New trends: bitter at the beginning of the meal, interview with Daniele Gentili

New trends: bitter at the beginning of the meal, interview with Daniele Gentili

Amaro, for years the undisputed king of the end of the meal, is now served as an aperitif: we talked about this trend with the Roman bar manager Daniele Gentili.

Aromatic, spicy, a true concentrate of flavors. L ‘ bitter in the Italian tradition of the best interpretation of the territories from which it comes. This is why today that local drinking is so fashionable, it makes its way into the drink lists of the most fashionable bars from New York to London and Italy,amaro makes its way into the trendiest drink lists in the worldglobally recognized homeland of great vermouths and bitters. In Rome , to interpret this trend is the Marco Martini Restaurant Cocktail Bar , which not only uses them in mixing but also combines them with the dishes of the starred chef Marco Martini. A continuous dialogue, that between cocktails and cuisine that in the restaurant in a flowery Art Nouveau villa on Viale Aventino, reaches high levels of contamination. To better explore the concept, we asked the bar manager Daniele Gentili for more than 20 years in bartending.


Daniele, how do you create the cocktails to link them to the menu?
We work together with the chef when we have to think about a new menu: the restaurant menu changes completely twice a year between winter and summer and so do we. First Marco creates the dishes, then we play with some of the ingredients and create combinations that enhance the flavors in the right way.

What is the secret to a perfect match?
The key is the assonance of flavors. Compared to wine, the variables in mixing are many more, so you need to know the products and ingredients you use well. We make a careful selection and many components are homemade. Sometimes it’s like having one more ingredient than the dish you put in the drink, the two components talk to each other. Can the drink cover the plate? Yes, you take a considered risk and invite the customer to take this risk with you, you hope he will follow you on this journey.


The amaro has therefore become the current frontier of experimentation in the glass …
The amaro are still somehow artisanal, versatile and very local, this is very much liked by the bartenders. They express a lot in their uniqueness, half a spoon more is enough and your drink is already overturned, thanks to certain bitter and pungent notes. If we then look at the cost, the advantage for a bar is twofold: with 25 euros per bottle you have an excellent product to use at the counter.

How do you choose the ideal amaro?
However, not all bitters are suitable. You have to choose the right one for you and for what you want to express, not all are equally. The low alcohol content is another important factor, now that the market demands more drinkable drink. The Marco Martini Cocktail Bar menu includes 17 original proposals, a dozen new with the summer season. We are the only ones in Italy where the bar and kitchen are so closely integrated all year round, to the point that my team and that of the chef really work together when changing the paper. My dream would be to get the restaurant to the second star through the work of the bar.


We have seen some drawings of your creations.
I design the cocktails to realize the presentation, the aesthetics and not just the taste. From the glass to the garnish , I carefully choose each component even outside the glass. The local menu with my sketches is accompanied by notes and taste suggestions.


Tell us about your project with Amaro Montenegro.
The work I have been doing for some time on amari has now found an important realization in the collaboration we have started with the Montenegro brand: from 8 May with a first dinner-event, the tour of The Vero Bartender starts from our restaurantwith training and training appointments throughout Italy for other bartenders to teach them how to use them in drinks. For now, 5 stages have been confirmed between May and September but others will be added. The evening also represented the launch of the Amaro Montenegro Gourmet Cocktail project, the highest expression of the contamination between food and mixology, and the evolution of the path taken by the company in recent years on the use of the product as a versatile ingredient for innovative cocktails or for great classics. The first proposals are the ones that I and the starred chef Marco Martini presented, creating an ad hoc menu of 4 courses and 4 cocktails. I thought of an overturning for the aperitif, with the use of amaro instead of at the end of the meal, at the beginning.


You’re referring to the Fake Coffee, right?
Yes: it is served in a cup and based on Amaro Montenegro, sour apple and a hint of coffee. Usually the meal ends with coffee and a coffee-killer: here we have overturned certainties and we combine Marco’s amuse-bouche with a completely original aperitif drink. To best develop the path dedicated to this amaro, of the 40 herbs that make up the botany of Montenegro, 10 were chosen from the menu or enhanced in drinks. These are nutmeg, bitter and sweet orange, cinnamon, mugwort, bitter orange, cloves, coriander seeds, oregano and marjoram. A true immersion in the world of spices.

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