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    • A day in the life of our Master Mixologist

      Agostino Perrone, Master Mixologist for the Connaught Bar, shares his journey to getting where he is today...

      A MIXOLOGY MASTERCLASS

      “…and that’s the trick”

      “It starts with the elements, or one of them at least: water, in its solid state of ice. The secret to building a great cocktail is ice, not just any ice, but very ‘compact’ ice. In chunks, it dilutes slowly, and that’s the trick.”

      There begins the masterclass in mixology, given by Agostino Perrone, mixologist at the Connaught Bar, his personal laboratory and theatre of spirits, infusions and innovation. The other element in evidence is fire, manifested as passion. This man has it running in his veins.

      THE START OF A CREATIVE JOURNEY

      “Reinterpreting the classics and creating new twists”

      It all started somewhere completely different, on the shores of Lake Como in Italy, where a teenager who loved photography was looking for an outlet for his creativity and found it in a local bar – on the right side of the counter!

      This was the springboard for a journey that took Agostino to Sardinia and on to Soho, Battersea and Notting Hill, all the time experimenting, learning and creating.

      His reputation grew among his peers, a small international band of brothers and sisters constantly reinterpreting the old classics, and creating new twists.

      THE WORLD’S BEST COCKTAIL BAR

      “The team rose to the challenge with steely determination”

      In 2008 the Connaught Bar as we now know it opened, and at the helm stood Agostino. The bar had been designed not only as an ultra-stylish space but as a highly functional, state-of-the-art bar that set the standard for layout and equipment.

      The vision was simple: to create the world’s best cocktail bar – a challenge that was met by the team with steely determination. The results speak for themselves:

      • Tales Of The Cocktail’s Best Cocktail Bar In The World 2012
      •  Food and Travel magazine’s 2012 Readers’ Award for Bar of the Year
      •  The World’s Best Hotel Bar 2010
      •  International Bartender of the Year 2010
      •  The Wallpaper Design Awards 2010 for Best Personal Service for the Connaught Martini Trolley experience

      THE PERFECT MARTINI

      “Sage, alchemist and entertainer”

      If one object captures the Connaught Bar, it is the gleaming black and chrome martini trolley.

      It is here that Agostino steps into his role as sage, alchemist and entertainer. As you sit at your table, the trolley is gracefully wheeled into position.

      Agostino starts to describe the infusions he has carefully sourced and preserved in small brown glass vials: ginger, liquorice, coriander seed, grapefruit, vanilla, cardamom, and lavender.

      A beaker is filled with chiselled ice. Vodka or gin from an exclusive range is added, and the chosen infusions dropped in then all gently stirred.

      A chilled glass appears. Lined with a splash of vermouth, it is held at arm’s length below the beaker, and from a great height the liquor is poured, the flavour expanding as it falls into the glass.

      A final twist and it’s yours. And it’s very difficult to keep from clapping as your mouth echoes, ‘Bravo, Maestro, Bravo!’

      It is a truly memorable experience to spend time here. As one Connaught visitor and hero of Agostino’s, Winston Churchill, said: “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”

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