2023 Winners

Italicus Art of Aperitivo Challenge 2023

The Art of Italicus Aperitivo Challenge returned for 2023 with its fifth edition as part of Italicus' continuing quest to find the best art-inspired aperitivo cocktail. Eleven national finalists and one wild card finalist competed in Rome on 28th May with Italy's Fabrizio Candino emerging as the "Italicus Bar Artist of the Year 2023".

His winning cocktail, the 'In-Vite' paid homage to Mediterranean vines and incorporates the concept of invitation and conviviality. In-Vite impressed the judges with its imaginative and harmonious combination of Italicus, toasted stale bread infusion, aperitivo wine, and cedro juice.

In second place was Johannes Sæterbø, from Svanen, Oslo and third place, Valeria Coletti, from Baccarat, UK.

The Art of Italicus Aperitivo Challenge builds on the artistic side of bartending and the program is designed to incentivise bartenders to be as creative as possible by bringing the industry together to create art-inspired cocktails that best represent an elevated aperitivo experience, whilst showcasing Italicus through creative liquid expressions. Applicants were also encouraged to incorporate heightened sustainability into their creations.

1st place - Fabrizio Candino

ency 60 imageFrom: Sartoria, Italy
Cocktail: In-Vite
40ml Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
50ml Breaking Bread Cordial*
15ml Cedro Citron juice
30 gram Crushed ice

Artistic flair: The name of Fabrizio's cocktail, In-Vite, translates as an invitation, and he explained that his cocktail is "A tribute to the Italian art of hospitality which today translates into a simple gesture: a greeting, a toast. Salute!" And on cue, a shot of his cocktail was passed to all in the audience to participate in the toast.
*Breaking Bread Cordial: Toast 150 grams of stale bread in a pan with oil, thyme, basil stems, salt and pepper. Leave to cool and transfer to a vacuum bag, add 500 grams of vodka, seal and leave to rest at room temperature for at least 24 hours. Filter with a strainer and then with a coffee filter. Add 30ml of rich syrup and dilute with water to reach 20% ABV. Store in fridge up to 30 days.

2nd place - Johannes Sæterbø

ency 96 imageFrom: Svanen Cocktail Bar in Oslo, Norway
Cocktail: Apples & Bergamot
45ml Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
80ml Homemade apple soda
Artistic flair: Johannes invited local artists to collaborate in the presentation of his cocktail to produce scented candles, the label for his homemade apple soda and even the coasters on which he presented his cocktail.

3rd place - Valeria Coletti

ency 70 imageFrom: Baccarrat Bar in Harrods, London, UK
Cocktail: Bee The Action
40ml Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
20ml Black pepper infused Antica Formula vermouth
2 drops Saline solution
75ml Strawberry, fermented honey and orange peel soda
Garnish: Salt and pepper crisp
Artistic flair: Valeria recounted how she and her sister recycled and upcycled items when they were young and how this passion has stayed with her today.

Louis Segonnes

ency 11 imageFrom: L*Agence Speakeasy, Toulouse, France
Cocktail: Agora
45ml Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
45ml Dry vermouth infused with kaffir lime zest
90ml Kaffir lime leaf infused soda water
2 barspoons combawa juice mixed with olive brine
Garnish: Three Kalamata black olives and a fresh kaffir lime leaf
Artistic flair: The name of Louis' cocktail, Agora, means a meeting or gathering place and is a way in which people can meet and build connections with old and new friends.

Micro Giumelli

ency 21 imageFrom: No.5 The Bar, St. Moritz, Switzerland
Cocktail: Olivotto
40ml Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
30ml Olive infused Lillet Blanc
20ml Olive leaf drops bergamot bitter
Garnish: Olives from south of Italy.
Artistic flair: Inspired by Vincent van Gogh's Olive Trees with yellow sky and sun.

August Ackerot Helander

ency 54 imageFrom: Botanico, Göteborg, Sweden
Cocktail: Bonzo
60ml Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
140ml Grape soda
Garnish: Three skewered grapes.
Artistic flair: Inspired by John Henry Bonham, AKA "Bonzo The Beast", the drummer of the rock band Led Zeppelin and in particular a grape-like image on the drum kit August grew up playing.

Giuseppe Valente

ency 62 imageFrom: Spain
Cocktail: Renato
60ml Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
15ml Palo Cortado
100ml Cedrata
Garnish: Float olive foam.
Artistic flair: Inspired by the concept of monochromatic art, where in the case of his cocktail he chose to use one ingredient, olives, in different forms.

Máté Csizmadia

ency 94 imageFrom: Pink Pony Club, Budapest, Hungary
Cocktail: Concerto
40ml Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
30ml Dry vermouth
Top with Raspberry soda
Garnish: Pistachio cracker and raspberry foam
Artistic flair: Vivaldi's Four Seasons violin concertos were both the soundtrack and formed the story behind each ingredient in Mate's presentation, with an ingredient representing each of the seasons.

Vasileios Mylonas

ency 53 imageFrom: Bord de Leau Drinkroom, Thessaloniki, Greece
Cocktail: Sfumatura
45ml Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
100ml Tomato soda water with thyme, kumquat and green olives
Garnish: Green olive; glass dusted with dehydrated black olive dust. Served with kumquat marmalade and homemade breadstick.
Artistic flair: Leonardo da Vinci

Filip Sarilar

ency 38 imageFrom: Fiume, Croatia
Cocktail: Berg'olio
60ml Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
10ml Salvatore syrup (honey and olive brine)
5ml Fresh lemon juice
Top up with Lemon tonic
Artistic flair: Filip referenced Salvador Dalí and then showed he is something of a digital artist himself incorporating the famous artist's distinctive moustache in his own piece of art illustrating the competition and his Berg'olio cocktail. He also presented this in the form of a personalised postcard for each judge.

Giacomo Gaggero (Wild Card Finalist)

ency 14 imageFrom: Italy but presently at Truffle Pig in Berlin, Germany
Cocktail: Mare
40ml Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
20ml Oyster leaf infused fino sherry
40ml Salty "Blue Mare cordial"
60ml Soda
Garnish: Caperberry
Artistic flair: Inspired by the sea, Giacomo used Linablue, a blue colourant extracted from spirulina (a type of algae) to turn his cocktail into an artform itself with its colour resembling Italicus' bottle.

Loiver Hernandez

ency 35 imageFrom: Café La Trova in Miami, United States
Cocktail: Eucharist
45ml (1½oz) Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
22.5ml (¾oz) Manzanilla infused with grapefruit peel and cardamom*
22.5ml (¾oz) Luxardo Bitter Bianco aromatised with grapefruit peel
Garnish: Lemon zest twist. Pair with ciabatta with queen olive tapenade.
Artistic flair: Loiver's cocktail is named Eucharist [yoo-kah-rist], the Christian service, ceremony, or sacrament commencing the Last Supper, in which bread and wine are consecrated and consumed. Loiver referenced the Last Supper but his cocktail and presentation came alive with the sound of Chan Chan by the Buena Vista Social Club accompanied by him playing the claves while the judges shook the maracas he handed them.
*Manzanilla infusion: Sous vide 75cl manzanilla sherry with 75 grams cardamom and 75 grams grapefruit peel at 61°C (142°F) for 4 hours.

The prize

Fabrizio Candino is now 'the Italicus bar artist of the year' and will benefit from a mentorship program with the world's No.1 bar, Paradiso Barcelona and Giacomo Giannotti. During the experience, he will be accompanied by Shoshin Art Club, the international bartender's educational platform created by Valentino Longo, to document the full experience in a video episode which will be featured among the courses available on the website.

ency 25 image

The Judges

Giacomo Giannotti - founder and partner of Paradiso, The World's 50 Best Bar 2022
Giuseppe Gallo - founder and CEO of Italicus
Paloma Alos - Managing Director of Difford's Guide

Open to bartenders around the world

The competition was open to bartenders in 11 countries: Italy, Spain, USA, UK, Croatia and Slovenia region, France, Greece, Hungary, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. Bartenders not resident in these countries were able to apply through a Wild Card entry, having the opportunity to win a spot in the global final.

Italicus Art of Aperitivo Challenge 2023 image 1
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