The 100 Years of Negroni
The Negroni cocktail will celebrate its 100 years anniversary in 2020 & to commemorate that fact Martini held in Turin, the home of Vermouth, a completely new cocktail competition to pay tribute to this great classic cocktail. The heart of the challenge of the competition as very simple - innovation! That being said the cocktail couldn't have just be a complete rework & had to still be recognisingly a Negroni as the soul of the cocktail. We were lucky enough at Cocktails For You to be invited to support this competition & to judge the entire event.
The Soul of the Competition: Five different champions from five different countries all based in Eastern Europe were competing in the finals in Turin. There were representatives of Poland, Belarus, Latvia, Russia & Ukraine present at the grand finals each vying for the title of champion. There were multiple different approaches & ideologies but honest to God every cocktail was bloody delicious! Our first arrival in the city of Turin was filled with wonder at the decades old streets & marble building that literally breathed 'grandeur' with memories of great empires of Italy's past. You can imagine yourself walking through these streets a hundred years ago & nothing would've been different than it is today. During our trip for the competition we were lucky enough to be treated with a tour of the a new museum of coffee from the international company Lavazza. It is refreshing to see the regional pride of the people of Turin & their region of Piedmont! We recall walking through this newly built contemporary installation of brilliant as the Master Blender of Martini Beppe Musso was telling us how this was the first time both companies have worked like this but he believes in the power of collaboration. Truly a great show of camaraderie between 2 of the worlds biggest companies in our industry!
The Finals! All the finalists were prepared for the moment of truth where they were to step up to the podium & present their drink they'd been honing for month beforehand. The judges this year were also one of the strongest line-ups I've seen in years of cocktail competitions! In no particular order we had - Beppe Musso the Master Blender of Martini Vermouth, Leon Tan the Head Bartenders of Native bar in Singapore(No. 12 of the Worlds Best Bars) & Francesco Viarezzo the International Training Manager for Lavazza coffee. These were all experts in their specific field & highly difficult people to please. This pressure would be on to innovate enough for Leon Tan whilst maintaining the integrity of the classic Negroni for Beppe Musso & still impressing with your drink the highly trained palate of Francesco Viarezzo. The prize of the 100 Years of Negroni competition would be an internship program at Native bar in Singapore in 2020 with the support of the Martini family as well as their brand ambassador Max Ivashenko. The entire competition of 100 Years of Negroni was originally created by the expert & watchful eye of Maxim as he served as Master of Ceremony for the finals in Turin.
It is difficult to write about the competitors of a cocktail competition as they are often numerous as well as being devoted individuals in their own right. Each unique & irreplaceable with a completely different perspective on the competition. It is also probably the very thing that makes them so loveable in the first place! After all they can all make a Negroni but I'm sure not all of them would taste the same as they would bring their unique take on the cocktail. The 5 finalists were: Russia - Vladimir Mayakov Latvia - Gjebss Spilbergss Poland - Aleksander Monkiewicz Belarus - Sergey Slesarenok Ukraine - Denys Kiliienko All of them went in a million directions when it come to their innovative interpretation of the Negroni cocktail for this competition. We had unique Tuscan distillates that were paired with a homogeniser & pre-bottled beforehand as well as foams made of fresh tomatoes to Negroni infused with local fruits or where the Gin was substituted for Cachaca altogether!
The Champion! The winner of the 100 years Negroni challenge was none other than the Ukrainian finalist Danis Kiliienko from Vremya Restaurant in Odessa! His unique take on the Negroni was to deconstruct the cocktail & utilise the flavour from the garnish as his innovation angle. Boosting the flavours of the orange by incorporating it into a foam & using red wine to added tannins to the cocktail. A simple twist but unique & subtle enough that everyone felt they could drink more than 5 of these cocktails back to back(Responsibly of course!) Name: Negroni Nazionale Ingredients: Bombay Sapphire Martini Riserva Rubino Martini Riserva Bitter Sicilian Wine Topped with Blood Orange & Reserva Bitter Foam