Riccardo Rossi: Freni e Frizioni (Rome)

Riccardo Rossi is the Bar Manager at Freni e Frizioni in Rome. He makes us two cocktails, one with Rye Whisky and Maraschino and the second with Pisco and Chamomile.

Riccardo introduce yourself
My name is Riccardo Rossi, I am 34 years old and I am the bar manager and one of the co-owners of Freni e Frizioni where I work now for nearly 6 years. I started in London in 2008 during 5 years from barback to bar manager in dive bars and clubs too. I also remember that I was mixing drinks for the 25th anniversary of my parents, much before I started to work behind a bar. When I came back to Rome I worked post-production for movies. But I was still doing 2 or 3 shift per week at night at Frenie e Frizioni. But after one year, I understood that my passion was for my night job. Then Freni e Frizioni offered me a position to help Cristian and I replaced him when he left to La Punta and I got my shares in the Freni e Frizioni group at the same time.

The classic you want to show us
Brooklyn
60ml of Bulleit Rye Whiskey
30ml of Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
7.5ml of Picon Amer
7.5ml of Maraschino Liqueur

The bar you dream of
Frenie e Frizioni is kind of my style. High volume bar, that keeps you always busy, with at the same time quality drinks. We have a mix of customers with locals and tourists, old and young people, rich and not, all kind of people: I like that diversity. But now that I am older, I need to find the right balance between fun and quite without getting bored. So my dream bar would be in London, my favourite city in the world where I left my heart, probably in Stoke Newington. It would be a classic casual bar, without too many seats, so enough time to take care of your customers; like 30-40 people max. Second hands furniture for the design, with Italian food to nibble and rock music to listen.

What do you do in your time off
I do Sanda at Otsuka Club, Chinese kickboxing, or I spend much of my free time with my English Bulldog, Fonzie as in Happy Days. On Saturday I play football with other bartenders. If I have more time, I travel mostly in South America. Otherwise, I just need to stop running all the time and chill.

The spirit you like the most
I like gin because of its versatility. You can make sours, dry cocktails or sweet and of course gin tonics, the bartender choice. I like London Dry Gin and I am a kind of brand ambassador for 43°12°, an Italian London Dry Style. As a bigger international brand, I like Sipsmith Gin. Even if now I am more and more on Pisco. I do a lot of masterclasses and I’ll be back to Peru this year to work in a distillery. That’s why my signature cocktail for you we’ll be with Pisco.

What makes a good cocktail
Bartenders should know what they put in the drink. You have to know your products. Not all the rums are the same for instance. It’s not because you know that label, that it’s the right one to use in your cocktail: flavour first. And right now the market is so open, you can find everything for a good price. Then balance. I can taste a cocktail which is not my taste, but I can see it’s well made or not because of the balance. In the end, it’s the touch of the bartender. You ask a cocktail to 3 bartenders, it will taste different.

What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
My favourite ingredient is vermouth, especially sweet vermouth because I can use it for low ABV or in a stronger one like a Manhattan.

The signature cocktail you want to show us
Martin Mystère
60ml of La Caravedo Pisco
30ml of Lime Juice
20ml of Camomille Syrup
15ml of Egg White
Float of Chicha Morada

Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
Here in Rome, go to visit our brother Drink Kong, they just opened, and for sure La Punta. In Italy, go toThe Mad Dog Social Club, the other bar we have in Turin. In the South in Lecce go to Quanto Basta. In London go to Dandelyan to see Veronica and the team.

Thank you to Blue Blazer for inviting us to Rome and making this interview possible.

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