Virginie Doucet is Bartender at Floreal in Florence. She makes us two cocktails, one with Rum and Pimento Dram and the second with Tequila and Chinotto Nero.
Virginie introduce yourself
My name Virginie Doucet, I am 29 years old and I am from Brittany in France. When I was 23 I met a bartender who I fell in love with him and his job. I moved to Corsica for three years where I worked as a bartender and three years ago I moved to Florence and worked in various bars. Last year I won the Strega liqueur competition for Italy. I began working in Floreal for a few months ago when they opened at the end of June. It’s a new bar with Antonio Romano, Daniele Ariani and Simone Cagialeone and Edoardo Tilli (a famous Tuscan) chef works with us. We have just launched a new menu which pairs cocktails with all the food on offer, so the kitchen and bar teams work even closer together.
The classic you want to show us
45ml of Bumbu Spiced Rum
30ml of Cinzano 1757
30ml of Campari
15ml of Pimento Dram
3 Dashes of Cacao Bitters
The bar you dream of
It would be a small speakeasy-style bar, for 30 people with a roaring twenties ambience, design and dress for the staff, but playing techno music all night long. The cocktails would be classics and of course, we’d serve champagne.
What do you do in your time off
I am studying to get my driving licence right now so that keeps me busy, otherwise, I read about spirits and cocktails. I try not to let bartending consume all my spare time, as you need to relax and spend quality moments with your friends. I also love going to the cinema or simply wandering around Tuscany.
The spirit you like the most
A few months ago I would have said gin, but recently especially working at Floreal, I would say liqueurs like Chartreuse, because just a barspoon can completely change the taste of a cocktail. Especially when they are based on grass, like Strega for instance. And I also like the fact that most of the liqueurs have fascinating histories.
What makes a good cocktail
Empathy and feeling. You can have good techniques, but you need a connection with the client to understand what they want, so you can match their desire to a drink. Maybe it’s because I am a romantic, but it’s very important for me.
What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
Because I love herbs and flowers, I work with my nose so fragrance is important. I spray a lot of scents on my cocktails, like absinthe or lavender, spices, anything that can be sprayed. For instance, I love a French 75 when you spray it, people look at it differently. It’s a kind of magic.
The signature cocktail you want to show us
45ml of Don Julio Blanca Tequila
30ml of Lemon Juice
1 Drop of Simple Syrup
15ml of Muyu Chinotto Nero
15ml of Egg White
Top with Campari Soda
Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
You should go to visit Sacha Mecocci at the Fusion Bar in Florence because he’s a great guy who is technical and elegant at the same time, but also very humble. In Ceresio 7, Milan, talk to Guglielmo Miriello to experience hospitality like nowhere else and the venue is beautiful. Also in Milan, visit Cosimo Tarducci a former colleague, who is now at Mag Cafè and Backdoor 43. Otherwise in Kyiv, Ashot Galstian from Diktat which is such a nice bar.
Thank you to Florence Cocktail Week for inviting us to Florence and allowing us to experience all your wonderful bars.