The House of Peroni Nastro Azzurro makes its fiercely anticipated return, bringing a slice of Italy to Temple Bar from August 10th to 20th. Hosted by Federico Riezzo
Tell us how you became a master mixologist?
I studied to become a chef back in Italy whilst working for my parents caffe and once I arrived in London in the mid 90’s and working as chef I felt that the kitchen was keeping me away from one of my biggest passions which is serving and interacting with guests. So, I decided to move to mixology as it would still give me the opportunity to play with ingredients and experimenting with flavours. I feel that a great bartender is a cocktail (excuse the pun) of various elements like entertainer, create great drinks as well as conversations and make guests feel at home and special.
What is your go-to cocktail order?
It does depend on a few factors like the occasion, the time of day, the weather and my mood, but you will probably see me drinking either a Peroni Nastro Azzurro or either a Peroni Spritz but over the last few months I have also been drinking Sweet Vermouth and Tonic with lots of fresh mandarin squeezed into it.
What is your favourite food and cocktail pairing?
This is easy. A Peroni Spritz with a huge Aperitivo board full of savoury treats like salami, prosciutto and deep fried croquettes, cheese – the list can go on and on. The bitter and dry flavours of the drinks are perfect to open the appetite… adding some sunshine for the full show.
What are the must-try cocktails this summer?
You should definitely come to the House of Peroni to try one of the above The Peroni Spritz, but as I said earlier a Sweet Vermouth and Tonic packed with ice – its a splendid drink.
From the Negroni to Aperol Spritz, what makes Italian cocktails so good?
The bartenders of course. Jokes aside, we have a myriad of ingredients that have been perfected throughout centuries whether food, wine and spirit. I guess the Italians like to keep it simple and let the quality of the ingredients speaks for themselves.
What mixology tips can you share for people looking to recreate their favourite cocktails at home?
Follow the recipe but always add your twist and very important always try before you shake or serve as sometimes ingredients like to misbehave so just like for food have a little try before you imbibe.
And always pack your glass with ice, like right to the top, always.
What is the art of aperitivo and how can we embrace it here in Ireland?
Aperitivo is more than just drinks and food. It’s about celebrating your day at work and seeing your friends, seeing people passing by and most importantly it is about conviviality, the pleasure of chatting and having a good time, something that both italians and irish are particularly good at.
What has inspired your bespoke cocktail creations for House of Peroni this year and which one are you most excited to share with guests?
Effortlessness, simplicity, quality and taste are my go to adjectives when creating drinks and Peroni Nastro Azzuro really helped as it brings so many different flavours profiles. I am intrigued to share the Peroni Sbagliato as I have never offered it before to guests, but considering the incredible exposure and interest that the Negroni has garnered over the last year globally and because it tastes so good, I am sure it will be a popular choice.
Interview with Federico Riezzo
Federico Riezzo is the host and master mixologist at The House of Peroni Nastro Azzurro which makes its much anticipated return and brings a flavour of Italy to Dublin this summer. Taking place from Thursday 10th to Sunday 20th August at Dublin’s brand-new hospitality venue, Central Plaza Dame St, expect bespoke cocktail menus, mixology masterclasses, exciting food pop-ups with Grano, stylish summer terraces and the choicest of music. For more information and to book tickets, visit www.hopnadublin.com. Walk-ins are also welcome.
Drink responsibly: Visit www.DrinkAware.ie