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What’s better than Florence during the spring? Although the Tuscan capital is beautiful all year round, when the days get warm and the sun shines on Brunelleschi’s dome it seems almost as if the old streets of the city are breathing again, with the breeze that brings with it smells of leaves and flowers and the crowds of tourists who wander free from scarves and coats, without having to fear a sudden rainfall. But to make it even better the spectacle of Florence during the spring, one of the most interesting exhibitions that take place in the Tuscan capital will return, from April 30 to May 6: the third edition of the Florence Cocktail Week.
For seven days the best mixologists in the city will battle with their cocktails and, on the last day, the panel of judges will elect the winner. In the meantime, events, cocktail parties, nightshifts, debates and master classes will all take place throughout the city. Each mixologist will have to create their own signature cocktail, a drink for the “Abituati al Futuro” category, a twist on the Negroni and a mixture made only with Italian ingredients for the category “RiEsco a Bere Italiano”.
This third edition promises to be the most beautiful so far. The competing bars have increased, now rising to twenty-one, and with them the number of suggestive locations that will be the battlefield of the contest. The guests of this year, then, are more than illustrious: the “King of the Negroni”, Mauro Mahjoub, from the Boulevardier Bar of Monaco; Sullivan Doh and Aris Makris of the Parisian Le Syndicat; Samuel Ambrosi of the Cloackroom Cocktail Lab of Treviso and, finally, the demigod of mixology, Philip Bischoff, whose Manhattan Bar, in Singapore, is the best bar in Asia and the seventh best in the world.
The promotion of Italian products will be one of the cornerstones of the event and will culminate Friday 4 May with “RiEsco a Bere Italiano – Salotto of Liquors, Bitters and Italian Distillates” at Zeffirelli’s Tea Room: an afternoon dedicated to Made in Italy products, during which you will taste the best Italian products between master classes and encounters. During the days before the final contest, however, a trio of experts composed by bartenders Flavio Angiolillo and Diego Ferrari and sommelier Kristine Bocchino will evaluate the cocktails in competition. Only six of these will be selected for the last round, which will be held on the last day at the Sala Vanni in Piazza del Carmine, with mixologists Philip Bischoff, Daniele Gentili and Lucia Montanelli and the journalist Federico De Cesare Viola on the jury.
And these are only the key events, the calendar of the week is full of events like the master classes and the night shifts of the great bartenders in the best bars in the city. Tuesday, May 1, the “King of the Negroni” Mauro Mahjoub will be behind the counter of Caffè Gilli; Wednesday 2 there will be the master class of Matthew Rooney at Rasputin and Franco Gasparri at Locale, dedicated to whiskey, followed in the evening by the event “At Dinner Dinner with the Single Malt Scotch Whiskey”, in the same place; Thursday 3 Alex Frezza from L’Antiquario of Naples will bring his skills to the Ditta Artigianale of Via Sprone; Friday 4 there will be a great double occasion, with Sullivan Doh and Aris Makris at Manifattura Tabacchi and Filippo Sisti from Talea at MAD Souls & Spirits in Borgo San Frediano; and, finally, the crowning will take place on Sunday evening with the masterclass and the night shift of the mixology master Philip Bischoff at the Atrium Bar of the Four Seasons.
An intense week, in short, full of events that mustn’t be missed, during which some of the most famous mixologists on a national and international level will fill the sunny streets of Florence with their imagination and their inventiveness and we will be able to experiment the most recent developments of the art of mixology surrounded by the beauties of the Renaissance. There will be a lot to do and, above all, a lot to drink, so keep your taste buds ready and lift the glasses.
Below, find a list of bartenders who will compete with their bar and their signature cocktail:
- Edoardo Sandri of Atrium Bar – Four Seasons Hotel with El Falso Nueve (4-2-3-1)
- Francesca Lorenzoni of Rasputin with A Coffee with a Friend, a Whiskey with a Stranger
- Marco Filippeschi of Locale with Desert Storm
- Neri Fantechi of MAD Souls & Spirits with FAVoloso
- Luca Picchi of Gilli 1733 with Fu-Flux (aka Fluid Fux)
- Cristian Guitti of Bitter Bar with Golden Ticket
- Cosimo Tarducci of La Ménagère with La Belle Équipe
- Sarah Nardi of Manifattura with Un Bacione a Firenze
- Kareem Bennett of Ditta Artigianale Oltrarno with La Belle Âme
- Federico Pempori of Picteau Lounge Bar – Lungarno Hotel with L’Albero dei Racconti
- Lorenzo Bianco of Empireo – Plaza Hotel Lucchesi with il Lady Chatterley’s Lover
- Cristina Bini of Gurdulù with il Latte +
- Thomas Martini of Harry’s Bar with il Silver Spring
- Gennaro Caso of Inferno with il Fumo e Fiamme
- Mirò Abdel of Le Pool Bar – Villa Cora with il Rahman Toscanillo
- Silvano Evangelista of Osteria del Pavone with il Florence’s Red Carpet
- Giorgio Lupi of Pint of View with il Purple Sabbath
- Lorenzo Aiosa of The Cloister – Belmond Villa San Michele with Orient Express Punch
- Sacha Mecocci of The Fusion Bar – Gallery Hotel Art with il Nuestra Tradición
- Paolo Marini of Viktoria Lounge Bar with il Midnight Breakfast
- Christian Pampo of Winter Garden Bar – The St. Regis Florence with il Midnight Namas-tè
Photo credit © Martino Dini, Veronica Gaido