Cocktails new trends from States
Milla cocktails – Today we have the pleasure to interview Amie Ward, the Beverage Director of R. Bar in Baltimore (Maryland) and the Best Baltimore Bartender in 2016, who will present our “Milla” in New Orleans at the “Tales of Cocktail” on July 20th-21st.
Amie, with the explosion of cocktail culture we have also seen the evolution of your profession… In your opinion what are the most important skills of a bartender?
The skillset of the contemporary bartender is expansive, but I consider the ability to be a great host and listener the most critical. We are welcoming guests into our “home” each day, and our first priority should be giving them a warm and welcoming environment before we try to place any drink in front of them. After that, understanding how to make a balanced cocktail is the next vital skill, followed by a willingness to step out of your comfort zone and be creative.
How did your passion for italian spirits, especially grappa and amaro start? And how did you decide to start collaborating with Marolo’s distillery?
I got into Italian spirits 6 years ago when the bar I worked at put Fernet on tap and brought in an extensive selection of grappa. I fell madly in love with the robust yet exquisite flavors, so I began educating myself on the history behind the spirits. They are now my go to choice for base spirits in cocktails. I began collaborating with Marolo after meeting Mr. Paolo Boselli last summer. He took me through the entire line of Marolo products, and the elegance of the spirits astounded me. Paolo asked me to make some cocktails with the grappa line, I gladly obliged, and the rest is history.
What do you like about Milla Marolo? How do you combine chamomile grappa in your cocktails? Which flavors and sensations Milla adds to them?
I really enjoy working with the Milla grappa because it has the capacity to satisfy multiple elements of a cocktail. Savory, floral, and full-bodied, it adds a lively layer of complexity to your concoction, whether as a base spirit, or as an additive. I personally enjoy using the Milla as my base spirit, but I have seen many cocktails using it in sparse amounts that truly make for a dynamic drink.
What cocktails will you prepare for next events in New Orleans? Could you share some recipes with us?
I will be making my favorite Milla cocktail called Hearts + Daggers, the Marolo Julep, and a Chinato Soda. The Hearts + Daggers is made with Milla, the Marolo Barolo Chinato, strawberry balsamic syrup, and lemon. It is bright, savory, and opulent. The Marolo Julep is made with Marolo Barolo 12yr and mint simple syrup. Reminiscent of a hearty American bourbon, the Barolo 12yr makes for a great spin on the Kentucky Derby classic. The Marolo Barolo Chinato and soda is simply refreshing and will be a great relief from the New Orleans heat and humidity!
In the end, please tell us more about new cocktail trends in the USA. What’s the new taste? Is it true that grappa and bitters are the new “must have” ingredients for drinks?
In terms of cocktail trends, I am seeing a lot of movement towards more sustainable practices–essentially making as little waste as possible when creating drinks–which completely aligns with the ethos of grappa and amaro production. These spirits have gained significant popularity as more people recognize the importance of digestifs in the meal experience, and it’s been fun to watch as these transition from strictly neat pours to base spirits in cocktails. We will see a greater surge in grappa usage in cocktails as bartenders come to understand the versatility of the spirit, which will be accomplished as brands like Marolo continue to spread knowledge about their product.