Home Alone, Friends, The Spice Girls, Space Jam, Sex and the City, Harry Potter, Google… the 1990s gave us so much. As for the cocktails… from bright colours to modern classics it was the start of the craft cocktail movement. And for one bartender it will be the start of incredible journey.
While many of today’s bartenders may not have been born back in the 1990s, or if they had, the chances are they were pretty young, it’s a decade that’s getting talked about more and more. And it’s also a decade definitely worth exploring. Why? Because for one UK bartender it will mean the chance to head to Italy for a unique experience with Amaro Montenegro. Moreover, it could even take them to Bar Convent Brooklyn in New York City next Summer. Here’s how…
Amaro Montenegro – a unique experience
Amaro Montenegro may have been around since 1885 but it’s timeless. The product of 40 botanicals from four continents and an intricate process of boiling, maceration and distillation, it results in 12 essences which are blended to become six aromatic notes. And finally comes the addition of Il Premio (“prize” in Italian) the seventh tasting note.
The result is a unique liquid in an iconic bottle. A classic which never goes out of style, its been enjoyed by countless discerning drinkers for close on 140 years and a source of inspiration to generations of bartenders. Which brings us to…
The Vero Bartender – a unique opportunity
As a timeless classic Amaro Montenegro is a part of cocktail history, reimagining drinks today and inspiring the future. Travelling, as it were, across time and celebrated in The Vero Bartender, now in its seventh edition. “Vero” comes from the Italian, meaning “True” and in the true spirit of timelessness of Amaro Montenegro each edition of The Vero Bartender sets a challenge inspired by the past or looking to the future.
Hence “90s calling”, the exciting theme of this year’s edition.
The Nineties… in a glass
The Nineties was an incredible decade, sometimes even referred to as The Last Great Decade. From technology to culture it set the tone for the next century.
As for cocktails, it’s considered the start of the craft cocktail movement. Driven by the likes of Dick Bradsell in the UK and Dale De Groff in the US, cocktails began to evolve. Fresh ingredients became essential, martini glasses were everywhere and, perhaps most importantly of all, the decade saw the birth of some modern classics.
The Espresso Martini, Anejo Highball, Breakfast Martini, Raspberry Collins, Cable Car, Whiskey Smash and, of course, the Cosmopolitan. Drinks that are still enjoyed and constantly reimagined today.
Bartenders, get inspired by the 90’s and you could be off to Italy or even the Bar Convent Brooklyn in New York City…
The starting point for entry into The Vero Bartender competition should be the iconic drinks of that decade that are classics today. But it’s much more than an exercise in nostalgia. From creating your nineties-inspired cocktail to serving it, it’s about taking the retro world then revisiting, elevating and reinterpreting it with Amaro Montenegro at its heart. And for the UK finalists it will mean presenting it at a top London bar in February next year. (Entries are open now until 27th November.)
Eyes on the prize
For the winning UK bartender it will mean an exclusive week long residency in Italy during April next year. Here they will get to meet with fellow bartenders from 10 other countries; Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland and USA. Together they will be inspired by masterclasses from industry experts (previous years have included Alex Kratena, Salvatore Calabrese and Peter Dorelli) and immersed in the inspiring world of Amaro Montenegro.
The highlight, of course, will be The Vero Bartender Global Final itself. Competing against their peers bartenders will be setting out to impress four internationally respected judges with their presentations and cocktails inspired by the 1990s. With the lucky winner taking the title of The Vero Bartender 2024.
And with the title comes an incredible €6000 educational trip to Bar Convent Brooklyn 2024 in New York City. This will be a unique opportunity for The Vero Bartender winner to visit one of the industry’s most important conventions and to experience the city’s unique cocktail culture. The Global Final winner will also travel with Amaro Montenegro throughout the year for special events, exclusive masterclasses and unique guest shifts.
Start your journey
So bartenders, it’s time to start your journey. For full details of the competition and how to enter, your first stop needs to be theverobartender.com.
Then it’s time to get inspired by the “90s calling” theme and the incredible culture and classic cocktails of that amazing decade. And to take a deep dive into the very special world of Amaro Montenegro. Who knows where your journey may lead you?
Masterclasses and takeovers
Amaro Montenegro Masterclass. Discover Amaro Montenegro and all about the competition The Vero Bartender, with Rudi Carraro, Global Brand Ambassador, and Mia Kumari, Vero Bartender UK 2022.
1.00 pm – 4.00pm, Tuesday, 14th November
The Pine Bar, Biltmore Mayfair, 44 Grosvenor Square, London, W1K 2HP
Amaro Montenegro Takeover at Mama Funki Bar. Savour amazing Amaro Montenegro cocktails with Rudi Carraro, Global Brand Ambassador, and Davide Leanza.
From 7.00pm, Wednesday, 15th November
Mama Funki Bar, Camberwell, 29-33 Camberwell Church St, London SE5 8TR
For full details of how to enter The Vero Bartender 2024 see: theverobartender.com
For more information on Amaro Montenegro visit: amaromontenegro.com
UK entries close 27th November 2023
The UK Final takes place 26th February in London and the Global Final will be 10th April in Italy
Read about the highlights from the UK Final 2022