Maurizio Stocchetto & 1866 – One of Heering´s 200 years

Words by: Fabio Bacchi

Maurizio Stocchetto believes that tradition is experience that becomes art – part of a story that remains fresh no matter how many times it’s told.

As a typical artists’ son, Maurizio Stocchetto has big shoes to fill, a legacy that deserves to be respected and preserved. He sees bartending as an art form practised in the bar: that microcosm of new and age-old stories. His father, Mirco, invented one of the most iconic Italian-style drinks in the world, the Negroni Sbagliato [Bungled Negroni]. Perhaps the most fortuitous accident in bartending history, it put the bartending dynasty’s Bar Basso in Milan, and its Negroni Sbagliato, on the map. It’s not hard to recognise Stocchetto, the current face of Bar Basso in Milan. His disarming smile greets you as you walk into his bar: a smile named Maurizio.

Bar Basso’s atmosphere is sufficiently retro to transport you back in time. The large, traditional glasses that Bar Basso uses to serve its Negronis are a source of admiration and obvious wonder to those used to seeing the drink in a classic tumbler. Memorabilia of bygone times, including bottles and keepsakes from a long history of bartending, are on display. Maurizio remembers his father as a protagonist of the Italian bartending tradition that was part of the renowned international “Dolce Vita” era. And Bar Basso has a proud place in the history books, thanks to the creation of the Negroni.

What does Bar Basso mean to Milan and to you? 

It’s my home, it always has been and it always will be. We take you back in time – Maurizio explains-to a time that my father successfully transported from Cortina d’ Ampezzo to Milan when he took over this bar, turning it into a home for himself and the people of Milan. It was the Dolce Vita era, populated by a jet set crowd that made its mark. We keep a very close eye on the trends that come and go over time, we respect them, and we adopt any elements that suit our style, but deep down we don’t change. Our customers have made their choices, and we’re part of that, and very proud to be so. The history of the Negroni and it’s “alternative” cousin, invented by my father, is part of the history of Italy that appears in the books featuring this cocktail, in the interviews we give to magazines from all over the world. And so when we create a new cocktail, we take inspiration from historical events and their impact on society. The ingredients are part of the country’s history. Milan is a city known for the aperitivo, for fashion, for the Italian-style cocktail culture. The Negroni Sbagliato epitomises this, and has become popular across the world. The Negroni Sbagliato was born when my father accidentally used a bottle of Prosecco instead of Gin. There has never been a more perfect accident, and this is part of my history.

What’s the connection between Maurizio Stocchetto and Cherry Heering?

I remember the early days of my career at my father’s bar very clearly, the bottles of Cherry Heering elegantly arranged on the shelves. But I’d already come across Cherry Heering as a child. I collected small bottles given to me by my father, and the first of these were Heering bottles. I still have them. I like to take inspiration from historical events when creating my drinks. In 1866, Jean Baptiste Clément – a French composer, poet and musician – wrote a song called “The time of cherries”. Clément was also a member of the Paris Commune. The piece became a very famous French classic, and was covered by other artists including Yves Montand and Edith Piaf. The cherries in that song remind me of Heering’s cherries, the freshness of the composer’s ideas makes me think of the freshness of Heering. I dedicated this drink to the poet, and called it The Communard.

The Communard 

1/10 Dry Vermouth

7/10 Vodka

2/10 Cherry Herring

Glass: Cocktail

Method: Stir ingredients and pour into a glass

Garnish: piece of orange peel in the shape of a moustache (a tribute to Jean Baptiste Clément’s moustache) and a cherry.

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Giancomo Giannotti & 2006 – One of Heerings 200 year

Words by: Ashley Pini

Giacomo Gianotti, born in Tuscany, wanted to be a bartender “since the beginning,” he said. Having come from a background of hospitality (his family run an ice cream business), Giacomo has been involved in the hospitality industry since he was a child, but wanted to do something special and different to his parents and brothers. The idea of being a bartender always inspired me.

Following some time at hospitality school, he moved to London to learn English, and it was during this time in London that he discovered “a city with amazing cocktail bars and training, and it was there that I started my journey,” he added.

Giacomo went on to be crowned the 2014 World Class Competition Spain winner and then opened his very own bar, two events he told us made him realise that bartending would be his career from here on in. Fast forward to today, and a regular week for him includes working as one of the owners of his bar, Paradiso, as bar manager, as well as travelling constantly, “exporting Paradiso’s philosophy and style around the world!”

Giacomo chose 2006 as the year that has inspired his cocktail for the simple reason that “It is the year that Italy won the World Cup. It was incredible – everybody was partying and the most important element was that everybody was friends! Which can be quite difficult in Italy at times.”

He continued, “The cocktail I have created reminds me of the cake that my grandmother made me the day after the World Cup. It was a very special moment and one I will always remember. Unfortunately, she left us same year too.”

Of Cherry Heering, he said: “When I think about Cherry Heering. I’m think back to my first days bartending in London more than 10 years ago. I always related Cherry Heering with the classic cocktails and the history of cocktails.”

“The flavour remind me of my childhood, and I love it for mixing because is very versatile; good with sweet flavour, as well as working well with savory and umami ingredients.”

The element of the bartending industry that excites Giacomo the most is “without a doubt, the creation of new drinks – the creative process behind a drink, the introduction of a new ingredient and creating a new concept in general.”

Paradiso, the bar he works in, is a “speakeasy bar, modern style,” he went on. “From the street, what you will see is a pastrami bar and behind a vintage fridge there is Paradiso.”

“You enter Paradiso and find an elegant bar crafted from wood and white marble. The atmosphere is elegant but informal, and the service is very familiar.”

“Our signature cocktails are what stand us apart from the rest. We focus on surprising our guests and all their senses, from the flavour with exotic ingredients, presentation of the cocktails and aromas to unusual glassware.”

“I think sustainability is a huge issue within the industry and one that the industry as a whole needs to take notice of. I really hope that the future will see all bars start to respect our motherland, starting by refusing to use plastic straws and finding an alternative solution, reusing waste and of course recycling,” he concluded.

 Saffron & Cherry

40 ml Saffron Vodka

15 ml Cherry Heering

15 ml Rice Cream

3 ml Cynar

10 ml Lime triple sex ( i forgot to add )

1 dash cardamom essence

Glass: Rocks Glass

Method: Shake all ingredients and strain into a glass filled with crushed ice

Finish with float of Cherry Heering

Garnish: Butter biscuit, salt caramel cream and a cherry

 

 

Ana Maria Tarrus & 1955 – One of Heering´s 200 year

Words by: Fabio Bacchi

A cosmopolitan mind-set, with that fun-loving Latin touch (she’s from Girona after all), which helps her find the best in every situation. Ana Maria Tarrus, brand coordinator of Molinari in Italy, joined the spirit industry six years ago. She came from an illustrious, very different career path, working for international companies at the forefront of technology, such as Airbus and the Eurofighter project.

When Ana Maria Tarrus arrived in Italy, she decided to settle there because she saw that it was the cradle of that culture which she loved so much. She loves that bartender’s soul made of inspiration, creativity and hospitality. She values it in every country where for work she meets a bartender who expresses it. The phrase said by someone who fully understands the essence of the bartending industry is enlightening: “You can’t pretend to be someone you aren’t in bartending. Your real self comes through. In this way, professional sharing is very typical, and can be used to leverage the growth of the role of the bartender more and more. Bartenders share their experiences, they exchange information. In this way great attention is paid to their professional role.”

The art of meeting and getting to know people

The social aspect of the bar and spirit industry drew Ana Maria in from the get go. “Personal involvement is so prevalent that once you’re a part of it, it’s difficult getting out. You get to know people closely,” explains Ana Maria. She speaks like one who has been swept away, captivated by this world that she regards as her natural environment. “I’ve had wonderful professional experiences, within major companies, but of course within rigid structures and the limits of perfection, they were cold. Then I met Angelo Molinari of the famous Sambuca and everything changed.” In this way Ana found herself being part of that touring circus that moves from one bar show to the next. She met bartenders and figures within the spirit industry. “I was at the Athens Bar Show last November with our mixologist and suddenly our distribution partner in Greece showed up at our stand with a wonderful woman. I remember hearing here and there among our mixologist and bartenders friends: There is Mrs Heering! There is Mrs Heering! I immediately imagined that that woman was an institution as well the product she represents! Adéle Robberstad was then introduced to us and from the first moment we shared a wonderful chemistry that led us to run around the fair, visiting other brands and friends, sharing drinks and great jokes. Our humour, curiosity and passion for our products made that evening an amazing cocktail of moments, which “Heeringsed” our hearts and brought us to wish and hope that our products can match as well as our souls!”

Thoughts on the present and future of the industry

“Bartenders are becoming more professional as happened to chefs worldwide a couple of decades ago. In my opinion, this has two positive aspects: on the one hand they are able to understand the products better and combine more flavours and aromas, providing the opportunity of mixing ingredients more and better as happens in a cocktail. On the other hand, this brings them also to rediscover traditional and quality products. I believe that two aspects are important in the future of the spirit industry. These are responsible drinking and the increasing focus on the environment. These are the focus for all family companies which recognise themes in their history and their own values. We’ve continued to make consumers aware of the importance of responsible drinking with advertising campaigns; the last one was in Italy in 2013. As for the environment, we believe that this issue affects us all, and we all need to contribute to safeguarding it.

The year celebrating the Cherry Heering bicentenary

1955 was the beginning of the famous Dolce Vita. More and more movie stars came from all over the world to shoot movies in the Cinecittà studios of Rome and were seen in the city centre, particularly in Via Veneto. It was also the year that Sambuca Molinari was introduced to the jet set. For this cocktail, Ana Maria: I’ve called on the collaboration of Antonio Parlapiano from the Jerry Thomas Project Speakeasy in Rome. The proposed cocktail for the Cherry Heering bicentenary is a reinterpretation of Ngiam Tong Boon’s Singapore Sling,with an Italian twist to achieve a balanced flavour of Arrack from Goa.

The Arrack Job Cocktail

Ingredients

20 ml Molinari Sambuca

30 ml Cherry Heering

30 ml lime juice

45 ml freshly squeezed pineapple juice

2 dashes of Angostura

Top with herbal soda (quinine, gentian and absinthe soda)

Method: shake

Glassware: high and narrow tumbler without ice

Garnish: dried pineapple

 

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