The multifaceted Diego Ferrari, mixologist, author of the World Prized Book “Low Alcohol Cocktails-New Frontier in Mixology “ and creator of the famous community on Facebook ‘Cocktail Art’, shares the challenges across his career in the drinks industry. Teaching, learning, reinventing yourself are key to success in the industry.
How do you introduce yourself lately?
Unfortunately, I don’t work in the bar anymore. I changed my role to Ambassador for Matusalem Rum but in any case, my introduction is easy “I’m the Rum Barista for Matusalem Rum”.
What made you want to focus on the drinks industry?
I was 18 and it was fun and sexy to be a bartender. In the meantime, the idea to stay in contact with people like this, was amazing.
Who is the person that inspired you the most?
To mention just one would not be ok for the rest, I had many mentors, who I met in the course of my career…. if I have to mention a few, I can say Dario Comini, Matteo Lussana, Ezio Falconi.
You are the author of the amazing ‘Low alcohol cocktails’ book, one of the most renowned books in the bar scene. What has inspired you to write it and how was it to team-up with Libbey for this project?
The idea was inspired by my last work in Milano, in the Rotonda Bistro, where it was not possible to use spirits in the bar. We started this challenge in 2014 when the Low Abv world was not so popular. After four years of research and study, the editor of Bibliotheca Culinaria, asked me if I was interested to create a book with this topic. With the help of the photographer, the owner of Rotonda Bistro, and a friend of mine for 30 years, Pasquale Formisano, we decided to dive into this amazing experience! I decided to focus my book not only on the liquid ingredients, but to also feature one of the most important glass producers in the world, Libbey, showing how important the glass is in each and every creation behind the bar.
Talking about books, which book would you read over and over again?
Liquid Intelligence, by Dave Arnold
Which cocktail (you created) are you most proud of?
I created hundreds of cocktails during the course of my career and is not easy to say which one had the biggest success, but I’m probably the most proud of the Famedio, a twist of the classic Negroni with a touch of Hazelnuts liquor and Italian Amaro.
Which cocktail is the one you have made the most during the years?
Is impossible to remember….26 years behind the bar! LOL …In any case I suppose the top three would be: Spritz, Americano, Negroni.
What’s your favorite classic cocktail?
The most underestimated drink in the industry?
In this second golden age of cocktails a lot of mixology nerds started proposing that almost every cocktail was created in the last 150 years….from my side I think the cocktail Bronx is one of the less popular ones and maybe one of the most underestimated.
Which ingredient will be used far more in the future?
Not because I am working for Matusalem, but we have a lot of signals that Rum will be the next big spirit category!
If you could travel back in time, who would you like to meet and why?
If I get to travel back in time, I would love to meet some people that have made this world so incredible……Hemingway, Picasso, Martin Luther King, Einstein, etc…
If you could go back in time and change any existing/classic cocktail glass, which glass would you change and why?
In the past, there were only a few classic glass shapes and 99,9% of those glasses are still available and popular! I think we cannot change what is already perfect!
As Nolo, classic cocktails, simple serves were trending, what do you think will be the next trend?
In the years to come, the trend of Nolo will develop in different directions…. I suppose people will be more conscious about calories, vitamin intake and for sure the Covid19 will influence the culture of the drinks as well! How? Nobody knows at this moment….
Favorite glass shape to drink from? And Why?
Old Fashioned style! Nice quantity of liquid inside, you can play with different ice shapes, garnishes, etc…
Why is the glass that important for a drink?
Because of the first impression, visual effect…. a great glass can attract the attention of the people! A great glass prepares you for the importance of the cocktail inside.
What is your favorite Libbey glass?
The Hobstar – amazing glass, great quality, impact-resistant!
Glass: Durable or Fragile?
Durable for the Bar Owner point of view and Fragile for the glass producer…..the perfect match is somewhere in the middle!
We are leaving unprecedented days around the world, how are you dealing with this? Learning/ discovering/ reinventing?
Teaching, learning, reinventing! At Matusalem we started creating different approaches to be able to stay close to our colleagues…. live LIVE on IG, organizing Webinars, etc!
What did you miss the most during the lock-down?
Travel… if you think that in 2019 I did 75 trips and this last period I did maybe six, you can imagine!
What will be the one major change in the Hospitality in general, after the pandemic?
I think, now, we’ll go back to our roots…a lot of mixologists already understood that at this moment the most important thing is to innovate and that the customer comes first!
What can be an awesome invention that will emerge in the Hospitality from this crisis? (You can be silly here 😊, think science fiction)
Good question… If I think in an extreme way, I imagine that before the arrival of the vaccine, there could be an instant scanner that recognizes immediately if you are sick or not, without testing and doctors.
What tips will you give other bartenders and bar owners to prepare for the future?