Meet Giovanni Castorina
From serving VIPs to the go-to trends in mixology at the moment – Our Bar Manager, Giovanni Castorina tells us all about his craft.
2nd October 2017
We know autumn has arrived as the leaves turn to brilliant shades of red and a crispness makes its way into the air. It’s the season of gorgeous colours, bright days and woollen scarves. When it comes to food and drink, it’s the time of year when menus turn orange, as hearty and warming flavours sate our appetites.
Seasonal cocktails go hand-in-hand with this time of year, bringing earthy flavours with hints of spice together with warming, carefully crafted spirits. Here are our three favourite cocktails that suit the season immaculately.
At the heart of this cocktail is Maxime Trijal VSOP Cognac, made by the family-run company that has been distilling since 1859. The family describes their process for cognac production as an emotional one – they diligently extract the best from their vines in the silence of their cellars. The VSOP Cognac in particular is full of the notes of the dried fruits traditionally eaten at this time of year.
Added to this cocktail is the sweet, perfectly autumnal almond flavoured Amaretto Lazzaroni – another distiller that dates back to the 1850s – and a couple of dashes of Strega liqueur, with its fragrant taste and vivid yellow colour.
Shaken with ice and double strained, the Connected Sidecar is served with a dry orange wheel and star anise, giving it the luxuriant hint of autumn spiciness.
This palpably original cocktail rests in a clay pot for at least 48 hours before being served. The clay pot itself is designed by renowned entrepreneur and bartender Giancarlo Mancino, who also crafted the cocktail menu at THE BAR at The Athenaeum. Going into the cocktail itself are Mancino’s own artisanal Vermouth and Rosso, which are made using quintessentially autumnal ingredients including rhubarb, juniper and cinnamon bark.
Added to the Clay Pot Negroni is Rinomato Bitter – made using sweet orange peel and earthy angelica – as well as VII Hills gin, which is made with botanicals including rosehip and pomegranate.
Served with a chunk of ice and grapefruit twists or a dry orange wheel, the Clay Pot Negroni embodies the tradition and colours of autumn, and is all-at-once punchy and aromatic.
Vulson Old Rye is the backbone of this cocktail, bringing in the freshness of the French Alps where the distillery is based. Mancino Vermouth Secco provides yet more crispness to the cocktail, but comes peppered with autumnal notes such as cardamom and nutmeg.
The bitter Italian Cynar liqueur – made from 13 herbs and plants – adds richness to the cocktail, along with some vibrant Maraschino, which brings the colour and dynamism of Marasca cherries. The finishing touches include a few dashes of orange and mandarin bitter, bringing more autumnal elements into the drink. A Very Brooklyn Mancino – jam packed with flavour – comes garnished with a lemon twist.
Duck into THE BAR at The Athenaeum to indulge in the aromas of autumn bound up within the cocktails. It’s a must for any autumn evening in London. With original combinations of flavours, these cocktails will warm the soul, whatever the weather is doing outside.VISIT THE BAR
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