been the year of #MeToo, and more women than ever before have signed up to run for office.

In the microcosm of the bar world, there are women standing out every single day, in remarkable ways, pushing down barriers, creating new levels of both drinks and service. Mention the name Lynnette Marrero to anyone in the spirits industry and you’ll no-doubt quickly hear that she’s one of the most recognizable.

Marrero co-founded Speed Rack in 2011 with Bartender and Owner of Leyenda, Ivy Mix. The charitable, all-female bartending competition has raised $100,000 per year for breast cancer charities, hosting competitions around America and internationally, which elevates and promotes the ladies far-and-wide who work hard to shine in the realm of hospitality and culinary mixology. You’ll also find Marrero serving with a smile several nights per week at Brooklyn’s darling Llama Inn.

With this year being a truly remarkable, volitale and inspiring year of female empowerment, as well as a very important milestone for the brand, it was Cherry Heering’s honor to ask Lynnette Marrero to help the brand celebrate. This year, Cherry Heering will turn 200 years old. The Bicentennial will commence with parties and with a published book that looks at the changes in history for both the brand and the world.

Marrero was asked to pick a year in the brand’s storied history and to create a cocktail to represent that year. Her choice was 1834, the year that Brooklyn was incorporated.

“I was born in Brooklyn,” she says, fondly, “and I have many memories of the place, the city. My paternal grandfather was a Brooklyn Longshoreman up until the 1980s. There was a sense that Brooklyn and the traditions stayed the same for many years. The neighborhoods were huge melting pots for immigrants coming to America, and our street in Windsor Terrace was certainly one. My maternal grandfather moved from Puerto Rico in the 1950s and worked for many years in a candy factory. I remember many of the hard candies he shared. Some had cherry notes and some coffee.”

To build a drink that honored those sweet, personal memories of walking around the neighborhood as a kid, of visiting her grandfather for a piece of candy and to honor the city’s own personal connection with drinking history in America, she looked back at the classics that came from this place.

She chose The Brooklyn cocktail, which has several variations, but the one she settled on is the one she loves best.

2 oz rye whiskey

1/2 oz dry vermouth

1/4 oz Maraschino liqueur

1/4 oz Amer Picon

“This is the recipe I chose to focus on, but I was also intrigued by the one with Rum,” she says, “which I love to use in conjunction with American whiskey.”

In her new creation, which she aptly named The Windsor Terrace, she replaced the Maraschino with Cherry Heering. “Obviously, the cherry needs to be present. So, using Cherry Heering instead of Maraschino means a reconfiguring the original cocktail, but hoping to take the flavors and transform them into a new cocktail,” she adds. “So, I used rum and rye, and other flavors such as chickory Bitters, a little coffee, and orange to bring out notes from the Amer Picon.

“Cherry Heering has been a part of Speed Rack since the first year,” she says. “I had the pleasure of meeting Adéle Robberstad, CEO Peter F. Heering, in London during London Cocktail Week. It was amazing to meet such a strong woman in the spirits industry. Not only was she committed to maintaining the tradition of the brand, but she also was and is a force and an example of female entrepreneurship in the spirits world.”

As for 2018 versus those long, bygone days in 1834, Marrero says it’s turbulent but exciting. “In many ways, this is the easiest time for bartenders,” she says. “There is a lot of growth in the profession, and it is really amazing to see young bartenders look for ways to be sustainable in their career and re-evaluating their priorities. The health and wellness has really resonated and will help the next crop of bartenders to have this in their minds earlier. I think in the U.S., health insurance and steady income are some of the challenges. I am very excited about the sustainability conversations. I am very conscious of waste in my daily life and have worked to implement changes in bar programs I run. I am excited for people to show how profitable sustainability can be, it just takes a little effort and you can also help improve the world.”

There’s no doubt Marrero is improving the world––from the incredible sums raised to battle breast cancer with Speed Rack to the simple joy of sitting down for one of her stunning cocktails in Brooklyn, New York.

The Windsor Terrace

Glass: Nick and Nora

Garnish: Orange zest twist

Method: Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into Coffee Heering rinsed glass

3/4 oz Smith & Cross Rum

3/4 oz Straight Rye Whiskey

3/4 oz Cherry Heering

3 dashes Chicory Bitters

 

Luke Whearty & 2017 – One of Heering´s 200 years

Words by: Ashley Pini

Luke Whearty began his career in the bartending industry as a kitchen hand “to get some extra money at night, so that I could surf during the day,” the Coffs Harbour native explains. “It was a great childhood growing up by the ocean and something that I will cherish forever. It became such a big part of who I am.”

Luke “got addicted to bartending at an early stage purely because of the creative element of it. The fact thatI was learning something every day was super addictive,and something that really made me hungry to push myself to see how far I could advance in the industry. It’s still a driving force for me to this day. I have learnt something every day since the start,and I can still honestly say I love what I do!”

For Luke, some of his biggest influences early on came from the culinary world; chefs such as Ferran Adria, Magnus Nilsson and Ben Shewry to name a few. However, “I have a lot of different influences,from art to sports. I’m just always really inspired by anyone that is dedicated to their craft and aiming to push the boat out a little,” he added.

Of his job, the element that Luke loves the most is “anyone doing something different and being creative. I love seeing, hearing and tasting new things. As you get older, you experience less and less, which makes it super special when new experiences do happen.”

Luke continues, “Carving my own path is important. However, I’m always looking at others around me for inspiration.”

Continually looking to take the next step in his career, Luke is focused on setting up a new concept entitled ‘Bunjil’. Centred around Indigenous Australian ingredients, the idea will be “very seasonal and producer driven,” he explained.

A busy man, on top of developing his new business idea, Luke is in daily contact with his team in Singapore and flies back and forth regularly between Singapore and Melbourne “to oversee Operation Dagger,” he added.

Currently gearing up for the arrival of his first child, it’s important to Luke to constantly change things up. “I change the menu in my bar every three months because coming from Australia, seasonality and change is a part of me,” he explains. Currently, Luke is based in Singapore, working on his next menu, which he believes “will be our best yet. Expect things likefermented starfruit wine, distilled horseradish, pickled fig leaf,” he adds.

For Luke, a strong sense of provenance and working with local producers is key in his current role. “I don’t want to go to a bar in Sweden and drink a Negroni or a bar in Australia and have a Manhattan. I want to have something that isunique to that time and place,” he stated.

Of Cherry Heering, Luke has fond memories. “Afew years ago, I got my hands on a vintage bottle of Peter Heeringfrom the 60’s and was blown away. I was amazed at how the flavours had matured and stood the test of time. I made some amazing classics with it from Blood and Sand’s, to Remember the Maine’s, and they were all outstanding. The only downfall was that once the bottle was finished, I couldn’t get it anymore!”

For Luke, 2017 holds an important place in his life as it was the year that he both got engaged and chose alongside his partner to become parents.

Luke’s cocktail is created using a selection of flavours and experiences that he shared with his partner in 2017. “From visiting Harry’s bar in Paris, to eating at Noma in Copenhagen, to our trips to Cape Town and Moscow; each flavour in the drinks represents something from each of these experiences,” he concluded.

Sour Cherry

Fino Sherry

Cherry & Thyme Vinegar

Sorrel

Walnut

Method: Stir all ingredients

Garnish: Compressed Cherries in Walnut oil and fresh sorrel

Glassware: Rocks

Lorenzo Antinori & 1931 – One of Heering´s 200 years

Words by: Maggie Beale

To go from an uninspired law student to become a leading figure in the hospitality industry is no small achievement. And, to be at the cutting edge of the new Golden Age of cocktails in Korea when you do must seem like is a dream come true.

“Yes, it is.” Says Lorenzo Antinori, now Head Bartender at Charles H. in the Four Seasons Seoul. “I was studying law in Rome – my city, bored as can be and I decided to travel for a bit. I wanted to see something of the world. So I took a year off to travel to Australia. But when I went back to my studies I also took a part-time job working at a bar in Rome. But it didn’t take me long to realise that lawyer work wasn’t for me.”

So he began his new career in hospitality in the heart of his hometown at the Hotel de Russie, part of the Rocco Forte Collection in Rome.

This was followed by experiences in Australia and Mexico before he settled down in London, England working at the renowned Savoy Hotel’s American Bar in 2011 under the tutelege of his mentor, Erik Lorincz.

Lorenzo then moved over to the Beaufort Bar at the Savoy Hotel working alongside  Head Bartender Chris Moore to develop the bar programme from 2103 to 2015. During this time, the bar was recognised as Best International Hotel Bar at the annual Spirited Awards at Tales of the Cocktail.

Before making the decision to move to Seoul, Lorenzo held the post of Head Bartender at the Mondrian Hotel London’s Dandelyan bar, where he took the bar to new heights positioning it at No.3 on the World’s 50 Best Bars 2016.

He reminisces, “When I heard that Chris Lowder – who had opened Charles H. in the Four Seasons Seoul in 2015, was looking for someone to replace him as Head Bartender I immediately applied for the job. I was fascinated that there was a bar in Korea that was following the legacy and tastes of Charles H. Baker Jr. – someone I admired greatly.”

The legendary American traveller, cocktail writer and bon vivantCharles H. Baker Jr., was a Florida native who drank and ate his way around the world from the 1920s to the 1950s jotting down recipes as he went. He is best known as the author of The Gentleman’s Companionand The South American Gentleman’s Companion, both two-volume works published in the 1930s that explored Baker’s culinary and libational adventures around the world with delicious recipes for food and drink.

Lorenzo adds, “Throughout my career, I spent a lot of time enjoying the Charles H. Baker’s story and when the opportunity came to join the outstanding team here in Seoul, it was serendipitous. And I am excited to carry on the next phase of Charles H. with the team and to also share my love for cocktails and the story of Charles H. with the people here in Seoul, and to the global audience as well!”

In February 2017 he joined the Four Seasons Seoul as new Head of the bar programme of Charles H., and he is responsible for the cocktail programme in all the hotel’s outlets. During this time, the bar ranked at No.27 in Asia 50 Best Bars and No.78 in World’s 100 Best Bars.

Snuggled away in the depths of the hotel, this sophisticated version of a speakeasy has a sleek 36-foot (11-metre) mahogany bar (helmed by Lorenzo) that is built around a menu that changes quarterly. It’s an attractive list that allows guests to experience the times and places that Baker visited – Cuba in 1930, Manila in 1934, Shanghai in 1926 – with drinks, eats and interior design coordinated to tell a distinctly American story of adventure and discovery of unique flavours from around the world. A fairy-tale for adults if you will!

For this celebration of Cherry Heering Bicentenary, Lorenzo has selected the year 1931. “This was the year that Charles H. Baker Jr. was in South Korea during his ‘Around the World’ travels and adventures. And, my inspiration has been to create a cocktail which has the DNA of a Remember the Maine, one of Baker’s classics [originally made with rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, Cherry Heering and absinthe], and to add a savoury element with a touch of ‘Ganjang’, Korean soy sauce.”

One of Lorenzo’s memorable experiences of Cherry Heering happened during the Tales of the Cocktails 2017 in New Orleans when six bars from around world – including Charles H. – showcased their own way of reproducing a Sling during the ‘War of the Sling’ event.

Commenting on the latest trends within the industry, and its future Lorenzo said, “It is to push the bar scene higher by adapting new technology such as fermentation, ageing, etc. to traditional practices as well as taking into account the right approach towards sustainability. Bartenders are becoming more curious, and consumers are more open-minded and desirous of trying new things. It is now essential to contribute further in creating a free and easy access to an educational platform for young professionals who are starting their journey in the hospitality industry.”

 

GLOBETROTTER

25ml Bourbon

25ml Calvados

25ml Sweet Vermouth

8ml Cherry Heering

1 dash Orange Bitter

1 drop Korean Soy Sauce (or standard)

Glass: Rock glass

Method: Stir and strain over a single large ice cube in a glass.

Garnish: An orange and lemon twist.

Ludde Grenmo & 1945 – One of Heering´s 200 years

Words by: Jeff Morgenthaler

Ludvig “Ludde” Grenmo is a bartender that I have a deep amount of respect for. He’s one of those bartenders who did it right: he paid his dues, picked up some serious chops, earned his stripes, and keeps working hard. And through it all, he remains serious about his work and yet one of the most fun and entertaining bartenders out there today.

Ludde lives and works in the same town he grew up in – Stockholm, Sweden. As a kid he dreamed about being a chef – or a rock star – one day. And fortunately for the younger version of himself, he has grown up to be both. But it’s the chef side that shines through and has really defined his decade-long career, in my opinion.

Ludde got his start in the business the same way I did, by working in shitty bars. Starting your career in dirty clubs and dives has a special place in my heart, and I just love that about Ludde. There’s a certain style of work that can only be taught in those sorts of bars, skills like developing the speed of a professional bartender, and how to really, really deal with people. It’s also where you discover your first few steps into the vast world of spirits. Ludde says that the first time he got drunk was with a bottle of Cherry Heering. I mean, let’s face it, who among us can’t admit something similar? I know I can.

Anyway, a bit of a turning point came when Ludde began working at Marie Laveau in the Stockholm city-center. I remember my first restaurant job, and it was a crucial turning point for me as well. It was there at Marie Laveau that Ludde learned about quality and began developing a keen interest in the culinary approach to cocktails. And Marie Laveau was the perfect place to do just that: featuring a super lively scene and Cajun food, it was the hottest restaurant in Stockholm for many years.

These days you can find him behind the bar at Tjoget, where he’s been for the better part of a decade. Tjoget is a fun project, a wine bar, cocktail bar, restaurant, and barber shop all in the same space. And best of all, he gets to work for his best friends. And, as such is my personal dream as well, Ludde plans on working behind the bar until he retires, sharing my dream of owning a little place around the corner from home, working and serving guests until it’s time to call it quits.

Anyway, for his year Ludde selected 1945. You’d think at first glance that a Swede would pick that year for some reference to World War II, or the advent of peace in Europe. But you don’t know Ludde well enough. Of course, it has something to do with restaurants.

1945 was the year when a Swedish man named Tore Wretman bought his first restaurant in Stockholm, a place called Riche which is still around and still an institution in the Swedish culinary scene. Wretman was really the godfather of Swedish cuisine. He traveled the world as a soldier, and studied food from New York to Paris, and in the process created what are now some iconic Swedish dishes.

The drink is a tribute to some time that Wretman spent behind the bar in Paris during the World’s Exposition, in the bar at the Swedish Pavillion. The bar was named Midnight Sun (Soleil du Minuit in French) and Midnight Sun is the name of Ludde’s cocktail.

Tore Wretman is responsible for creating what he called the “epice riche”, a spice blend that was the backbone of his cooking consisting of nutmeg, cloves, allspice and white pepper. It is still prominent in Swedish cooking today.

To make the drink, Cognac is blended with Madeira wine, and then hit with both Cherry Heering and Coffee Heering.  Caramelized “Filmjölk”, a Swedish acidic yoghurt” is added as a nod to Sweden’s dairy heritage, and then two dashes of Epice Riche extract finish the whole thing off. The cocktail is then shaken with ice, strained into a chilled glass coupe, and finished with freshly cracked pepper.

Ludde is a lot like the Midnight Sun, actually: a blend of the new and the old, a nod to tradition, but still a lot of fun to be around. A guy who can work a nightclub with the best of them, but who also tried to be a role model to others in the business with his attention to the environment, personal health, and innovation.

Midnight Sun

30 ML Hennessy VS

20 ML Cherry Heering

10 ML Coffee Heering

20 ML Madeira wine

30 Caramelized “Filmjölk”, Swedish acidic yoghurt” *

2 dash Epice riche –extract**

Glass: Coupe

Method: Shake all igredients with ice

Garnish: Ground black pepper on top

*Caramelized filmjölk

Equel parts filmjölk or yoghurt and caster sugar

Sous vide 20 h in 85c

**Epice riche extract

Steep half ground nutmeg, 2 cloves, 10 white peppercorns and 3 allspice in 10 cl vodka.

Let sit for 10 hours

Ian Matthews & 1990 – One of Heering´s 200 years

Words by: Ashley Pini

Born and raised in The Netherlands, Ian was introduced to French hospitality through his parents, whose friends owned prestigious sea-food & pizza restaurant, La Cigale, in The Provence in the South of France. At the age of 6 he was polishing utensils and rolling dough.

Ian was introduced to lot of different restaurant owners by his parents from a young age, which he recognises as the spark for his interest in the industry. “I started working in the kitchen of De Bisantiek in Breukelen at the age of 16” he said. “This French orientated kitchen got me hooked on the hospitality industry. We stuck together like family and worked as a team.”

So much so, he ended up renting a room next to the restaurant and combined high school with work. “Perfect for a student, as I didn’t have to cook!” he added.

From here, Ian stumbled across his first career move, “When I was going to the University of Groningen in the North of the Netherlands, I went with a friend to see the city a week before the year started. We went for a drink on this massive terrace on the central square. I asked if they needed people to work, and straight away got an interview and got the job,” he explained.

Today, a typical day at work doesn’t exist for Ian: “As I work on a global scale, time differences become second nature.” As such, he starts each working day on Australia – New Zealand time, early in the morning (7am). “Then I work my way back, till early evening when The States wake up,” he said.

Of his work, Ian enjoys attending local activations the most, “I love to engage with the bar scene and understand their challenges,” he explained. “A famous example of this was when there were no Sicilian lemons in India, or any decent lemons at all! So, our recipes had to be adjusted. Due to great local knowledge (taught to me by Arijit Bose), I found Gondoraaj (also known as Kaffir Lime), which lifted many of our recipes to new heights.”

“I love combining global knowledge and different cultural specialities” Ian continued. “I would like to see more local adaptations of international recipes; I think heritage and pride is important.”

Ian counts himself fortunate to be able to learn from others in the industry, in particular the man he claims “is making Vodka relevant again, Pepijn Janssens”

“We used to compete in the East African market (Brown Forman vs DIAGEO), but we joined forces in 2014 to work on an exciting craft brand portfolio. He looks at things differently, from another point of view to me; I am often too romantic.”

An emerging trend in the industry that Ian has become privy to is a move towards less complicated drinks; ones with just two or three ingredients and a mixer. That being said, he notes that: “The classics are still moving well. Old Fashioned, Negronis, Boulevardiers and Daiquiris. I’ve noticed that the quality of classic cocktails is improving across the board.”

When talking about Cherry Heering, a subject close to his heart, Ian ranks it as a must to have in your bar.

“It is in every bar I work with (or in). Of course I use it for Blood & Sand and for  Singapore Slings, but I discovered that there was more to it.  I had the honour to host the Cherry Herring workshop in New Delhi India. This was the first time I had been to a tasting this elaborate. We sampled all the spirit categories and discussed the various options that Cherry Heering offers. I got to talk about all my favourites, it was nice to be able to do this for the Delhi bartender scene.”

Ian chose the year 1990 as it is a special one for him, being the year that Nelson Mandela was freed. “As editor of the school newspaper, I wrote about it on the Commodore 64 and printed it on that old school chain paper.”

“Mandela brought the country together and was truly a father of the nation. He changed the political landscape and brought joy to the people. I only learned only at a later age that my grandfather is from South Africa. I find racial equality very important. We can learn so much from each other,” he added.

As for his cocktail, Ian explained “The Pina Colada deserves a comeback! So do all cruise ship drinks. I like the combination of tropical flavours and locally available ingredients, and so for my cocktail I incorporated a local famous salt called BraaiSout, to balance the sweetness of the juice.”

 Ipanapula Kolada

75ml Fresh pineapple juice

50ml Mhoba Small batch white rum

20ml Coca Re’Al

Rimmed Cherry Heering

Method: Vigorously shaken and strained over ice. Rim the top of a Libbey Pineapple glass with Cherry Heering and sprinkle with fresh grated coconut

Garnish: Homemade Braai Salt and an umbrella

Glassware: Libbey Pineapple glass

Leonardo Leuci & 1962 – One of Heering´s 200 years

Words by: Fabio Bacchi

He’s almost breathless when he arrives, Leonardo Leuci, the Commodore as his fans call him, and his cherished “crew” have a jam-packed set of tasks. Instinctively he says, almost as if talking to himself, “I think I’d like to run a historic coffee shop”.

Let’s be clear: if the inventor (together with Roberto Artusio, Alessandro Procoli and Antonio Parlapiano) of the “Jerry Thomas Project”, the bar which introduced the (very successful) formula of a speakeasyto Italy, identifies the comeback of tradition and historic coffee shops as a future trend, we should probably bet on it. He was already far-seeing with the Jerry Thomas, the first Italian speakeasy, which was born as an after-hours laboratory for certain bartenders, and that today is an award-winning cocktail bar that is highly regarded in international mixology.

The origins of success

“It was 2010,”explains Leuci,“I had been back in Italy for a year and was absolutely certain that the role of the Italian barman was about to change”. In what way?“Look at the British. The customer is always king, satisfying your clientele is the main objective. The opposite is true in Italy: the barman only thinks of himself, and in most cases, he thinks he’s king.”What do you think your contribution to the Italian bar industry has been? “We brought the focus back onto the bartender as a true artisan of drinking culture.” The speakeasy though, as a formula, has done its time. “Yes, true. We are on the downward slope of the curve. The trend of going back to tradition remains though, I mean the idea of a bar as a place for socialising. This is how I see historic bars coming back.” Are you ready to open one? “There’s no rush.”

 Wishes that turned into projects

I ask: and Vermouth? “This is an idea I’d had for ages. Already back in 1999 I used to ask myself if it were possible to have only one brand of Vermouth. It had always been one of the fundamental cocktail ingredients, sadly forgotten. So when we opened the “Jerry Thomas Speakeasy”, we decided to look for producers of vermouth on the ground, as an alternative to the big name brands.”You were looking for the lost vermouth? “Exactly. In 2010 we got the formula: 30 litres of what we would later call ‘Vermouth del Professore’. It was an artisanal aperitif, developed in collaboration between the Jerry Thomas Project and the Antica Distilleria Quaglia that today is exported all over the world.”Then there was the Emporium, the spirit shop. And Mezcal? “‘La Punta’ is a project being run mostly by Roberto Artusio, who has a real passion for Mexico. The project is following a similar journey as the Vermouth. The idea is to increase the value of Mezcal by protecting those small producers who risk becoming extinct.”How so? “We will support projects to keep those small businesses going, like for example, building wells for the small villages of mezcaleros, paying for the product. Through bartending we have granted many wishes, and we will continue to do so.”

Bar stories

Leonardo has travelled around the world, and has many stories to tell. One is about Cherry Heering and which he keeps close to his heart.

“At the end of the 90s I was working in a nice cocktail bar near Rome, in the historical centre of the city. One day during aperitif hour, a lovely old lady with a strong accent from the north of Italy come to the bar and start to explain to me that she hadn’t gone out for a drink in a very long time. This was because her old friends didn’t often go out anymore, but at the time she was on a little holiday with her son in Rome. So she said she wished to have a drink in a nice bar. After a few minutes of old memories she asked me for a Sherry”.

A Sherry Brandy, I asked!  “To be honest, the request sounded really strange to me. So I tried to get a better understanding, but when I asked if she wanted a Cherry Brandy she answered, ‘Yes yes, a Sherry Brandy. I used to drink it 30 years ago and I loved it.’ I decided to pour a glass of Cherry Heering instead of the Spanish wine”. And then? “She took the glass and start to sip the drink, and after the first sip she told me ‘Ooooh this is very good … the best one. The others I tried yesterday tasted like Marsala and I don’t want Marsala, I want this!”.

Bartending of the future

What do you see on the horizon? “To me, going back to old authentic recipes will become more and more of a trend in the next few years. Understanding those recipes, using them again, giving them a new life will help a new generation of bartenders understand the importance of historical roots in this profession. This is also why I believe in professional training, training that is serious, correct and passed on well. Training that gives merit to recipes and products that are still used today thanks to their ability to always remain contemporary, like Cherry Heering for example. Some things don’t happen by chance. Training must be a conscious luxury in this line of work.”

One year, one recipe

“1962 was the year Italian radio broadcast the first Beatles album. In Italy, this was when brandy and vermouth were very fashionable. The 60s were those years of protest, revolt and renewal. They are a great source of inspiration for me.”

 

THE RADIO

20 ml Italian Brandy

20 ml Dark Jamaican Rum

20 ml Cherry Heering

25ml lemon juice

10 ml sugar syrup

10 ml egg white

2 dash all spice bitters

Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass

Glass: Vintage coupette.

Garnish: Grated nutmeg

 

 

Kiki Moka & 1988 – One of Heering´s 200 years

Words by: Theodora Sutcliffe

Many might mock Tom Cruise’s 1988 film Cocktail– but for Kiki Moka, one of Indonesia’s top bartenders, it was transformative.

After finishing high school in his home city of Makassar, he tried to follow his dream of drumming in a rock band. Then an aunt asked if he’d like to come to Jakarta, 1,400km away on a completely different island, and work in a bar. “The night after she offered me the job, I watched the Cocktailmovie, and Tom Cruise,” he says. “I thought: ‘That’s the right job for me: fun, no pressure, no boring time in front of the computer. I’ll become a bartender!’”

The bar? Café Batavia, a landmark venue in a 200-year-old building at the heart of the gridlocked megacity’s historic quarter. Moka started as a bar back, clearing glasses, but couldn’t have had a better introduction to his craft: the menu was almost entirely classics. From there, he moved to the now-defunct Lamborghini Cafe, then wine bar Manna Lounge. There he met Michael Wijono, who is still, as one of the partners in Jakarta nightlife titan Union Group, his boss today. “We have 15 bars right now, and I look after all of them,” Moka says, although he’s most often to be found in Loewy, their buzzy bar and bistro in Kuningan.

Moka created his Heering anniversary cocktail, Cherry Pop, for another Union Group bar, The Dutch. “Every bar has a different character, and The Dutch is more into the beer style: at that time beer gardens were very fashionable in Jakarta but they mostly sold beer cocktails flavoured with fruit syrup, because it was very difficult to get Trappist beer or a decent fruit-flavoured beer,” he says. The Cherry Pop takes the beer + fruit syrup formula and upgrades it to a very adult beertail that blends the complexity of Guinness with Heering’s ripe cherry fruit.

Moka’s skill at creating elegant, unfussy drinks was recognised in 2011 when the World Class competition came to Indonesia for the first time. Somewhat to his surprise, he became the nation’s first World Class champion, competing in the finals in New Delhi alongside friends like Malaysia’s Shawn Chong. “I’d already learned about cocktails, but not deep like that: it took me to the next level of bartending,” he says.

Today, Union Group works hard to develop and retain bartending talent. “We travel a lot: we go to Hong Kong, London, Melbourne to learn about cocktails,” Moka says. “Every year we have a cocktail trip and my job is looking for which festival will increase our skill in terms of the company and affect the cocktail industry in Indonesia: it could be Tales, it could be Bar Convent Berlin…”

For, while there’s ample room for growth in the Indonesian market, cocktail culture could do with some help. A nation with six official religions, over 700 languages, around 18,000 islands (they’re still counting) and over 260 million people presents its own very special challenges. At the moment, the one that’s bugging Moka is stock availability. Duty charges are stiff, imports are irregular and it’s not uncommon for products to run out across the nation.

Assuming the stock crisis stabilises and Bali’s volcano behaves itself, Moka would like to set up a cocktail week on Bali, perhaps as early as this year: industry friends in Bangkok and Singapore are already on side. “I’m really concerned to promote cocktail culture for Indonesia,” he says. “But there’s so much traffic in Jakarta it’s no good for bar hopping, and I think brand ambassadors would prefer to come to Bali.”

While Indonesia’s bartending industry is overwhelmingly focused on Bali and Jakarta, Moka is doing his bit to help spread the cocktail gospel nationwide. He consulted on the opening of Makassar’s first cocktail bar, ON20, in 2016. “The bar is selling 60-80 Martinis a month,” he says with pride.

Menus have changed beyond recognition over Moka’s 20 years in the industry. “Over the last eight to 10 years, it’s been changing: before it was mostly blue drinks, or lots of spirits and liqueurs in a single glass, super-strong drinks with an ugly colour, flairing, cocktails with fire, flaming drinks,” he says. “Now there’s more classics and twisted classics. A few bars are also playing around with zero waste ingredients, and there are some that are using the centrifuge and the rotary evaporator.”

When Moka is not in a bar, you’ll often see him on his custom motorbike, a sleek black beast that’s sponsored by Brown-Forman. “Now it’s become a bartender hobby: there’s around 12 bartenders building bikes now, and we’ve already finished three,” he says. “We’re going to ride together from Jakarta to Bali.” The Tom Cruise of Cocktailmight not approve – but the Tom Cruise of Top Guncertainly would.

Cherry Pop

30ml Peter Heering Cherry Brandy (chilled)

15ml Dark Rum

Fill up with Guinness Draught

 

Garnish: with Cherry Macerated Peter Heering 1 day.

Glass : Coupe

Method : Build ingredients in a glass

 

Leo Robitschek & 1876 – One of Heering´s 200 years

Words by: Theodora Sutcliffe

“When we were opening NoMad, we took a walk through the area with David Wondrich,” Leo Robitschek recalls.

“There used to be this little area of bars and debauchery called Satan’s Circus, which was also where the theatres were. There was no area quite like this. It was centred around the New York elite, but also the underbelly of society. It was where Jerry Thomas opened his first bar. So the Satan’s Circus was the first cocktail I created for the NoMad using that background.”

Since joining the team at Eleven Madison Park, the world’s best restaurant per the 2017 World’s 50 Best, Robitschek’s career has gone from strength to strength. The NoMad NYC ranks an impressive #3 on the World’s 50 Best Bars, and #1 in North America. It’s been recognised with a James Beard award for best bar programme and Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards for best American bar team, best American hotel bar and best American restaurant bar. And, as we speak, Robitschek has just opened the bars at the new NoMad LA.

Robitschek chose 1876 for his Heering Anniversary year less for a specific event than as an emblem of a very particular era: a period when Gilded Age glories and Gangs of New York grime intersected to help launch the age of the cocktail. “1876 was a time when all those bars and saloons happened to be there,” he says. “It was a time when there was a lot happening, a mixture between all the different classes in the saloons and gambling halls. It was a time in New York when everything was starting to gentrify in a way, and the area was very popular with people that just wanted a good drink but also with people who had their vices.”

 A devilish, deceptively simple blend of just four ingredients: rye whiskey, Cherry Heering, chilli-infused Aperol and citrus, the Satan’s Circus demonstrates Robitschek’s culinary precision and laser-sharp detailing. “We use five different types of chilli for the infusion: split them in half, let them macerate for 5-10 minutes, then start tasting,” he says.

Although he now oversees a total of seven bars – one at Eleven Madison Park, two at NoMad NYC and four at NoMad LA – it took Robitschek a while to commit to bartending as a career. When he started the beverage programme at Eleven Madison Park, it was as a side job while he took additional college courses after his career in finance palled.

In fact, even when Robitschek started work on the NoMad, he was far from committed. “They sat me down at the table, said, ‘What do you want to do?’ I said, ‘I’m going to go to medical school,’” he recalls. “They said, ‘We have a project we might be working on, called the NoMad: do you want to work on it?’ I did it, thinking I’d join for a year and then go to medical school, and I’ve never looked back.”

 Overseeing the bar programme at the world’s best restaurant – where dinner will set you back $315 in the main dining room or $175 in the bar – has both rewards and challenges. “A lot of people get set in their ways: you become number one in the world, and you’re scared to change, so you continue down a specific path. We blossom and embrace change,” Robitschek says. “There’s a painter that said, ‘I change to continue being who I am,’ and that’s something we truly believe in, and that we embrace.”

Robitschek still works super-closely with Daniel Humm, chef at both Eleven Madison Park and the NoMad, taking inspiration from new ingredients he’s excited about, or new dishes he’s created. “We also work with one of our R&D chefs: they take the backburner and don’t impose ideas on us, but they’re there to help us extract any flavours that we want to,” Robitschek says. While the kitchen helps with specifically culinary ingredients and with fermentation, his team, which includes bartenders with a background in cooking, is self-sufficient most of the time.

 And the resources don’t stop at the kitchen. Robitschek bases his famous Reserve cocktail list on a wealth of rare spirits, sourced from auctions, estate sales and specialist dealers. Yet, surprisingly, one of the industry trends he’s most enthusiastic about is the rediscovery of fun. “I think for a long time, especially in New York with this cocktail renaissance, you were building speakeasies to showcase these craft cocktails,” he says. “Now there’s so many different styles of bars: they’re dive bars, theme bars, they have really good cocktails but they’re a bit loose and alive.”

 It’s a panoply of liquid wonders Jerry Thomas would likely have appreciated as he wandered through Satan’s Circus all those moons ago

SATAN´S CIRCUS

2oz Rye Whiskey

3/4oz Cherry Heering

3/4oz Chile-infused Aperol

3/4oz Fresh lemon juice

Glass: Coupe

Method: Combine whiskey, cherry liqueur, aperol and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, cover and shake

until outside of shaker is frosty, about 30 seconds. Strain into glass

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