Lucas Kelm wins Art of Italicus: “How do I rethink the Italian aperitif”

Lucas Kelm, barman and manager of the Alajmo brothers’ premises in Venice, won Art of Italicus by reinterpreting the Italian aperitif.

A bar conceived by designer Philippe Starck as a small stage, in the center of a historic building, the T Fondaco dei Tedeschi, a stone’s throw from Ponte Rialto, in Venice. Here, at the counter of the Alajmo brothers’ AMO Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge ,lucas kelm, bartender of the alajmo brothers, won art of italicusthat Lucas Kelm , also bar supervisor of the whole group, created the cocktail Sketch , winner of the Italian final of Art of Italicus . The contest, now in its second edition, saw 10 bartenders from our country challenge each other, between the walls of Patrick Pistolesi ‘s Drink Kong in Rome. The goal was to rethink the Italian aperitif inspired by art. The protagonist of the drinks in competition was naturally Italicus, the bergamot rosolio created by Giuseppe Gallo and launched in 2016, which was able to bring the ancient liqueur, now almost forgotten, back into the hands and in the shakers of bartenders. The next step for Kelm will be the participation on November 4th in Barcelona  at theEuropean final to win the title of 2019 Global Italicus Bar Artist of the Year .

The winner’s inspiration

“ Italicus asked us to mix art with the Italian aperitif and so I was inspired by Pollock’s action painting for the presentation. In the glass, citrus and sweet hints emerge thanks to the balance between rosolio, white Cervaro della Sala di Antinori wine, bitter, a splash of bergamot essence and a final note of color ”, Lucas tells us of his Sketch. A way also to rethink the Italian aperitif : “ In Veneto where I live, the Spritz is a ritual but we Italians interpret the aperitif in many different and original ways and we are constantly looking for new proposals ” he tells us.

Who is Lucas Kelm

Born in Argentina and raised in Treviso, Italy, Lucas Kelm traveled the world mixing at high levels and returned 2 years ago to Veneto, after taking the opportunity to work with Alajmo. Objective: to give a strong personality to the AMO bar with drinks that matched the easy and international proposal of the venue. “ I felt like I was part of the family, I can express myself best here and this is how the desire to rewrite the cocktail menu of the place was born ”, he explains. But not only in Venice, because Lucas now supervises the bars of all the clubs signed by the group. Including the new Sesame, opening in Marrakech by the end of the year in the Royal Mansour hotel: the young Soufiane Haddat will be behind the counter. After the Moroccan city, the Alajmo are also planning another opening in Cape Town in 2020.

Thanks to Lucas, the personality of AMO’s bar also attracted many Venetians, intrigued by his style. The menu is well thought out and offers aperitifs, with Alajmo twists on the inevitable Spritz : classics and ten signatures , inspired by different ingredients and concepts that change with the seasons, 4 times a year: ” With my team, studio cocktail that they like and intrigue, that they have an interesting history and elements. One of the most requested is Punch Fiction, which recalls Tarantino’s film, also in the presentation, with splashes of beetroot juice that refer to the pulp tones of the film”He adds, also citing the important collaboration with the restaurant manager Michele Pozzani and the close relationship with the kitchen. Finally, on the menu there is Corner : once every 6 months the same cocktail is presented in 4 different interpretations, to play with taste. The next challenge is gin and tonic, which will be offered in different flavors and colors. A reference to the 4 elements: earth, air, fire and water.

How to prepare the winning cocktail

You will need 40 ml of Italicus, 40 ml of Art of Bitter, 50 ml of Cervaro Della Sala Antinori white wine, 1 spray of bergamot essence. Combine all the ingredients in the shaker, mix and strain twice. For the final touch, add the bergamot essence and a few splashes of food color.

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