Florence Cocktail Week: a new generation of provincial bars is born

Florence Cocktail Week, in Florence from 6 to 12 May, this year involves not only the best Florentine cocktail bars but also the gems of the province.

They already call it the Florence effect . In the world of mixing like it or not, the influence that the phenomenon of Florence Cocktail Week has had can no longer be relegated to a local event. And waiting for the fourth edition, from 6 to 12 May ,the event this year also involves the bars of the Tuscan provincethe national weight of these seven days of meetings, masterclasses, night shifts with Italian and international guests, round tables and events aimed at an audience of professionals and enthusiasts, is all there: in a program well thought out by the organizers, together with the sponsoring companies and to the protagonists of the world of mixing. This year, the centenary of the birth of Negroni is at the center of the scene , right in Florence in the then Caffè Casoni in via de ‘Tornabuoni. ” Florence has woken up but the long wave of Florence is now driving the mixing of quality throughout the region, and that’s what we want to tell this year “, says Paola Mencarelli , heart and soul of FCW with Lorenzo Nigro. FCW involves the best cocktail bars in Florence (about thirty in this edition) and, for the first time, in Tuscany and is sponsored by the Municipality of Florence, which is also the promoter of the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the Negroni.

Tuscany woke up

“ The bars in the Tuscan province are changing. They have often been family bars for generations, now in the hands of young people who, after an experience abroad or even in Florence in the top clubs, decide to return to smaller centers and invest, transforming the now dated environments and the offer. A model that is revitalizing unexpected areas ”says Paola Mencarelli, tireless explorer of good drinking, abroad as in her Tuscany. A scouting job, his, which has brought out 10 bars, one per province , protagonists of the new contest linked to the Tuscany Cocktail Week . “This year, we have decided to move our main contest to the regional level, also to enhance the commitment that many young people are putting into spreading a new mix with their quality proposal “. There will be three proposals on the menu of the TCW restaurants: a signature cocktail of free creation, with which the bartender will participate in the Final Contest, a Twist on the Negroni (to celebrate its centenary) and an I Love Bitter (Amari / Bitter). The award ceremony will take place on 12 May.

Small villages, large bars

” I was especially surprised by Prato and Pistoia, whose historic centers are very lively and there are many quality clubs but the stories of the more distant ones are also interesting, in small villages, where you do not expect it “,in the small villages, where you do not expect it, there are interesting gems and storiesPaola Mencarelli tells us. In the selection you also select some hotel bars but it is the villages that are real surprises. This is the case, for example, of the Idyllium in Pienza , near Siena, where the owner and bartender Bledar Ndoci, after an experience in 1930 in Milan (the speakeasy that has been in the 100 of the World’s 50 Best Bars a few months ago ) wanted to return to the place of origin. Frequented every day by thousands of tourists, many passing through, Pienza thus has a bar that offers an unexpected proposal, and not just for the locals. Among the new bars in the province also surprise Pura Vida , in Castiglione della Pescaia, whose owner and bartender is Riccardo Fancello; the Funi 1898in Montecatini with a woman owner, Francesca Gentile, and the bartender Tiziano Zanobini, and finally Salotto Negroni in Certaldo, whose owner and bartender is Cosimo Neri. Marco Serri of the Big Easy Cocktail Bar returned to his Prato after an experience in Florence, while in Livorno Nicolò Pedreschi focused on tiki mixing with his Makutu Tiki Bar . “ It would be nice to create tours through the provinces of our region, to discover these country places. A way to promote the whole Tuscan territory ”Paola Mencarelli is keen to underline.

100 years of Negroni

It will be a thrill to see all of the world’s leading Negroni experts sitting at the table . Because this great Italian classic is much loved globally. Indeed, it is the second best-selling in the world , according to the latest Drinks International classic (the first is Old Fashioned). Certainly the count to whom we owe the invention would have been happy. And so during the FCW, Saturday 11 May , the wait is all for the round table, sponsored by the Municipality of Florence, which will feature the classic Florentine cocktail. To talk about the landlord Luca Picchi , author of the book Negroni Cocktail, an Italian legendand illustrious guests of the international mixology scene such as: Mauro Mahjoub, The King of Negroni , in Munich, Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller, from London, and David Wondrich, from New York, among the world’s leading authorities on the history of cocktail.

What (other) happens to FCW 19

In 2019, therefore, 30 Florentine clubs will join the Week , some even hotel bars, with a Cocktail List consisting of: a Signature Cocktail (Twist on the Negroni), a RiEsco a Bere Italiano , an I Love Bitter and a Green Drink , in which bartenders will be able to give free rein to all their creativity. For them, the FCW Awards Ceremony is scheduled for the final day of May 12, replacing the usual contest award among Florentine bartenders. On this occasion, the sponsoring companies will award the winning bartenders and cocktail bars in the various categories. The second edition of RiEsco a Bere Italiano will also take place on the same day, with a selection of top made in Italy products, and the unmissable award to the Young Talent under 25.

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