Julian Biondi is the founder of Seeds in Florence. He makes us two cocktails, one with Gin and Herbal Infusion and the second with Vodka and Lillet Blanc.
Julian introduce yourself
I am born in 1988, and raised in the beautiful hills of Florence, which I consider one of the best environments to grow and live in, for countless reasons. Due to this, I’ve never planned to move abroad for work, and I always tried (and keep trying) to see my professional life grow with me, in my hometown. I started bartending during my university studies in “Media & Journalism”, and it soon became clear to me that I wanted to keep my feet in both shoes, “linking the dots” between bartending and journalism. In late 2016, while I was bar manager at Caffè Florian of Firenze, I started to write for Bargiornale, the most important bar magazine in Italy, a collab which is still ongoing and growing. After several experiences, at the end of 2017, I became the Soul and Spirit of MAD-Souls &S spirits, a loud and irreverent street bar that soon became appreciated all over the country. In June 2019, I temporarily left my work behind the bar and started my consulting agency, BarOmeter. In January 2022, together with two fellow friends, we opened Fermenthinks, a distillery which creates craft private labels of Gin and liquors. It was in 2019 when I and my wife Anastasia (who, after art history studies, started 10 years ago her career in Hospitality, especially in luxury venues) started planning the idea of “Seeds”. The idea is simple but big, just like a Seeds (a small piece of Nature which can grow into something very big). We wanted to have a bar which has the lower impact possible on our planet. We know sustainability is a term too often used (and abused) recently, but we like to apply it in what we do: this took us to a bar in which we use only local, biological and seasonal products, we self-produce a good part of our spirits and liquors, we don’t use any fruit or vegs coming from abroad, we compost, we select each brand we have behind the bar according to the engagement they have towards our planet, we have a menu which is 90% vegetarian, and we think about every action we do, and think how we can do it better for our planet. In one sentence, the idea is “Love Local, Think Global”
We decided to be a Pop Up bar because we think that our “content” can be moved in different containers, and our philosophy needs to be spread more than we can. So, we want to “plant as many seeds as possible”.
The classic you want to show us
40ml of Michter’s Bourbon
20ml of Michter’s Rye Whiskey
10ml of Cypress Honey Water
3 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
1 dash of Olive Black Brine Bitters
The bar you dream of
Honestly, I dream to plant many Seeds worldwide. This means that I would have to apply our ideal to different environments, different products and suppliers, and different cultures. I am an idealist, so the idea of making something good for me and also good for our future is the best that I can dream of.
What do you do in your time off
the best way I spend my time off is sitting on a couch with my dog aside, my wife in the same room, a nice dram of something in a glass, and a book.
The spirit you like the most
Rum, Rhum and Ron. Call it as you want, but that’s the right spirit! With all its spectrum of flavour, variety of ageings and tastes, it’s the best spirit to work with.
What makes a good cocktail
40% of the recipe, follows some simple rules of ratios written 150 years ago. 60% the environment (the bartender, the location, the servers, the music and the soul of the place).
What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
I like to have boundaries. I feel difficult when I have too many ingredients and bottles, it’s always been like this. I have big problems entering a bookshop because there’s too much going on there. So, I enjoy using very few ingredients, with the best quality I can get. I like to find different kinds of acidities, and vinegar gives different shades in that way, so I use a lot of shrubs. Plus, if used with fresh seasonal fruit, it exalts the flavour and at the same time reduces the perception of sweetness and stimulates salivation, giving a refreshing and cleansing result to the mouth
The signature cocktail you want to show us
40ml of Ketchup with Shitake from Circular Farm and Habanero with Peperita Medlars
15ml of Lemon Juice
40ml of Seeds Vodka
90ml of Tomato Juice
Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
I think now Bologna is the most growing city in Italy. I’ve had a bar tour there and had a lot of fun and found a great mood in the industry professionals I’ve met. My pal Davide Paita from Ruggine is kicking asses for 10 years, developing the street bar concept in many ways. But you need to go to Volare and Velluto too. Depero in Rieti is a bar I didn’t expect. Luca Bruni, the head bartender has a nerdy-genius mind and he works in a place in which you have FUN, with the food, with the drinks and with the vibes. Delicatessen in Moscow of Slava Lankin and Chainaya, still in Moscow. I know they have been famous back in the day and they still are famous now in their country. To me, they represent the ideal of the bar at its best. Delicatessen is a craft cocktail pub in which everything you eat or drink it’s at its best. Chainaya is the place I would go if I want to lose control of time and space, drinking tea, and manhattans, smoking opium and eating great chine food (they don’t sell opium, but they definitely should!)
Thank you Florence Cocktail Week for making it happens