The Vero Bartender

Words by Sammy Hemmings

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The Vero Bartender – The Global Talent came to an exciting conclusion, bringing together 12 finalists from around the world to Milan on 19 November 2019.

Following national finals, the winners were hosted in Italy and took part in the Residency Program presented by Amaro Montenegro. The agenda included educational 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.

The Residency Program culminated at the grand finale in Milan, Italy, where the 12 global finalists gathered to present their sharing cocktail to the esteemed judging panel which comprised Monica Berg and Erik Lorincz, leading bar owners and bartenders, Matteo Bonoli, Master Herbalist at Amaro Montenegro, and Yolanda Evans, spirits writer.

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The judging panel

In the footsteps of Stanislao Cobianchi, the founder of Amaro Montenegro who once searched for 'true flavours', competitors were challenged to experiment with different flavours while the drink had to be inventive in its serve. Bartenders also took inspiration from the brands core values of friendship, conviviality and the human spirit to create their recipes.

Each competitor and their cocktail were judged on taste and balance, inspiration and creativity, presentation and performance, technique, while points were also awarded to recipes which enhanced the flavour profile of Amaro Montenegro. Overtime penalties were considered for those who ran over time.

Congratulations to Marcus Fredriksson, from Sweden, the champion of The Vero Bartender – The Global Talent 2019! His winning cocktail Around the Corner was inspired by local flavours and ingredients sourced in Sweden.

Besides participation in the one-week Residency Program in the lead up to the grand finale, Marcus receives a trip to New York for the Bar Convent Brooklyn 2020.

See all the finalists and their drinks below in no particular order.

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Marcus Fredriksson - global winner

Care/of, Malmö, Sweden

Around the Corner

Glass: Flower pots
Garnish: Dried apple crisps
Method: Stir.

50ml Amaro Montenegro
30ml Lactic acid fermented apple juice
15ml Walnut honey
20ml Seaweed infused vermouth
3 drops Saline solution

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Rodrigo Alvarez

Chapeau 1987, Palma de Mallorca, Spain


Glass: Wine glass
Garnish: Dehydrated oloroso Sherry flavoured apple "cru" with Amaro Montenegro honey, mint leaves, grated orange and lime zest and powdered sugar.
Method: Throw all ingredients expect Amaro Montenegro and soda water.

35ml Frozen Amaro Montenegro
10ml Yellow Chartreuse
35ml Sous-vide oloroso sherry with apples
20ml Orange blossom honey and mint cordial
30ml Top with soda water

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Simone de Milito

Bar DaCaio at The George Hotel, Hamburg, Germany


Glass: Vintage glass
Garnish: Dried orange slice, Amedei Toscano Black 70% Chocolate, 24 karat gold flakes.
Method: Stir.

30ml Amaro Montenegro
20ml Crème de cacao white
30ml Rooibos vanilla infused gin
20ml Homemade orange coulis

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Roger Grüter

Angel's Share, Basel, Switzerland

Black Magic

Glass: Double rocks
Garnish: Orange peel sprayed on the drink and discarded dried orange slice. The serve in the Absinth fountain with dry ice is a garnish too. It is an eye-catcher and the great aromas of the drink (mostly Amaro Montenegro) slowly spread into the whole bar. A breathable garnish!
Method: Stir

60ml Amaro Montenegro
30ml Laphroaig 10 year old Islay single malt scotch whisky
8ml Crème de banane
Saturated salt solution

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Kevin Imami

Abas, Tirana, Albania


Glass: Bronze coupe glass
Garnish: Little taco with dry apricots and an homemade mix (almond syrup and apricot jam).
Method: Shake & strain.

30ml Amaro Montenegro
30ml Boodles Gin
25ml Lemon juice
10ml Almond homemade syrup
10ml Apricot homemade jam

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Janneke Koorn

Netherlands, Dr. Rotterdam

Ceci N'est Pas Une Pipe

Glass: 1 bowl
Garnish: Before the drink is served, the bowl is smoked with a smoking gun and woodchips for a smokey aroma with a bowl of popcorn to share on top of the hookah.
Method: Build

40ml Amaro Montenegro
20ml Mezcal
120ml Pineapple beer
10ml Lemon juice
3 dash Aromatic bitters

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Adam Lau

Grain Bar at Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney, Australia

Te Nero

Glass: Wine glass
Garnish: Candied lemon zest, powdered orange (to rim the glass)
Method: Build

45ml Amaro Montenegro
15ml Select Aperitivo
15ml Orange juice
15ml Lemon juice
15ml Earl grey tea syrup

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Johanna Luger

Darwin's, Salzburg, Austria


Glass: Tea cups
Garnish: Homemade chip of parmesan cheese and chili flakes
Method: Shake & strain

50ml Amaro Montenegro
30ml Chilli strawberry juice
30ml Lemon juice
10ml Sugar syrup

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Marco Masiero

Sottovoce Speakeasy, Bergamo, Italy

Ribelli Virtudi

Glass: Recycled glass ampoule
Garnish: Lemon and fig crunchy caramel
Method: Throw

50ml Amaro Montenegro infused with fig leaves
20ml Tequila 1800 silver
17.5ml Timut pepper and lemon sherbet
2 dash Angostura bitters
Top with champagne

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Cristiana Pirinu

The Donovan Bar, London, UK

The Seven Notes

Glass: Mini Martini glass
Garnish: Homemade ratafia cherry jam on oily and salty fried Sardinian flatbread.
Method: Stir

30ml Amaro Montenegro
10ml Homemade cherry ratafia
20ml Manzanilla sherry
30ml Black currant and hibiscus tea
Essential oil of lemon zest

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Zachary Sapato

P.S. Steak, Minneapolis, USA

Bella Figura

Glass: Figure sculpture coupe
Garnish: Homemade pomegranate, fig fruit leather "brushstroke" in an S pattern around skewered halves of dried mission figs.
Method: Stir & carbonate

45ml Amaro Montenegro
15ml Vecchia Romagna etichetta near
15ml Acidified pomegranate grenadine
2 dash Mission fig bitters
60ml Carbonated lavender tea

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Jules Verlinden

De Nieuwe Haan, Diest, Belgium


Glass: Pre-chilled coupette
Garnish: Pineapple leftovers from the pineapple we use for the infusion.
Method: Shake & strain

30ml Amaro Montenegro
60ml Lime cordial
15ml Gonzales byas leonor 12 year old
30ml Pineapple infused sapucaya Florida cachaca
5ml Sirop Marie Brizard canelle

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