In Italy, aperitivo hour is more than a daily routine. The simple ritual of pausing to mark the end of the day and the beginning of leisure time has become a cultural cornerstone, one now beloved and practiced the world over. In this ascendance to global fame, aperitivo’s attendant cocktails have taken on new life, replicated and reinterpreted time and again. But whether classic or new wave, the best type of aperitivo hearkens back to the essence of the occasion, which calls for low alcohol, a touch of the bittersweet and ultimate refreshment—ideal for sparking the appetite and encouraging a moment of evening relaxation.
It’s in this spirit that ITALICUS Rosolio di Bergamotto, the bergamot rosolio liqueur brand founded by Italian bartender and drinks industry veteran Giuseppe Gallo, is calling on bartenders worldwide to create an original aperitivo recipe for this year’s Art of ITALICUS Aperitivo Challenge. As a brand rooted in Italian culture and design—the latter which ITALICUS explicitly references in the build of its bottle, drawing on the shape of the Roman columns found throughout the country—both the arts and aperitivo are at the heart of the company, which is why the theme for this year’s competition is art and creativity.
Art of ITALICUS Aperitivo Challenge
Eight entrants will be selected for the United States final, to be held in spring 2022, where the winner will be crowned U.S. Bar Artist of the Year and entered into the global Art of ITALICUS final, to take place in May 2022.
“For us [Italians], even food and drink is art,” says 2020 ITALICUS Bar Artist Antonello Iacca. Whether inspired by artworks classic or contemporary and mediums traditional or unexpected, recipes submitted for the competition should call for a minimum of 1.5 ounces of ITALICUS and clearly outline measurements, garnishes, glassware and overall presentation. To capture the complete aperitivo experience, participants are welcome to suggest a food pairing.
Eight entrants will be selected for the United States final, to be held in spring 2022, where the winner will be crowned U.S. Bar Artist of the Year and entered into the global Art of ITALICUS final, to take place in May 2022. The winner of the global competition will be named ITALICUS Bar Artist of the year and will receive a trip to Barcelona; there, they will get to enjoy the gastronomic creativity of the vibrant Spanish city and take part in a mentorship program with the renowned Marc Alvarez at Sips.
“The idea is that this should be about experience, about learning. We want to give [the winner] a memorable trip to a capital of art and aperitivo and the chance to learn from some of the most innovative bars in the world” Iacca says.
Entries are currently being accepted in the United States, as well as Greece, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Spain, Russia and the United Kingdom. (For those outside these countries, ITALICUS has introduced a “wild card” entry option, where bartenders located anywhere in the world may enter for a chance to be selected by the global team and sent straight to the final.) U.S.-based competitors can submit their cocktail at www.rosolioitalicus.com/aperitivo-challenge. All entrants are invited to share their recipe via social media, using the hashtags #italicus #rosoliodibergamotto #artofitalicus #aoi21.
Giuseppe Gallo is most eager to learn from the inventiveness of the participants and to see the spectrum of art from which they draw inspiration. He says, “I love this program because it gives us an opportunity to feel connected with art and beauty worldwide.”