There is still time to enter the Mount Gay Rum “A Taste of Home” cocktail competition. Inspired by Mount Gay’s centuries-long relationship with Barbados, the competition asks bartenders to craft a cocktail that represents what home means to them using sustainable, local ingredients. Six finalists will earn the incredible opportunity to visit Barbados and compete for the National Title. Head to vinepair.com/mount-gay-taste-of-home for all of the rules and guidelines, and be sure to submit your recipe before submissions close at midnight on Wednesday, March 29.
On this episode of the “Cocktail College” podcast, host Tim McKirdy is joined by Luca Missaglia, co-founder of bartender training platform The Art of Shaking, to discuss the Garibaldi. A delicious and simple two-ingredient highball that represents the unity of Italy as one nation. Tune in for more.
Luca Missaglia’s ‘Three Citrus’ Garibaldi Recipe
- 2 ½ ounces fresh pink grapefruit juice
- 2 ounces fresh blood orange juice
- 1 ½ ounces Campari (or an alternative, such as Amaro Santoni)
- Garnish: fresh bergamot twist
- Add fresh juices to a chilled highball glass.
- Add Campari and top with ice.
- Garnish with citrus twist and a stirrer.
Check Out the Conversation Here
Tim McKirdy: It’s a beautiful day here in the “Cocktail College” studio, and we are thrilled to be joined by a visitor to the city, Luca Missaglia. Luca, ciao.
Luca Missaglia: Ciao. How are you?
T: I’m doing amazing, thank you, my friend. How are you doing today and where are you joining us from?
L: Really good. I’m really well, and I just flew in from London and I’m extremely pleased to spend some time with you. We’re going to share something.
T: Yes, definitely share many things, I think. Just as we were doing before we started recording, though, listeners to this show will be aware that my background is working as a chef and coming up in London and the number of people that we’ve both worked with together. It just shows how small the world is, especially when you get into an industry like this.
L: Yes. We realize it’s a real family, in a way. Small world, but it’s a real family, our industry. Hospitality.
T: Hospitality, yes. Even we got those hundreds of miles, maybe even more of the Atlantic Ocean between us. I feel like, too, the bartending communities of London and New York, there’s a real strong connection there, right?
L: I totally agree with you. I think there is an exchange which is not just about the knowledge, but it’s about as well the feeling that they’re bringing along together. I wouldn’t say it’s a competitive feeling. I would say that it’s more like this attachment between the two communities is really strong.
T: It’s more collaboration than competition, right?
L: Yes. The right words, collaboration. Yes, indeed.
T: People sharing ideas and to that point, that’s why you’re in town right now, right? You’re doing a pop-up. You want to tell us about that? What’s going on there?
L: Yes. In regards of that, we had the great opportunity to take Riccardo Rossi, which is one of the top bartender from Italy, over to Dante. They are superb when it comes to those pop-up. Take him over from Freni e Frizioni, which is a five-star dive bar. That’s how I would describe it.
L: Over to Dante to discover a little bit the Italian roots throughout drinks, iconic drinks that we now call aperitivo. I think it’s incredible. His personality — it will make a big difference this week.
T: That’s perfect for today’s episode as well, because not only is, Dante’s become that beacon here in New York for spreading Italian aperitivo culture, but also the drink that we’re going to talk about today. I’m really keen to hear your take on it and your tips, but for those who are based in New York and maybe don’t get the chance to go over to London or Italy, they have a cracking Garibaldi down there. That’s the drink we’re going to talk about today. I’m going to ask you off the bat here. For those that aren’t familiar with it, what’s in a Garibaldi?
The History of the Garibaldi
L: A Garibaldi, it’s an aperitivo, low in ABV, that is simply made by two ingredients. The history behind the drink — it comes from Giuseppe Garibaldi, who was one of the generals of Italy that really helped to unify Italy from the north to the south of Italy, and the two signature elements that represent one the north and one in the south. I guess that at that time for him, it was the bitter from Milan, in that case it was Campari. Then the beautiful oranges coming from Sicily from the south of Italy. That is the combination of the two. Garibaldi is a two-ingredient cocktail replicable all over the world. Obviously, when we talk about cocktail bars, we really like to get ourselves down to techniques and we see bars from around the world that they are playing with it. There are many ways how to extract, for example, the actual juice of the orange, right? You can squeeze it, you can juice it, you can centrifuge if you want. This centrifuge way, I guess, is really giving that fruffy sensation, silky mouthfeel. It’s one of the iconic cocktails as well that we realize in New York you really take on the community from Dante’s bar.
T: Iconic drink, yes.
L: If you ask me, what is a Garibaldi? It’s a great aperitivo cocktail. That’s what it is.
T: For yourself, so you spoke about there being just two very simple components there. Obviously, the whole purpose of this show is looking at things that maybe seem simple, but pulling them apart even more and taking the drink hopefully to the next level. When it comes to yourself, just as a bartender and creating drinks, do you tend more towards that, where it’s like creating things that are simple, but really technique-forward, so not too many ingredients, or have you maybe yourself just gone more in a direction of creating proprietary ingredients and maybe multiple components that maybe drinkers can’t recreate at home, so you’re giving this experience of like, this is worth going out to a bar for. Where do you stand from a philosophical point of view there with drinks?
L: When it comes to that point, I think the essential part for me is the valuation of the ingredients. When you have an opportunity to have different type of ingredient — I’ve been growing up in Italy, and for us, oranges, you go to the supermarket, you have six, seven different types of oranges. Next to it, you have yellow grapefruit, pink grapefruit, you have mandarins, then you have bergamots, and then you have citron. You have a fantastic word of element, right? For me, it’s much how the initial product is, and then see from there, how can I touch it as less as possible in order to maintain its own characteristic. When it comes to citrus, what you need to keep in mind is that yes, you have the juice, which is the important part to give texture, but let’s not forget the essential oil which are in the skin. Those, they makes a huge difference in everything you do. If you think about it, you can start to play really simple. When you squeeze the peel of a bergamot, you will see the oil coming out, and that is just literally wow.
T: So fragrant.
L: It’s something that, it takes you from your nose perspective, you’re like, “Okay, I’m engaged with this drink that I’m about to have, and then I’m going to taste it. Seeing the innovation, yes.” Evaluate the ingredients, eventually play as well with different techniques. That is an experiment that as knowledgeable bartender, you want to see different ways. Like I said earlier, you can squeeze it, you can centrifuge, you can do whatever you want. That’s, I guess, is really key to get to the final results. Option about a Garibaldi, how I see it? Myself, I’m a big fan of grapefruit, for example. For me, pink grapefruit, when it is well-matured and has this sour and bitter taste. For me, it’s fantastic. It’s just like adding the third dimension that I’m looking for a Garibaldi.
L: It’s just not like the sweet part from the sweet orange, but you have slightly sour and bitter.
T: To bringing in some extra layers of complexity there, excellent because that’s something that I think we’ll get into when we’re talking about the orange juice too. We speak a lot about on this show where it’s like it is a citrus fruit. Maybe it is or maybe it’s not officially, I think it is officially. The idea that it doesn’t work as a “citrus component” for your cocktail, if you’re looking for acidity there on the same way that a lemon or a lime might. We can get into that, but I think just one of the things I want to call out, when we look at the history of this drink too, the unification of Italy as a country is actually a much more modern thing than most of us probably realize, especially here in the States. Italy, as a country, officially is younger than the U.S., even though we have all of these regional traditions and ingredients and things and customs and history that goes back so long, it’s relatively, I’m saying that with air quotes, modern. How does this, or when does this drink first officially come together time-wise? Yes, what’s the history there?
L: I guess let’s go one little step behind. Italians really like to spend their time at the bar. We invented the style of being at the bar. We start with the coffee. That’s the whole beginning. Then further down the line with a little coffee, there started to be a little bit of nibbles food, which she was next to that. Then obviously, you see from the perspective of a business owner, we are talking in the renaissance time. You would like the people around you to spend as much time as possible in your place and getting an offer that will get them really relaxed, really like chill and have a good time, it was the option to go. Florence, for example, has been one of the countries where the actual elixirs, the first type of alcohol and infusion of botanical used to be made with an additional part of a sugarcane. That is the first opportunity that we have to talk about liquors. I guess, culturally, is where everything is started, is literally right there. Starting from the moment that the recreational purpose for something that used to be used as a medicinal without the sugar, it was one of the medicine used to be used to healing yourself, start to become culturally a meeting point. You will find your friends, you will have a little digestive after your dinner, and then where everything becomes. Culturally, I will say that Italy has this thing of having a drink before your dinner. The apéritif, now the aperitivo. You can really experience it once you’re in Rome, Milan, Florence, Venice. You know what I’m talking about?
T: Yes, for sure.
L: 5:30, you see everyone-
T: Oh, it’s the best.
L: -outside the bar with a little drink which is usually, it’s something really light. It doesn’t need to be a killer. Then the fact that it comes with some food, I guess, is the next level. The next step is like you are there, you’re going to have one, two, and then you’re going to make your way anywhere you need to go.
T: This is a drink therefore that we spoke about signifies the unity of Italy as a country, but is there one region more than any other that it’s perhaps most associated with, maybe Milan because of the Campari ties or maybe somewhere else? Where would you say this drink is most popular, maybe in Italy?
L: I will say the two cities that for me are key in Italy probably will be Turin and Milan. The reason why I’m saying this too is because the brands behind as we talk about, Martini and then we talk about Campari. Turin, Milan, they culturally their own bars where they were serving their drinks, and that it really has been a benchmark for the rest of Italy. I will say Turin it will be slightly less, but Milan 100 percent is probably the place that is consumed the most. Believe me, the oranges are coming from Sicily, probably in Milan, are much fresher than those you can find in Sicily.
L: Now Sicillians will kill me but.
T: But just talking about maybe that, maybe they’re paying a little bit more for whatever. That tends to be the case the bigger city gets access to the better produce, right? Yes.
L: Exactly that.
T: Or maybe, and this is no slight on Sicilians of course, but maybe might have a more discerning drinker or maybe a slightly pickier drinker when it comes to who their regular customers are. Versus in Sicily, maybe folks are less concerned with this style of drinking. I don’t know, but it’s interesting to hear.
L: I think the fact that Sicily has those beautiful oranges, they are really sweet. They actually combine it, not that much, in my opinion, when it comes to a cocktail. In the north between Turin and Milan and Venice, those three cities, the culture of having an aperitivo, it’s extremely strong. Everyone is a hard worker until 5 o’clock you pushing, pushing, pushing. Afterwards, they’re like, “Now, I need to go to the bar and I need to have my little aperitivo.” That’s the thing.
T: That sounds like paradise right now. Sounds amazing.
L: That is what it gets you really involved into that system, culture system, but yes, I experience really, really, really good aperitivo in Milan, Venice, and Turin. I have to say more than everywhere else. It’s on apéritif.
The Ingredients Used in Luca Missaglia’s ‘Three Citrus’ Garibaldi
T: Let’s look at the ingredients now. Actually, no. Before that, in terms of just a profile of a cocktail, you mentioned some of the things earlier, and we will get into the technique more, but texturally and flavor-wise from considering bitter to sweet and everything in between, where do you want the profile of this cocktail to land the perfectly executed version of this drink? Like how should it be texturally and then flavor-wise?
L: When it comes to texture, I think it needs to be a really subtle balance between bitterness and sweetness. That’s how I see it when it comes to the texture. On the flavor profile, I will say that it needs to maintain a certain balance, but the actual oranges that you’re using, it needs to have that flavor that is not just another orange. It needs to be something that wow, that’s really citrus. This is really sweet. This has something to it. I think flavor-wise, the importance is the main ingredients as the actual orange itself. Even here in the U.S., you can find extremely good oranges, I have to say. California is one of the biggest producers. I’ve been doing a lot of research about citrus back in the days for my own good, and I discovered that most of the best oranges, they’re not actually from Italy, even if we are really good on selling it.
T: That’s half the story there, the old marketing. That’s always a big part of the story, right?
L: Italian knows really well.
T: Yes. I’ll tell you who as well. It’s particularly from Italy, Campari. They’ve always done a great job, not just with their hero product there, but you look at Aperol and how the Aperol Spritz took over the world. We’ve spoken about that on this show before. Just incredible marketing and selling this idea of the Italian aperitivo culture, which may be specific to a region or may represent the whole country. Talking about those ingredients too, though, we can start with Campari. Unless I’m mistaken, orange or orange peel is at least a pretty major ingredient in this bitter aperitivo, so it would only make sense that pairing it with orange juice. They’re just natural siblings for them to pair together.
L: Yes. I think that the peel in this specific scenario, it’s really essential for one reason. Those aromas, the essential oils that are coming out, they give you another length. It’s another layer of aromas, another layer of flavors that is added. If you think it’s one ingredients, but if you play correctly, with the correct juicing system or extraction, let’s call it like that, and the essential oil, that is becoming something completely different. I like to blend things. I like my Garibaldi even with a bergamot sometimes.
T: We’ll get into that citrus. I guess the only question for Campari I have here is because it’s an ingredient we’ve covered a lot, most of our listeners, if not all, will be very familiar with. We’re starting to see some alternatives out there. Is that a crime to use an alternative that’s not Campari and a Garibaldi or have you ever come across alternatives that you’re like, “Actually, this isn’t the classic, but I really like using this for this reason.”
L: I’m not sure whether it’s a crime. What can I say? I guess that-
T: I guess, another one that’s widely available here in the U.S. is Select, which is from the Veneto, right?
T: Different style, but again, is that —the profiles are fairly similar, but not exactly the same. Is that something you might use or you’re using it if you don’t have Campari and also what situation do you not have Campari, I don’t know?
L: Well, the thing is that in our mentality, especially when you play with cocktails, the beauty of it is that you can play with different flavors. Once you understand the system, how it works, you can actually diversify based on what you are looking for. The option, for example, with Campari, it’s great. It’s a classic, but why not jump into something else? From my point and perspective, for example, and I love rhubarb, thinking about whatever is something like an aperitif, Amaro Santoni is coming from Florence. Rhubarb is great. Still keep the orange as it is, just switch it to something else that actually has an extra length of rhubarb.
T: We’re definitely going to dive into that a little bit more later on in today’s show because we got a nice little surprise here for us in the studio, at least. Hopefully, the listeners will enjoy it too. Campari, okay, pretty much non-negotiable. If Campari is there, then you’re probably going for it. It’s the classic Garibaldi ingredient. Before we move on, the Shakerato. Are you familiar with this drink?
L: I am.
T: I don’t think it’s one that we’ve spoken about before, and I think we should maybe get into it because this, to me, highlights the incredible complexity that something like Campari has in terms of like, you can prepare it in a way that changes the profile that’s very simple. Tell us all about the Shakerato.
L: When it comes to Shakerato, I think it is a beautiful moment because it’s the absolute one ingredient, if you think about it.
T: It’s Campari and then what are we doing?
L: I can tell you, it can be only Campari. It can be just on its own. It’s just shaken and served usually in a little cup or a little Martini glass as the bar decides to share it. For example, if you go to Milan to the Camparino bar, the beauty is probably one ingredient. You can add on another ingredients. In my opinion, for example, I like it with another amaro. For me, Cynar, it’s a wonderful amaro that has these herbal notes, really strong, different perspective from Campari side, but combined together just shaken, basically your main ingredient is the ice.
T: You’re just shaking the hell out of this thing with, are you using a lot of ice in that shaker tin or maybe just one or two decent, like cold draft cubes to get that dilution and to shake for a long time in the aeration?
L: I will say there are two schools in regards of this, and you literally just mention it. From my point of view, I really like it with a lot of ice and I tell you why. Because in first place, I really like to keep under control my temperature. The way I personally shake or I see people around myself, my niche, we shake really strong like we give it that kick. You can generate and create that kind of nice full me, fluffy layer right on the top, still with a lot of ice. Nothing to say that if you put two ice cubes, obviously yes, it will take longer a time. You give a good aeration, yes, the system, it works. From my point of view, I will go straight in with a lot of ice.
T: Then single or double strain, fine strain into a chilled glass there?
L: I will be controversial, probably, about it and I will say with no double strainer. The reason why, because I like those little chips in between the layer of the froth and the actual liquid. They’re hidden. Just lie there hidden. I can be controversial. They can tell me maybe it’s not the cleanest way how to serve it, but if it’s my necessity. I do like it like that.
T: Would you, when you are introducing another component there, you mentioned Cynar, would you go 50-50 or maybe two to one on the Campari to the Cynar? What are you thinking about there? Does it really depend on the ingredient?
L: I personally go equal part.
T: Equal parts?
L: It’s really simple.
L: You got a kick from one side and the other, and then you see with the ice add on into the mix, we will see who is going to be the winner out of it.
T: It’s wild as well. We’re talking about here, like a bonafide, I mean that’s Shakerato just the Campari in it. That’s a bonafide cocktail in a way, but it’s one ingredient, right? It’s wild. Or you bring amaro into it and it’s also, you’re not using citrus, you’re not bringing a sweetening agent into this, but complex cocktails that are balanced and that work. I don’t know. That blows my mind that you can just do that. I figured that’d be a good one for us to cover while we’re chatting about Campari here.
L: Sure. Absolutely.
T: Two for one for the listeners. Here are three for one now because we’ve got the Garibaldi and the two versions of that. Don’t say we don’t spoil you here on “Cocktail College.” This is what we’re giving back to the listeners here. It sounds like maybe the area for most exploration for this cocktail is the orange juice plus maybe additional citrus. Talk us through, you’ve mentioned them before, but the different methods for extraction is, I think a good word that you used rather than juicing because some of them might not be specifically juicing. Tell us the different methods and why you might use each approach.
L: Yes. When it comes to juicing, I say this because I’ve been analyzing really closely and personally, it’s not something that I’ve done all on my own, but has been something that has been developed as well with Simone Caporale. Both of us own this online school, which is called the Art of Shaking. You should check it out. We did one chapter where actually Simone was telling me like, “Let’s analyze every single type of method of juicing.” Why are we doing that? It’s really simple to show you the final result, but as well the way that actually the citrus get treated. If we look at the, let’s say the three iconic way. The Mexican elbow, you squeeze it. The beauty of it is that you get the juice out of your limes, let’s take an example, and then at the same time, you have the essential hoy that it gets spread around. That it will give an extra length to your drink, because it will go into your juice and that juice get used to produce your drinks. That, example number one. Example number two, when you use centrifuge and then what you are doing, you actually discard the pulp and you’re keeping things really light.
T: The centrifuge would be those mechanical juicers. You cut your orange in half and you put it on there, you press it and something is spinning around and you put it.
L: No, no. Actually, it’s not. I tell you because the actual orange, what you’re doing is you’re taking the whole orange. You’re taking the peel out and the white pith, so whatever is all over and covering, you try to leave the orange as clean as possible, and you drop it right from the top. On the bottom, you will have a blade that spins extremely fast. What does it do is it actually gets the thicker part towards the outside of the container. What is going down is just the juice.
T: Oh, okay.
L: Centrifuge, called in the U.K. Sorry if I use the incorrect American word for it.
T: I’ll be honest, I don’t even know what the correct word is here, but no, so I understand what you’re saying. It’s almost like a blender, but that spinning motion is pushing, as you said, there’s solids to the side so that the juice itself just passes down in that. It leaves you with a fairly clean juice. There are fairly like-
L: Light, foamy, really aerated. It’s wonderful. This, for us, is example number two. The number three, it’s the usual example of taking the orange, cut it right in a half, and squeeze it. Mechanically, you are pushing down your orange towards the machine, and the machine does the work is actually spinning and it’s getting the juice out, but that has another result. Those three are three different result, three different tastes. For example, the last one, you are losing whatever is the essential oil.
T: Because it’s the inside of the fruit and you might be picking up some of the white pith there as well.
L: Exactly that. That part, it could be really bitter. It depends on the actual bartender who is doing it. How is the pressure that implement to the orange. That’s our small differences, but believe me, a cocktail with those three different juices, you surely can notice the difference. If you really pay attention to this for a simple cocktail as a Garibaldi, you will.
T: Your preference of these three?
L: It depends what I’m going to do with it. I picked a cocktail for it.
T: Yes, let’s do it.
L: Mexican elbow? For me, needs to be fresh, made at the — I need to fill it.
T: The hand squeezer there, the ones that people will have seen, they’re usually like yellow. You cut the fruit in half, yes. The hand juicer.
L: Exactly. It’s three ingredients. You have your castor sugar, then you have your lime, and then you have your rum. That’s it. Simple is. The centrifuge will use it personally for the Garibaldi. You are losing the essential oil because you’re taken out from the skin, yes, but right there, when I serve my Garibaldi, I give that little twist right on the top. I’m using the peel that I actually discarded before and it was gave me to the third dimension that I was talking about.
T: Got it. Nice.
L: Then for the third example, what I will do is just an orange juice. That’s it.
T: For a Mimosa maybe, you got brunch going on.
L: Something really simple like that.
T: All right then. Here’s some more questions for you. We’re going with that second method, the centrifuge. Is that something therefore that you talked about how fluffy that juice comes out. Is that something that you’re doing to order with this drink or can you prep it in advance and it maintains some of that fluffiness?
L: Yes. You can prepare it before the shift. Absolutely.
T: You can do the shift.
L: Yes. It’s really simple. When you bottle it, you leave a little gap in between the cork and the actual liquid and before you serve it, you just shake it.
L: You shake the bottle, you’re creating that emulsion that is needed to get this nice and cool form. Of course, if you have the time and your bar, it has this tailor made type of service, why not do it on the moment? It’s beautiful having a bunch of oranges. They’re not just there because you need it, but they’re beautiful, maybe blood oranges. They look and paint it. It will catch your guest involved with you. It’s like, “What you doing there?”
T: Using that method, if you’ve prepped it in advanced, chances are you probably want to do that if it’s like a Friday night or whatever you’re expecting a lot of guests.
T: Are you, therefore, keeping all of your ingredients cold? Are you keeping your Campari cold too, or when you approach the preparation of this drink, are you doing any shaking in a tin with ice just to chill it down beforehand? I’m just thinking about temperature of ingredients here when it comes to the drink.
L: Paying attention to temperature, I will say that, of course, the oranges, it must go in the fridge.
T: As soon as you’ve used it, yes.
L: If you prepare it beforehand. Okay? If it is freshly squeezed, I will say that probably keeping your oranges in the fridge and a little exposition, it will be really good and you use whatever and you keep cycling around. The Campari doesn’t have a necessity to be in the fridge. The Garibaldi with the Campari itself, I think it can be simply whatever is the room temperature because anyway, it will be just about the cold that it will work out and then it’s up to the bartender how to serve it. Maybe we can dig a little bit more into that.
T: In terms of just standard practices, how you do it, you’re not too worried therefore about bringing the Campari down super cold, or even doing like a pre-shake just to mix here. Again, we’re going to get into this, but you’re building in the glass.
L: You’re building in the glass, yes. Let’s keep in mind that as a bartender it is your duty to make sure that your cocktail glasses are cold. That is a good thing because you have your oranges, which are cold, and then you have your glass. Then eventually you will use ice or maybe not, but still, you are there. If it’s a warm glass from the top of the coffee machine, then-
L: I’m sorry.
T: Have this drink.
L: I’m not sure.
T: That’s an interesting point. Another one too, you see different examples of this drink out there, some of which are fully, emulsified is not the correct word, but that idea where they’re fully mixed together. Then I’ve seen a version of this drink where it’s split. You have that orange juice bleeding into the Campari, or vice versa. Keen to hear your thoughts on what the best practices are there, because I imagine one, the first one is like a more consistent drinking experience, but the second one looks cool.
L: Yes. I think you’re totally right because I guess when we talk about liquid ideas that turn into cocktails, you need to put in a little space as well for the visual part. The great taste, it looks good, you’re sustainable in what you’re doing, but the look as well, it gets you there. There is the two ways are really interesting. I like it as well when it’s split. If I’m part of the interaction with the drink, I like it even more. If you give me something to sear it, it gets me like that’s cool.
T: Again, this is such a simple drink, but therefore being able to have an interactive component where you as a drinker, as the guest get to be involved in changing how this drink tastes, that’s pretty cool.
L: It is. I’ll say that if you build the experience correctly with the interaction, so if I give you the split drink without the stirrer or without anything that I can play with, then there, it’s a missing experience in my opinion. I would prefer that you actually stir it for me and you give it to me. Otherwise, I will say that if you give me the part of interacting with it, yes, I like it.
L: Do it well. Otherwise don’t do it.
T: Have purpose, have intention. We’re going to ask you now to therefore talk us through your preparation for this drink, what you believe to be the ideal, or before we move on from citrus, do you want us to maybe talk about some of those other ones that you might use in this, like grapefruit or bergamot? Do you have anything else to say or have we covered that sufficiently, do you think?
L: I think bergamot is always in my heart. It’s not just for the Romans. It’s something that when you make a drink with it, you know there is something else. Whoever is your guest that is drinking is like, “What’s that?” You can recognize it, but you don’t know. One of the versions that I really like, it’s getting something like the three citrus together. You have this blood orange which is red and it’s sweet and it’s fantastic, the texture. Then you have a little touch of grapefruit just to give a little extra bitterness. Then you are using the aroma of the bergamot on the top, I will say is the three-citrus Garibaldi.
T: Wow. If you’re breaking that down in terms of ratios, I’m assuming the blood orange is going to take up the main, but would that be like 2:1:1, or what are you thinking there when it comes to what the make up? I know we’re talking about fresh ingredients here, so it’s all about to taste really, but roughly speaking, what’s your ratio?
L: I will say two parts of blood orange juice, one part of grapefruit juice, then one part and a half of the bitter, and then the bergamot will use only the aroma, not juice.
T: Just a twist there on the top?
L: Yes. Because like this, you showcase the citrus, how they actually get applied to a drink.
T: Nice. But at no point here you’re talking about orange and grapefruit, you’re not tempted at all to bring in some citric acid, some malic acid maybe, just in terms of bringing the actual acidity by, or the string doesn’t need it?
L: I do not think it’s needed. I find out, I want to say something that actually over this period of time, we’ve been replicating a lot of apéritif, and when it comes to Garibaldi, every bar likes it to have that extra kick, but sometimes ask yourself as a bartender, is it really needed? You know what I’m saying? Sometimes it’s beautiful how it is. Citric acid, it’s great for certain result, but if you challenge yourself to not use it, you are more brave than actually put it in just to have an excuse to write it on the menu. You know what I’m saying?
T: Yes, for sure. I think that gets to this great point, which is like, some drinks are meant to be sweet or some drinks are meant to be bitter or sour like finding balance doesn’t just mean everything being completely level, so equal sweetness to acidity to bitterness. Sometimes the balanced version of the drink is a sweet drink, which you could talk about this potentially being right. You got the bitterness from Campari, but this is one of those, and therefore, we don’t need straight-up citric acid or whatever. It’s a boost on that side of it.
T: The natural version is balanced in a sweet way.
L: Yes. You said it all, like sometimes it’s the style that it gets you for that. When it comes specifically that the Garibaldi, it’s a sweet drink. It comes sweet and it is thankfully because the orange are sweet.
T: If not, then you got-
L: You know what I’m trying to say. Like, let’s take advantage that it is like that, then let’s evaluate.
T: It’s a celebration of that real nice fresh produce there. No, I love that idea of doing the three citrus Garibaldi there too. I imagine a lot of listeners will be like, “Okay, this is how we’re taking this to the next level.” I know I immediately want to try that. Not that I have a centrifuge, but we’ll get around it. Cool. Now if you could go back to that question actually that I mentioned before, but just talk us through the preparation and ideal build of this drink. If you were to say, Luca, I never tried a Garibaldi before. I want a version that’s true to the ideal of the drink, but the best possible version. Can you talk us through making that now, including measurements for ingredients and spec and build and all that thing?
How to Make Luca Missaglia’s ‘Three Citrus’ Garibaldi
L: Sure. When it comes to Garibaldi, I think you need to keep in mind that it is a simple drink so do not complicate yourself, your life. Don’t take out your shaker, leave it on the side for now. Think about the beauty of a glass and start to think about the ingredients. One of the versions that I really like, it’s the three citrus Garibaldi, three citrus in one drink. It’s the absolute citrus we can call it, cocktail Garibaldi.
L: We can start in a simple way where we actually grab the best oranges, probably blood oranges, beautiful, and we utilize a centrifuge so we are discarding the thick part of the orange so all the pulp.
T: The pulp, yes.
L: We are taking only the physical water, the physical juice so. That’s step number one. I will do the same exact thing for the grapefruit, pink grapefruit. Pink grapefruit, why? In my opinion, it has that bitterness, which is, has a more depth than whatever it could be, the yellow grapefruit. That, it gives you an extra and it looks much better.
T: The color’s cool.
L: It’s pink. Everything that is pink is much better. I will have those ingredients ready on my table, squeezed, and et cetera. My. proportion, it will always start from the cheap ingredients. From the old days, they always taught me. You start from the cheap ingredients and you move up. I will grab the grapefruit and I will use one part and a half. Actually, I will use two part. Really simple and effective. Then I will move on to the orange and I will take about two parts, two part and a half, a little bit more, and I will build it into my glass. Really simple. Drop it in, leave it there. You will see this beautiful combination of the two elements. Then I will go with the bitter. The bitter, yes, can be Campari if I want to stick into the sharp and classic. Otherwise, I will move on into something a little bit more different, like a rhubarb, as I said, Amaro Santoni, things of this kind. That gets me a little bit more excitement. What’s that? Just put everything in the glass and at this stage, you have two choices. If you select a glass, which if its ice, then you can put the ice. Otherwise, if you’re one of those really minimalistic that they’re looking for those tiny aperitivo glasses that usually they’re used for Bellini style in Venice, you don’t need it. All you’ve done is there. That’s it. It will look really foamy. It will look really beautiful. Probably you will need to add a little bit more juice.
T: Got it. To get that nice wash line on the top.
L: Exactly. Then as we said, three citrus Garibaldi, right? The last touch is that frost. You can break it down the bigger bubble throughout the essential oil from the bergamot. You don’t use any juice, you just cut it down. I don’t know how easy it can be to find a bergamot in New York.
T: Oh, it’s probably out there somewhere, but yes. It’s very seasonal, isn’t it? If you can get it-
L: Anyone out there that knows?
T: Let us know.
L: Anyone that is selling bergamot, please reach us out. I think that is like, you have this aroma that is recalling a bit a perfume, a little bit like the Acqua di Parma style. That he has bergamot and then you’re like, “Oh, that’s done for me.” There is nothing else to add. I don’t want anything in my drink. I like it how it is.
T: Then you’re probably going to drop in a straw there as well so that people can mix it themselves, like if you have the space there and the ice and yes.
L: I like it. I tell you something. I will not use the straw, but the stirrer.
T: A stirrer. Okay.
L: Because the straw, if you put it there, you will use it, and then you lose that matte feel that you want on your lips. The good Garibaldi you recognize for one thing, that when you drink it and you put it down, you have the mustache, like the chocolate. Same thing. That’s what it is.
T: A stirrer. I was also thinking too, like, yes, you’re probably going to be getting rid of most of the pulp when it comes to the centrifuge, but some might make it in there and then that gets in the straw and then the straw gets clogged. It’s just a whole thing. No need.
L: Yes, exactly. It doesn’t work out.
T: Nice. All right. Three citrus Garibaldi, very nice. Any final thoughts here on that drink before we move into the next part of the show, the Garibaldi?
L: Well, I think we said quite a lot about it. I would like to remark the fact that, yes, I will see a Garibaldi like a hot chocolate. When you hang out with your mustache, then it means it’s a good Garibaldi. That’s it.
T: That’s the perfect sign right there. I love it. Okay. Fantastic. Well, we are going to head into the next part, the show now where we bring up our five recurring questions. Before we do so though, I’m just going to pause for a second here, fill some glasses. Tell us what you brought in for us to try here, by the way. We always love it when our guests bring something in for us to try in the studio. What is it? You’ve hinted at it earlier with this rhubarb, but tell us about what you brought in today. First of all, this is something that’s available in the U.S., right?
L: Yes. This is like the aperitivo born in Florence. It’s called Amaro Santoni. It’s an Amaro that takes roots back in the days. The Santoni family has been a key family for the production of rhubarb liqueur back in the days. They’ve been producing rhubarb since 1957. What we wanted to do was rethink how a rhubarb liquor should be today. Being an Amaro, served as an apéritif, that’s what makes a big difference. Because an Amaro is a digestif. We know. We have fernet after our meal or Fernet-Branca, whatever you prefer. When you think an Amaro before your meal, it’s a different-
T: Different proposition right there.
L: Different proposition, game changer.
T: Yes. Let’s try this, let’s crack it open. What was your preferred serve here for us to try this as we head into the — Just a glass?
L: Well, I think it’s really good on its own with ice. If you have ice at home or in your bar, for sure you do, I think it’s fantastic because it’s Dolce and Amaro.
L: So Bitter sweet.
T: Well, I’m going to set us up with a couple of those and we’re going to kick off the questions. How’s that sound?
L: It sounds great to me.
T: Perfect. All right. We’re back. We got our pours. Luca, remind us the name, sorry, by the way, of this product. For folks that are listening along and maybe might want to Google, tell us the name.
L: Amaro Santoni.
T: Amaro Santoni. Cheers. I mean this color.
T: Immediately this is — I’m getting just a real nice vivid red right there. I’m just going to roll off some descriptors here. Leaping off the nose to me as like a classic. Yes, it’s got that Amaro profile but there’s a fruitiness to it as well that I think the color helps bring out when you’re smelling this. Any other comments you have here? I’m just tasting this.
L: I would say it’s a harmony of flavors. That it doesn’t start when you drink it but it starts when you crack your bottle.
T: Wow. Yes.
L: From your perspective, when you open, you’re like, “Oh, what’s this?” Do you know how many times it happened to us that you’re looking for something beautiful, and then you crack the top, you’re like, “Oh, what’s that?” We try to engage from the nose perspective because it’s really important to us.
T: It’s beautifully balanced on the palette here. I can just say this tastes almost like the three citrus Garibaldi itself. It has a sweetness to it. It has like those citrus oil and just layers of complexity is wonderful. Nice to have this just as a little ride-along as we’re going to head into our final questions today.
Getting to Know Luca Missaglia
L: Yes, absolutely. The taste I will say that the 34 different botanicals that we are using, they really complement each other. The majority of it is locally filled. Tuscan is one of the greatest region in Italy. We’ll be learning it from the gene production that most of the botanicals are coming from there.
T: No, it’s a wonderful, wonderful product and yes, like we said earlier, look, Campari’s the classic but if you are looking for something different but that fits the bill, check it out, guys. All right. We’re going to begin with question one, one here though. What style or category of spirit typically enjoys the most real estate on your back bar?
L: I will say that actually the category of — I’m in between two. One is gin for sure.
T: I was going to say this, this viewed through the context as well that you’re based in London and gin continues to reign supreme there I would imagine.
L: If you don’t have a gin — I mean if you open a bar without a gin, that will be really controversial. Especially in London. I will say that it’s essential to have a gin and it’s one of the incredible categories that we’ve been learning a lot from, as well liquors, we’ve been learning a lot as well. They’ve been moving on from the whole type of style of drinking liquors to the new way of seeing liquors. Right here, we have the best example from my perspective but yes, I would say liquors. I guess as well, what is really contributing to creating something really valuable in regards of a category, it’s the knowledge of bartenders that they bring along with it. When you create a wow effect in a well-made cocktail with incredible spirits such as gin or a liquor, that is where you actually creating the benchmark. That’s what I see mostly in the U.K., I will say.
T: Yes. Nice.
L: They’re fighting in between the two.
T: The gin and the liquor. Nice. Question number two, which ingredient are two do you think is the most undervalued in a bartender’s arsenal?
L: I believe the grapefruit, the pink grapefruit. It’s an ingredient that is available all over the world and nobody use it that much.
T: Beyond the Paloma, which again, a lot of people are using soda for instead of fresh pink grapefruit.
T: I can’t think of any classic or modern classic that comes to mind with it in.
L: Exactly. You’re like, most of the time you find the pink grapefruit right there on the bunch of fruit that is cut in a half because they probably use one slice. I’m like, you can use much more out of it. I think it’s one of the most underestimated. On second place, I would like to say that another ingredients that we can take, as you said, from the arsenal of a bartender, is the olive. We have olives most of the time in the bar. They’re not the greatest ones. They’re just like, whatever is available, the cheapest that your distributor have, right? Why not find something that really fits your need? Get something that is not from your distributor, but it’s locally sold in your community, in your neighborhood. You can use that olive as a salty part into your drink. Imagine that you’re having a cocktail and then just right in the hand, you eating your olive. It doesn’t need to be just for a Martini. A spritz, for example. It can be used for it.
T: Yeah, as well there again.
L: You know what I’m trying to say. Or there is a type of Negroni that, why not? It’s an aperitivo in itself. You’re drinking and you’re eating.
T: Nice. That’s a great one. Yes. Look beyond the Martini for the olive other uses. That’s a great tip right there. Question number three, what’s the most important piece of advice you’ve received while working in this industry?
L: I think the best advice I’ve received was “Be the host.” The bar is just a structure. It’s just like a solid piece of wood sometimes with a beautiful marble right on the top. That’s what it is. You are the bar, so make this bar who you are and I think that is key. Being behind the bar and be at the bar, it’s like be on stage. Every day it doesn’t no matter that you have an issue at home or you didn’t pay your bills, or you got a fine for your car parked somewhere that you’re not supposed to park it. Go there with the sense of, I’m here to get other people to experience because they’re coming here for my drink. They’re coming here for me, they’re coming here for the environment, but I need to complement that. Be a great host. The outcome, it will be that.
T: I love it. Also, just thinking about too, if you have a really beautiful bar setup, thinking of, with my guest hat on here, if the bar setup looks amazing, but then the service is really cold or dry, there’s no engagement, that almost makes me hate the place even more because I’m like, “You have this amazing space, and then the service and then what you feel that’s enough,” or not that I’m trying to throw shade at anyone here, but just if you do have an amazing space, if anything, you got to live up to that even more and justify it, and really, I don’t know, have that impact for the guests.
L: Absolutely. We are human. We are looking for emotion under different aspects. If I go to a bar and I will remember the bartender for his personality, the way he makes me feel, the way he’s serving me, I will love the whole experience. If I go there and I just go there for the cocktail, there is a missed opportunity to showcase what an experience can be. Not every bar can do it, but in your little, you can actually be helping the process.
T: Amazing. Love it. Question number four, if you could only visit one last bar in your life, what would it be?
L: In regards of this question, I will make a really simple and straightforward. Right now, I think it will be Sips in Barcelona. I guess it will be the last place I would like to see it. The reason why is because of the experience that you get. It’s one of those things that is really like so outside the thinking of a bar, then actually it really makes you feel like wanting to go back there.
T: Nice. A real important movement happening right there now in Barcelona, a lot of great places there, people shining a spotlight, so destination city. If people are looking for somewhere to travel this summer, Barcelona’s got the bars.
T: Make sure to stop by London first, though, of course, and say hi to Luca, because that’s a — London’s a great drinking city too. Good things happening right now in Barcelona. All right. Final question for you here today.
T: If you knew that the next cocktail you drank was going to be your last, what would you order or make?
L: It’s a tough question, but the first thought I had in my mind right now, it was a Negroni. You know why? Because it’s the beauty of the three elements. You have the gin, you have the bitter, and you have the vermouth. I think this is really cool, because it’s really simple, not every cocktail needs to be shaken. A Negroni is stirred and it’s beautiful how it is, but with the fact that you’re choosing your amaro or your bitter, let’s call it like that, and then you choose your vermouth, or maybe you can turn into something else like a sweet wine. You’re choosing your gin and you combine equal parts or different depending on — It’s the process of making it, it’s pleasurable for me. To drink it, even more. Probably, I will garnish it with an olive.
T: With an olive, yes.
L: That’s how I feel like.
T: Love it. I think as well when — What you’re talking about there too, in terms of turning the Negroni more into a template than just the standard or the classic recognized, that’s really one way where you can make that cocktail really interesting and just take it off in some whacky different directions maybe with some rhubarb-based alcohol right there. I’d love to try this in a Negroni and hey, I’m going to do that just now but not before I’ve headed out to go and try and track down some bergamot. Someone’s got to have it here in the city.
L: I think we need to call Tom Cruise because it’s a mission impossible.
T: A mission impossible maybe this time of year. Luca, thank you so much, man. It’s been a pleasure. Thanks for joining us today.
L: Thank you very much. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for your time.
OK, that was a lot of info, but here’s the good news. Every single episode of VinePair’s “Cocktail College” is also published on VinePair.com as a transcript. So you can check it out there all over again.
If you enjoy listening to the show anywhere near as much as we enjoy making it, go ahead and hit subscribe, and please leave a rating or review wherever you get your podcasts — whether that’s Apple, Spotify, or Stitcher. And please tell your friends.
Now, for the credits. “Cocktail College” is recorded and produced in New York City by myself and Keith Beavers, VinePair’s tastings director and all-around podcast guru. Of course, I want to give a huge shout-out to everyone on the VinePair team. Too many awesome people to mention. They know who they are. I want to give some credit here to Danielle Grinberg, art director at VinePair, for designing the awesome show logo. And listen to that music. That’s a Darbi Cicci original. Finally, thank you, listener, for making it this far and for giving this whole thing a purpose. Until next time.