The internet is (literally) saturated with cocktails, cocktail recipes, and cocktail photos. The magic of the internet means that everything you’d ever want to know about Gin & Tonics, Manhattans, and Sidecars are just a few clicks away. But, what happens when you scroll up to your favorite cocktail and then actually try to make it at home? After you follow the written directions, it might taste similar to the same drink you’d order in a bar and it might even sort of resemble it. But, the odds are it won’t be amazing and that’s because in order to really make the drink the way the bartender intended is to see it made step-by-step in high-resolution photos.
This week’s bartender is Rome native Damiano Coren from Macao Trading Co. in New York City with his cocktail “Sophia” — made with Galliano L’Aperitivo, orange juice, almond syrup, lemon juice, and prosecco. It’s perfect for holiday entertaining. Make this for your Thanksgiving guests and they are less likely to stand around the kitchen bothering you while you finish dinner.
When Coren creates a cocktail he always starts by setting his train of thoughts on a specific ingredient that he wants to use in the drink.
“I generally take inspiration from the past just exploring which spirits and mixers complement and highlight the flavors I would like to bring out,” he says. Of course, this all depends on the occasion the cocktail is for. “For example, the first drink of the night should be light and bittersweet, the way aperitivo is meant to be enjoyed in Italy.”
For those unfamiliar with an aperitivo or aperitif: these are cocktails meant to be enjoyed prior to a meal. They are supposed to help open up your palate to the food you are about to enjoy as well as open you and your guests up socially, as you chat and relax before dinner. Popular Italian aperitivo includes: the Negroni, Americano, Aperol Spritz, and Prosecco. This is opposed to the digestif, the after dinner drink. These include: brandy, port, whiskey, and cognac.
After finding a workable recipe, Coren adds something seasonal to give a final particular touch — which also will give the drink more longevity and balance on the palate. This cocktail takes its inspiration from the classic way to drink aperitivo in Italy, something light, bubbly with seasonal ingredients. And no, it’s not named after your favorite sassy character from Golden Girls.
“I named it after a famous Italian actress Sophia Loren, who is also a fellow Rome native,” Coren says.