For many drink connois-seurs, having a cocktail at such historic and legendary bar like Camparino in Galleria in Milan would be one of the quests to be crossed off the bucket list. Well, some Bangkok drinkers were in lucky as some drinks from Milan were being served exclusively the head bartender himself at Camparino Takeover event at Vesper, along with his insights into the cocktail trend and how to stay relevant in the fast-changing world.
With 107 years of history behind it, Camparino in Galleria has now consolidated its position as an establishment that is synonymous with the Milanese aperitivo and innovative mixology at a global level, and that is far more than its refined cocktails and sophisticated atmosphere: a legacy that is intrinsically entwined with the soul of the city of Milan. And since its major facelift in 2019, the bar has also become a worldwide pioneer for innovative mixology and went on to be awarded no.27 on World’s 50 Best Bars 2021 list.
“Do you know what’s the best part of working at Camparino?” asked Tommaso Cecca, current Store Manager and Head Bartender of the historic venue, while stirring what looked like a Negroni at the bar of Bangkok’s very own Asia’s 50 Best Bar awardee. “It’s the opportunity to meet people from around the world and work with some of the most talented, most dedicated people in the industry. And I never get tired of the view of the Duomo di Milano!
Hails from Bari, a port city by the Adriatic Sea in Italy, 38-year-old Tommaso sharpened his bartending skills in major European cities including London for several years, before landing a dream job at Camparino where he leads the dynamic, international team behind the bar. He was in the capital briefly to host the first Camparino Masterclass in Thailand to talk about his crafts and the journey of Camparino.
“And do you know what makes a good bartender?” he said, almost rhetorically. “For me personally, it’s a combination of a good palate to detect good tastes, a good brain to decide what good tastes should go together, a good execution because obviously you have to make it happen, and lastly a good heart. If you don’t have a good heart, you can’t work with other people and you do not stay true to your customers, you can kiss your career goodbye.”
Disciplined, sharp and precise, Tommaso also cited creativity and modifiability as one success factor. “We changed the ambient music, and launched more visually appealing cocktails, using red and bright colors more than just brown like it has always been to attract younger crowd, and the same time keep the classic simplicity that appeals to our old customers. Our team is now a good mix of young and older people from many countries around the world. You have to find that balance and work around it with the customer at the heart of everything.
Tommaso proved his point with the drinks he selected for the event, including Cask Daisy with Campari Cask Take and Wild Turkey Rye Whiskey, L’Aperitivo with absinth, Avion de Papel with mezcal, where guests were reminded of the old, and at the same time mesmerized by the refreshing new added to invigorate and inspire.