The Decisive Moment

Valentino Longo | Miami, FL

Miami-based bartender Valentino Longo’s take on a gin Martini—which won first prize in the 2020 Most Imaginative Bartender competition—is constructed to reflect the four classic elements of balance in a photograph. The base of gin serves as the subject while fortified bergamot, infused with Spanish lemon peels, represents the presence of light as ingredients warmed by the Mediterranean sun. Reflecting the shadowy mysteries of barrel-aging, a sherry-lactic blend stands in for darkness while lending richness to the body. Contrast is created through the inventive garnish: a drop of coconut olive oil, followed by three drops of coffee-infused balsamic vinegar, creating color differentiation on the surface of the drink. “Every time you look at a picture, it’s always different,” says Longo. “With this cocktail, every time you have a sip, you get a different layer.”


Serving: 1

  • 1 ½ parts Bombay Sapphire gin
  • ¾ parts Fortified Bergamot (See Editor’s Note)
  • 1 ¼ parts Sherry-Lactic Blend (See Editor’s Note)

Garnish: Garnish with 1 large drop of coconut olive oil, followed by 3 smaller drops of coffee balsamic vinegar inside the olive oil.

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice.
  2. Stir until chilled and strain into a Nick & Nora glass.
Editor's Note

Fortified Bergamot
1 350ml bottle Italicus Bergamot liquor
Peels from 4 organic Spanish or Meyer lemons

To a vacuum-seal bag, add the liquor and lemon peels. Vacuum-seal, and let sit overnight in the refrigerator. The following day, strain and bottle the liquor.

Sherry-Lactic Blend
15ml sherry
15ml ambrato vermouth
10ml americano vermouth
2 drops of lactic solution (5g lactic acid:100g water)

In a small container, combine all of the ingredients.

Coconut Olive Oil
50ml olive oil
Pulp from one whole Thai coconut

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the oil to 140℉. Remove from the heat, add the coconut pulp, and stir to combine. Cover and let sit overnight. The next day, strain the mixture through a coffee filter.

Coffee Balsamic Vinegar
500g freshly ground coffee
500ml balsamic vinegar

To a vacuum-seal bag, add the fresh-ground coffee and balsamic vinegar. Vacuum seal and let sit overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, strain pass the mixture through a coffee filter.