last year’s FCW winner Julian Biondi w/ Neri Fantechi of (sadly) closed Florian (Julian and Neri still stirring @ Mad Souls & Spirits on Borgo San Frediano)

Remember last year when I raved about Florence doing a Cocktail Week? It’s back and this time with grit. What is Florence Cocktail Week? To sum it up simply, this is a competition between 16 of the city’s trendiest, competent and skilled bartenders/mixologists at their resident locales. Each will come up with a drink that they think is trophy worthy to serve during the week which the public can order PLUS events everyday dedicated to spirits. I.e. Cocktail and Vinyl pairing sessions (am I back in Seattle?! Drinks that pair with the best music- yes please!), gin-inspired farmhouse pop-up dinners, chef-led cocktail crawls and workshops Details & Calendar of Events in PDF HERE!

At the end of the 7 days of hooch, there will be a final judgement event at Mercato Centrale and a final contest will determine the winner- last year it was one of the most humane Florentines in the city: Julian Biondi now at Mad Souls & Spirits: the closest haunt I’ll get to a Cheers bar but with stellar punch/sans PBR. Who will you put your bets on this year?

THAT Sicilian blood orange amaro “Amara” is delicious. Photo: Florence Cocktail Week

Last year, as with most start-up anything, details available are either confusing, puzzle-pieced or scarce. I translated the random cryptic information that was out & about. The event was diffused basically to those already in the cocktail know. But when I say “with grit”, it’s because they teamed up with a PR group, out with a press release in comprehensible English and are actually branching out- collaborating with other cities, chefs and the English-speaking newspaper The Florentine. Wow!

I show my surprise because it’s been my cynical experience that anything cool that happens in Florence stays between the elite Florentine crowds. The fact they are breaking the boundaries of the bubble to reach out to more communities is wow to me. Brav-iiiii

So since they have a rather pleasant PR rep Angela Cotton, who did all the legwork in English, there really isn’t much else for me to say. You can view the press release in pristine English HERE

I should note that last year there were 13 participating bars/mixologists and this year that number has increased humbly to 16. Albeit one rad bar closing (FLORIAN COME BACK) noting Florence is not so backwards stuck in time as I rag on it to be. If you follow me on instagram, you may have noticed my musings over new vintage bar spot Bitter Bar. The bartender Cristian Guitti is extremely talented, ambitious and has an impeccable memory of taste while fusing elements of tip-top service and presentation. “Memory of Taste” meaning, the (rare) ability to marry flavors. Please go visit- his bar is over in Sant’Ambrogio on Via del Mezzo, 28R. His drink is “Lost in Tortuga” and is a rum/coffee based libation. While I’m not usually a fan of rum (I’m a vermouth, bitter and whiskey forever kinda gal) I have to say anything I’ve sipped at Bitter Bar that falls out of my flavor preferences makes me question my set old man drink ways.

And might I also point out, especially to you Romans and Milanese who tout your fancy modern food & drink scene that Florence is the FIRST and so far ONLY city to spearhead an official Cocktail Week. And it’s about damn time that Florence shows up to these big cities! (hey- we can do cool stuff too!) What’s more concerning is that it took until 2016 for Italy to develop a cocktail week! If you think about it- the best cocktails are made possible thanks to Italian juice. I.e. Campari, Aperol, vermouth, prosecco, amari & fernet (all the rage currently in ‘Merica), Martini, etc.

Aside from classic liqueurs & juice born in Italy, the boot is seeing a rise in local spirits. I.e. Tuscan-sourced herb distillations and Italian-grown grain malt whisky.

Now I kinda want a drink. And it’s only 6:22pm (hey, at least it’s not a.m., right?)

Details: Florence Cocktail Week May 1st-7th 2017. Details & Calendar of Events in PDF Final Contest: May 6th Top Floor Mercato Centrale from 4pm-7pm Complete List of Selected Venues PDF

In your boozy trust,

Curious Appetite

Hey! I’ll be more than likely destroying my liver, lushing it up during all 7 days. Follow along on Instagram stories for scenes into the week and my favorite sips. Cheers!

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