Thursday, 23, October 2014
Cocktails with Alessandro Pizzoli, Award Winning Mixologist
Alessandro has been working in the field for many years, starting in his hometown of Bologna and building credentials at some of the world’s finest five star hotels, including The Palace Hotel and The Ritz. His work has won him many an award, as well as exclusive gigs such as the wedding of Luciano Pavarotti. We talked to him about his inspirations, recipes and what you can expect from a cocktail at The Kensington Hotel.
What gives you the inspiration for a new cocktail?
Inspiration can depend on many things, ranging from the time of year, ingredients available, the type of glass I will be using, new spirits or liqueurs that I would like to try and special events such as Christmas, Mother’s Day and anniversaries for example.
Do you serve classic combinations, put a twist on the old or make new concoctions?
Classic combinations are always popular amongst our guests, but I like to have a balance between the classics and new cocktails, appealing to different tastes and continuing my discovery of new and unusual combinations.
What’s your favourite cocktail to make?
My favorite cocktail is an Aperol Sour, because it is suitable to many different tastes and can be served in different ways. With the right garnish and glass it is an amazingly elegant drink.
Do you have a signature cocktail?
My signature cocktail is The Kensington Lavender. The recipe contains vodka, Cointreau, lemon juice, dry lavender, sugar syrup, ginger beer & lavender bitter.
What is your most popular cocktail?
The classic Martini, which can served with either gin or vodka.
What is your personal favourite?
The Americano which is the combination of Campari, sweet vermouth and soda water garnished with a slice of orange and a twist of lemon, and served in an old fashioned glass on the rocks.
What tips can you give someone making a cocktail at home? Are there any unique garnishes or preparation tips that help to create a great drink?
Try to use the freshest of ingredients, keep tasting as you make the cocktail and use lots of ice. Don’t think less ice will make your drink less watery! More ice will help chill the drink for longer while keeping it fresh. Remember, there are no boundaries: the only limit is your imagination.
How has the cocktail world changed over the last five years?
I believe that these days a bartender must have a much better understanding of food, in order to better understand what pairings work best together and how to complement a customer’s food (if eating) or preferences. Another example would be to see which aromas and tastes combine to make something special, because years ago we didn’t put food like bacon into drinks, unlike today.
What was the best cocktail you’ve ever drunk, and where did you have it?
One of the best cocktails I ever had was on a trip to Paris. I discovered a beautiful local bar (the name of which I cannot remember). The cocktail list was very interesting, with some original names and ingredients. I can’t remember the cocktail I tasted but remember the different flavours, which were liquorice, ginger beer, coffee and cognac. It was one of the best drinks I have tried because it was an unusual combination with an interesting taste and aroma.