The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2016

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august 2016  /  the tasting panel  /  51 ingredients come from right outside the Bar Toscana walls. "I have a farmer's market botanist who comes and takes care of the plants outside the bar. We have a lavender plant that's blooming, and we have a rosemary plant that's just amazing. Sometimes we even feature our own lemongrass and kumquat." Another favorite of Perbellini's is the classic Italian bitter Fernet-Branca. He's found a unique use for it in his cocktails by using Fernet-Branca as a float or a substitution for Angostura bitters. Perbellini believes it offers a fuller flavor expression and a blast of aromatics to the nose in bitters-centric cocktails. "Fernet-Branca has a lot of common ingredients with Angostura bitters, so a lot of times I change a simple recipe and add two dashes of Fernet, making it more interesting and more flavorful," he says. One of his new favorites is a twist on The Last Word and Paper Plane cocktails. Perbellini's version is a shaken and double-strained mixture of bourbon, fresh lemon juice, Antica Formula and Fernet-Branca. "A little bit of vermouth, a little bit of bitter—it's simply amazing—flavors of chamomile, orange and vanilla. This is my new go-to," he says. Brancamenta, produced similarly to Fernet-Branca with added mint and a lower ABV, has also made an appearance on Perbellini's cocktail list in his take on the Mojito. "We've been doing a couple of barspoons on top with ginger, fresh mint and fresh cucumber. It's a really nice touch . . . and of course very good-looking." Perbellini can't get enough of how well the products in the Carpano vermouth portfolio pair with the pro- duce of Southern California. "We get to use the freshest ingredients in the world," he says. To create the perfect cocktail, Perbellini simply believes that "it's always better to use something that's available in nature." All About That Ice "I'm obsessed with ice," says William Perbellini, Bar Manager at Bar Toscana in Los Angeles. Gone are the days of the floating ice slivers on top of an improperly-shaken Martini. Perbellini has his own ice chainsaw. Yes, his own chainsaw. "I'm crazy about making my own cubes," he says. "I also have a nice sphere mold I got from New York. It takes about one day and a half. You get a perfect sphere." Bar Toscana prides itself on using the ideal ice cube for each of its hand-crafted drinks. Perbellini insists upon using multiple types of ice per cocktail—cubes designed specifically for shaking in cocktail tins so as to produce just the right amount of diluting and then, in the glass, a perfect square so that the cocktail stays cold but not further diluted. In particular, Perbellini has mastered the Carpano Bianco Spritz for those looking for a lighter refreshment. Bar Toscana makes all of its ice in-house, and they're very proud of each piece of perfectly frozen water. "The quality of it, the taste of it is important," Perbellini explains. "It will attract the flavors of the freezer." Because of that, Perbellini has each type of ice perfectly sealed in its own plastic covering to ensure its clarity and purity. "It's a live thing. The ice cubes are the bricks to build the house." His house is definitely one worth visiting. Aeroplano (twist on a Paper Plane) by William Perbellini, Bar Manager, Bar Toscana ◗ ¾ oz. Antica Formula sweet vermouth ◗ ¾ oz. Brancamenta ◗ ¾ oz. Templeton Rye Whiskey ◗ ¾ oz. lemon juice ◗ 2 dashes Old Fashioned bitters ◗ ¼ oz. simple syrup infused with sage Shake and double strain into coupette. Garnish: dehydrated blood orange, sage leaf. Carpano Bianco Spritz by William Perbellini, Bar Manager, Bar Toscana ◗ 2 oz. Carpano Bianco ◗ 1 oz. soda water ◗ 1 oz. tonic water ◗ 6 oz. Prosecco Brut ◗ Seasonal fruit ◗ Citrus zest ◗ Large ice cubes In a white wine glass, combine the ingredients; stir gently and garnish with seasonal fruit and citrus zest. At Bar Toscana in Brentwood, California, ice is crafted to match each cocktail specifically. PHOTO: LEO RIVAS PHOTO: LEO RIVAS PHOTO: LEO RIVAS

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