A View from the City: Naples

From a client point of view, vodka cocktails is still a best-seller but now it is mixed better, made with fresher ingredients and people appreciate that.

We finally have a stable supply of good ginger beer, so Moscow Mule is blowing the roof off every bar. Dark rum cocktails are on the up. For years dark rum was only drunk neat but now bartenders are starting to use it in their Manhattans. Gin is a growing trend and, although somewhat illegal by the Italian food laws, bartenders are starting to get creative and make their own gin syrups, sodas and liqueurs.

What is the best drink you have been made in Naples and who made it?

It was a Red Hook, made by Vincenzo Errico, the only guy I know that managed to make one of his cocktails famous on an international level. The cocktail is twist on the classic Manhattan and it quickly got famous around New York when he was working at Milk and Honey. It is super-good but it also taught me lots of things about how to make cocktails, of how the Italian style could conquer the world, and how less is more in cocktails. Try it.

Has the economic downturn had any effect?

The economy is difficult now, but being Italian and especially from the south, money for eating and drinking is the last thing we cut on our budget. Now is the time to conquer new consumers; only those who work in a professional manner and offer the best cocktail will survive.

I have noticed that the credit crunch has made a natural selection. Older, more mature customers have decided to spend their money in places where they hadn’t been for years, younger customers have started finally understanding what they are drinking, which makes me hope that we will see better times in the future make our job easier.