The Ve.n.to is one of the new additions to the IBA (International Bartender Association) cocktail list. And it is a truly unusual one, for it is the first-ever Grappa cocktail that made it into one of the lists of the IBA. In case you're not familiar with Grappa, it's a clear spirit from Italy made of grapes. A product that Italians take immense pride in. So, it's no surprise that Grappa lovers across the country are very excited about this cocktail.
The history behind the Ve.n.to cocktail
The Vento cocktail is an hommage to Grappa and its home country Italy. A fine blend of spirit, honey, and chamomile. Its base is the traditional way of enhancing Grappa that is brought to life again with some modern twists.
Because the cocktail is brand new, there's no long history to look into. There are no old secrets, confusions, or funny stories to tell. But this also has its bright sides. We know exactly who invented it, how it came to its name, and what the creators think of it.
Supervised by the current president of the IBA, Giovanni Fadda, the Ve.n.to cocktail was created by Samuele Ambrosi, head of the mixology department at GrappaRevolution, and Leondardo Varesi, Founder and bartender at Riva Bar. And the Ve.n.to cocktail does not intend to be seen as the ultimate best way to enjoy Grappa. The goal was to showcase the spirit's versatility.
Reminded by the habits of their grandparents, Samuele and Leonardo developed a cocktail based on Grappa. Back then, people used to sweeten their Grappa with and local herbs. Samuele describes this concoction as "something similar to the Canchanchara or the Ti' Punch." A traditional mix of ingredients both wanted to bring to the modern Ve.n.to drink.
Why the Vento is spelled Ve.n.to
Besides its ingredients, the cocktail's name also stirs interest. While Vento would be a perfectly fine name, the creators integrated two extra dots in between. Vento in Italian means wind. "Something you can't touch, but that can unite all lands", Samuele describes the meaning of the cocktail.
The dots in the name emphasize the origin of the Grappa. They unite two of the most famous Grappa regions in one word. "Ve" stands for Venezia, or Venice as you probably know it. It's the capital of the Veneto region, and that explains the second part of the cocktail's name: the "Ve" together with the "n" refers to Veneto. And the last syllable, the "to" stands for Trentino Alto Adige.
A short introduction to Grappa
Now I want to talk a bit about the main ingredient of the cocktail. Grappa is an exciting and unique spirit from Italy. A traditional digestif or post-dinner drink. And also, as a matter of fact, it is a spirit made of leftovers from wine-making.
You might wonder how this can be? After all, Grappa is not known to be one of the cheaper spirits. So let's have a closer look at this and find out.
When making wine, the grapes are pressed thoroughly to get as much liquid out of them as possible. And what's then left in the press is called pomace. Pomace is the name for the solid remains of the grapes and can't be used to make wine. It includes stems, seeds, and stalks. And this traditional process is a perfect example of how not to waste ingredients. -A role model for the zero-waste movement, so-to-say.
The purpose of Grappa is to capture the essence of these leftover grape bits. And the result of this is a beautiful and intense spirit. Grappa is also more on the heavy side, usually ranging between 36% to 60% ABV.
The ingredients of the Ve.n.to cocktail
Grappa is not the only unusual ingredient in the Ve.n.to cocktail. Besides that, there's also chamomile liqueur and honey mix with a chamomile base. The problem with these two ingredients is, it's quite hard to get them at your local shops. So if you want to make the cocktail, you have to make at least one of the ingredients yourself.
The honey mix with chamomile is easy to make at home. As you might know from the combination with hot tea already, honey mixed with chamomile is a real treat. And so is the chamomile-based honey syrup. It's such a simple recipe to make. It just takes equal amounts of chamomile tea and honey to create this flavored honey syrup.
The chamomile liqueur is more complicated as it is not so easy to get. And what's even more interesting about that ingredient is that the IBA recipe translates it as "chamomile cordial". After checking with Samuele Ambrosi, he reassured me that it's really not cordial but a liqueur. In the Italian recipe, that liqueur is referred to as "Cordiale alla camomilla". I guess you can see where the misunderstanding has its roots.
Creating the honey syrup is fast and easy. The only thing you have to consider is that it has to cool down before you actually can use it. So it makes sense to prepare it the day before you want to use it for the Ve.n.to. cocktail.
- 1.5 oz Smooth white Grappa
- 0.75 oz Fresh lemon juice
- 0.5 oz Chamomile-based honey mix
- 0.5 oz Chamomile liqueur
- 1 Egg white
- White grapes and lemon peel (for garnish)
- Add all ingredients into your cocktail shaker without ice. Dry shake for 10-15 seconds.1.5 oz Smooth white Grappa, 0.75 oz Fresh lemon juice, 0.5 oz Chamomile-based honey mix, 0.5 oz Chamomile liqueur, 1 Egg white
- Open the shaker, add ice, and shake again until the cocktail is well-chilled.
- Strain the cocktail on ice into a coupe or Old Fashioned glass.
- Garnish with lemon peel and white grapes speared on a cocktail pick.White grapes and lemon peel