Words by: Fabio Bacchi
Maurizio Stocchetto believes that tradition is experience that becomes art – part of a story that remains fresh no matter how many times it’s told.
As a typical artists' son, Maurizio Stocchetto has big shoes to fill, a legacy that deserves to be respected and preserved. He sees bartending as an art form practised in the bar: that microcosm of new and age-old stories. His father, Mirco, invented one of the most iconic Italian-style drinks in the world, the Negroni Sbagliato [Bungled Negroni]. Perhaps the most fortuitous accident in bartending history, it put the bartending dynasty's Bar Basso in Milan, and its Negroni Sbagliato, on the map. It's not hard to recognise Stocchetto, the current face of Bar Basso in Milan. His disarming smile greets you as you walk into his bar: a smile named Maurizio.
Bar Basso's atmosphere is sufficiently retro to transport you back in time. The large, traditional glasses that Bar Basso uses to serve its Negronis are a source of admiration and obvious wonder to those used to seeing the drink in a classic tumbler. Memorabilia of bygone times, including bottles and keepsakes from a long history of bartending, are on display. Maurizio remembers his father as a protagonist of the Italian bartending tradition that was part of the renowned international "Dolce Vita" era. And Bar Basso has a proud place in the history books, thanks to the creation of the Negroni.
It's my home, it always has been and it always will be. We take you back in time - Maurizio explains- to a time that my father successfully transported from Cortina d' Ampezzo to Milan when he took over this bar, turning it into a home for himself and the people of Milan. It was the Dolce Vita era, populated by a jet-set crowd that made its mark. We keep a very close eye on the trends that come and go over time, we respect them, and we adopt any elements that suit our style, but deep down we don’t change. Our customers have made their choices, and we're part of that, and very proud to be so. The history of the Negroni and it's "alternative" cousin, invented by my father, is part of the history of Italy that appears in the books featuring this cocktail, in the interviews we give to magazines from all over the world. And so when we create a new cocktail, we take inspiration from historical events and their impact on society. The ingredients are part of the country's history. Milan is a city known for the aperitivo, for fashion, for the Italian-style cocktail culture. The Negroni Sbagliato epitomises this, and has become popular across the world. The Negroni Sbagliato was born when my father accidentally used a bottle of Prosecco instead of Gin. There has never been a more perfect accident, and this is part of my history.
I remember the early days of my career at my father's bar very clearly, the bottles of Cherry Heering elegantly arranged on the shelves. But I'd already come across Cherry Heering as a child. I collected small bottles given to me by my father, and the first of these were Heering bottles. I still have them. I like to take inspiration from historical events when creating my drinks. In 1866, Jean Baptiste Clément – a French composer, poet and musician – wrote a song called "The time of cherries". Clément was also a member of the Paris Commune. The piece became a very famous French classic, and was covered by other artists including Yves Montand and Edith Piaf. The cherries in that song remind me of Heering's cherries, the freshness of the composer's ideas makes me think of the freshness of Heering. I dedicated this drink to the poet, and called it The Communard.
Glass: Cocktail glass
Garnish: A piece of orange peel in the shape of a moustache (a tribute to Jean Baptiste Clément's moustache) and a cherry.
Method: Stir ingredients and pour into a glass.
1/10 Dry Vermouth
2/10 Cherry Herring