The Vero Bartender

Words by Sammy Hemmings

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The Vero Bartender 2019 challenged bartenders to create an inventive recipe designed for sharing to be crowned the next 'true' bartender.

Following in the footsteps of Stanislao Cobianchi, the founder of Amaro Montenegro who once searched for 'true flavours', bartenders were challenged to experiment with different flavours to create a unique cocktail. While the drink had to be inventive, competitors also took inspiration from the brand's core values of friendship, conviviality and the human spirit to create their recipe.

The UK final

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After southern and northern heats in the UK, eight finalists came together in London in September 2019 for the national final.

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The judging panel included Greg Almeida from Tay─ôr + Elementary and Paloma Alos from Difford's Guide and Francesco Braun, bartender and bar consultant. The judges scored drinks against individuality, shareability and human spirit.

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Following presentations, it was Cristiana Pirinu from The Donovan Bar in London who emerged the deserving winner. Take a look at her winning inventive recipe below.

Cristiana's fellow contenders were Matteo Pigozzi (Tigerlily, Edinburgh), Bettina Kovacs (The Lanter room, Edinburgh), Micheal Dylan Edwards (Aether bar UK, Liverpool), Thomas Gilbert (Inver Restaurant, Strachur), Eleonora Biason (Scarfes bar, London), Alessandro Vella (45 Park Lane, London) and Denise Elisei (The Bar at the Dorchester hotel, London).

Cristiana Pirinu's winning cocktail

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3 cl Amaro Montenegro
1 cl Homemade cherry ratafia
2 cl Manzanilla Sherry
3 cl Blackcurrant and Hibiscus tea
Essential Oil of Lemon

The global final

Six finalists from the UK heats will be invited to the global final in Italy where they will take part in the Amaro Montenegro Residency Programme. The programme involves seminars with some of the world's best bartenders, a tour of top cocktail bars across three Italian cities and the sampling of cocktails and food during the week-long programme. The trip concludes at the global final on 19th November 2019 in Milan where the finalists will compete for first place.

Besides the grand trip for 12 finalists to Italy and participation in the residency programme, the global winner will also receive an exclusive trip to Bar Convent Brooklyn in New York in 2020. Best of luck to all competitors!