Above: The House of Peroni Master of Mixology Simone Caporale, Mia Johansson and George Greaves
surveying Bergamot Tramonto
Take two creative minds – one in bartending, the other in illustration – and invite them to an incredibly picturesque setting in Genoa, northern Italy. Next, immerse them in the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the city, allowing their thoughts to blend together and simmer gently. Add Peroni Nastro Azzurro Gluten Free and some gorgeous Italian citrus to the equation and you’ve got yourself the recipe for one of the exciting, bespoke drinks on the menu at the upcoming The House of Peroni.
When Mia met George…
Mia Johansson, queen of hospitality and bar owner of Best International New Bar Swift, and George Greaves, an incredibly talented illustrator, hadn’t met before they landed in Genoa early last month. But thanks to the bright sparks at Peroni Nastro Azzurro, their talents were brought together for another exciting chapter in The House of Peroni story. Always innovating of the beer category, always championing the delights of Italy, the latest residency sees three partnerships where specially selected bartenders are paired up with artists in the fields of floristry, scent and illustration and tasked with creating a drink infused with their adventures in Italy.
They were required to tick a couple of boxes: each drink had to include either Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Peroni Nastro Azzurro Gluten Free or Peroni Ambra as well as an Italian citrus. Not exactly a hardship when the region is bursting with citrus in all shapes and sizes and pairs perfectly with all three Peroni Nastro Azzurro beers…
Mia and George getting inspired by the citrus in the market
“We spent a whole day experiencing the atmosphere, colours, people and smells of the city,” says Mia who was tasked with incorporating Peroni Nastro Azzurro Gluten Free and bergamot in her creation. “It was wonderfully inspiring, which is exactly what you need when you’re creating a drink, you have to think about the occasion, flavours, who’s going to be drinking it and how it’s going to be served. Once you’ve got those factors sorted in your mind, the rest falls into place.” George found the experience equally fascinating. “Ordinarily, we wouldn’t get to work together but having done so, it’s been amazing to see how many common threads we share. I usually think purely from an aesthetic point of view, I’d never thought of colour in terms of flavour and sensation. It made me think differently – now I really appreciate the artistry that goes into cocktails.”
The similarities and mutual admiration didn’t end there. “We both like clean lines, elegance and think in colour,” Mia continues. “George referred to the structures as an artist, seeing colours in the windowsills and arches while I was thinking about how those colours – all yellows and amazing greens – could be interpreted into a drink.”
“I didn’t know what the drink was going to be until we started walking around the city but it came to me: the person we were creating it for was Genoa but that prompted the question, “who is Genoa?” For me she is someone sitting in the sunlight swathed in the wonderful greens that we saw all around the city, hence the choice of colours and flavours in the cocktail.
“The drink is very Italian, with fresh lemon juice from the wonderful market in Genoa. I’ve gone for a spritz-style drink; it’s very light and fragrant with distinct citrus notes. During the day we stopped at a gelateria, so I’ve added a scoop of sorbet which lends a frothy lightness and sprinkled the drink with lemon thyme on top to represent the beautiful fields we walked through during the day. The end result is like golden lemon sunlight with a hint of green, perfectly capturing the spirit, colour and vibrancy of Genoa, but it also works in London.”
10ml lemon juice
10ml bergamot sherbet
20ml Italicus Rosalio di Bergamotto
1 scoop citrus sorbet
100ml Peroni Nastro Azzurro Gluten Free to top
Lemon thyme to garnish
Taste it for yourself and see how the visit inspired Mia and George at
Bar Citrus at The House of Peroni, running from 5th to 15th October
at N&C Showrooms, 3-10 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6PG.
For event information and details of the teams and their citrus journeys, see TheHouseOfPeroni.com