Words by Mattia Pastori and Sammy Hemmings
"I've met exceptional people through bartending," says Mattia Pastori, the bartender behind Italy-based consultancy company Nonsolococktails.
Growing up in Pavia, a small town south of Milan, Mattia caught the bartending bug early. "I was attending the hospitality school and during the afternoon I was helping my parents in their bar, making coffee and serving my first Americano and Negroni Cocktail," he recalls. "But my first experience as a bartender was at Pozzo American Bar, a beautiful old cocktail bar in the city centre of Pavia."
Mattia's career includes stints at hotel groups Armani and Mandarin Oriental, before he founded Nonsolococktails in 2016. He then collaborated with Alessandro Melis and Diego Travaglio to open The Nonsolococktail School, an educational space for bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts to study and network.
When he's not bartending or teaching others, Mattia focuses on his health by running and cycling. "I run more than I cycle. I'm a beginner cyclist, sport is very important specially if you work in our industry," he says. "Long days at work, work during the night or when you work in 5-star hotels, it is not easy to manage. Sport can help you to face up to the routine of work, let the mind free, help in creativity and continue to be motivated to reach the goal."
A tour de force
Martini Racing Ciclismo is a cycling programme run by Martini, motivating bartenders around the world to participate in group rides and cycling workouts to support their health and well-being.
For Mattia, the programme promised more than just a way to keep healthy. "I chose to join the Martini Racing Ciclismo to test my body and my mind to reach a goal that I have never done before," he explains. "Also to build relationships with bartenders that come from all over the world."
Martini Racing Ciclismo host an annual event, La Classica, which brings together 50 bartenders from around the world to take part in a three-day ride from Florence to Rome. Mattia trained in preparation of the ride. "I cycled throughout August," he says. "But I really never completed more than 80km and I never did any training on climbs."
From the very first moments, La Classica was a gruelling challenge. "The first day of cycling, we arrived on a white street and it was raining," Mattia recalls. "It was not easy to continue to stay on the bike and push to get up those hills."
Mattia's La Classica cocktail pays homage to significant locations during their ride. "A Classic Martini Cocktail, with the truffle fragrance," he explains. "We cycled by the hill of Arezzo where one of the most important ingredients for vermouth grows, Oris roots. Then the second and the third day, we were in Umbria and it's the region of the truffle. I wanted to put in my drink all the intrinsic ingredients that represent our journey around Italy."
While La Classica was no easy feat, having cycled 300km in just three days, Mattia considers it an incredible opportunity. "I really hope one day to repeat this amazing experience, meet new friends, share time together and build relationships outside of a shaker," he says.
To those looking to sign up for La Classica next year, Mattia shares words of wisdom. "Train before you enjoy La Classica," he states. "Keep your concentration on what you do when you ride, especially if you are going downhill or in a city centre."
And for Mattia, La Classica is an opportunity to connect with the wider bartending community. "Build new relationships with the people that ride in your group and all the rest of the team," he says. "Enjoy the dinner, the breakfast and every single moment with all the team. Respect the leader of the group, don't create dangerous situations, enjoy three fantastic days immersed in nature."