Martini’s Davide Zanardo on London bartending and the rise of the aperitivo

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Location: Europe

Fresh from his appointment as Martini’s Northern Europe ambassador, Davide Zanardo sat down with Imbibe to discuss how his time in London bars will shape his tenure as he pushes the aperitivo


How will you capitalise on your London bartending experience in your new role? 

Working in London, which put me at the front line of such a world class cocktail culture, allowed me to watch first-hand how trends grow. Currently there’s a very strong buzz around ‘aperitivo’ – that moment after work when you’ve had a long day, a bit of food, great drinks and great friends. This moment is what Martini is all about: playing with time.

What lessons will you apply?

My three years as a manager at Chiltern Fire House – one of the most iconic restaurants and bars in London and the world – definitely taught me a lot. It’s about communication, working as a team, and delivering something memorable that people want to come back for. This new job gives me a unique opportunity to work more closely with people who are already my great friends, so I couldn’t be happier.

How do you plan on getting the trade excited about Martini?

Get them to taste it. That’s usually all it takes.

We do have some amazing activations happening all around Europe that showcase it beautifully: Caffè Torino by Martini is one of them – a vibrant, modern aperitivo bar that celebrates our Martini Riserva Speciale range through beautiful classic Italian cocktails and top quality Italian food. It’s just a great place to be: celebrating the best in Italian food, drink and hospitality and the vibrant aperitivo moment – what’s not to like? You’ll be seeing these pop up all over Europe throughout the year.

What’s the first thing you’d like to tackle in your new role?

Educating on the joys of drinking vermouth, getting more people to understand this category. How it’s such a fundamental ingredient in every bartender’s toolkit in terms of the sheer number of drinks that use it. Vermouth is experiencing an amazing trend right now and I have so much to say about this. And I think there is a huge interest now both within the trade and with consumers.

What do you think will be the biggest challenge in the new role? 

For me it’s about raising awareness in the category – how to use it, how to enjoy it, how to store it and the occasions when you can drink it. Helping bartenders communicate the vermouth category to consumers is today’s challenge, but the reward is always huge because once introduced, they never look back…

What do you think will be the most rewarding? 

We are building a future generation of vermouth advocates which is so exciting. I am looking forward to meeting a huge amount of new people across cultures and countries who all have a shared affinity for the category, discovering different trends from different locations across Northern Europe and connecting them to make the world a smaller place.

If you can achieve one thing in your tenure, what would it be?

Having more and more bars celebrating the aperitivo moment. It feels like there is a tiny revolution happening in terms of how guests want to drink and celebrate together, and Martini is right at the heart of this. It’s not often in life you get to be right in the centre of a culture shift, but that feels like right where I am now.

About Author

Holly Motion

Holly is the newest addition to Imbibe team. With just over three years’ global drinks writing experience, the UK on-trade now has her undivided attention. She's partial to a Bramble or a peated whisky, and says the list of wine favourites is far too long to list. She's in the right place.

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