Disaronno is creating a virtual journey taking in the world’s top cocktail destinations to meet the bartenders at the top of their game, and the latest stop is by far the most interactive yet
Disaronno’s The Mixing Star is a programme of many parts, all created to bring the global bartending community closer together with an ambitious series of events, documentaries and more.
At its heart is The Mixing Star Innovation Hunter, an international collection of videos featuring some of the world’s top bartending talent, not to mention cool bars and all the latest trends – and it’s about to get better.
In each city featured in the series, Disaronno enlists an Innovation Hunter, who explores the cutting edge of the local bar scene through interviews with bartenders, and spreads the word of Disaronno’s versatility and flavour as they go. In New York, for example, the Innovation Hunter stopped by Tanner Smith’s and Employees Only; in Athens, B/2 and Baba Au Rum.
London’s hunters paid a visit to Crucible, Three Sheets and Mr Fogg’s Residence. Their tour of Edinburgh took them to Panda & Sons.
The longest shift
Disaronno’s The Mixing Star aims to bring bartenders around the world together in various ways, both virtually and in person. Perhaps the most ambitious and far-reaching of all its activity was held earlier this year, on 19 April, the date on which bartenders celebrate National Amaretto Day.
On this day, now otherwise known as Disaronno Day, the brand created a global 24-hour shift by enlisting bars around the world, each starting at 7.30pm local time.
Guests at each bar had a choice of custom Disaronno drinks, including the Smoke and Salt Sour, incorporating chocolate protein, lemon juice and a coffee amaro foam, or the Kernel Mustard, which combined Disaronno with, among other ingredients, red wine and mustard liqueur.
Auckland went first, and as the shift travelled the time zones, more and more bartenders became involved, eventually encompassing hundreds of staff in over 20 countries. As it passed through the UK, The Gibson in London joined in, as did Panda & Sons in Edinburgh.
Finally, after everywhere from Seoul, Shanghai, Antwerp, Johannesburg, Barcelona, Buenos Aires and more had done their part serving Disaronno cocktails, Disaronno Day reached its final destination, Los Angeles.
Something to think about next time you believe you’re having a long shift.
Tokyo is the latest destination, with Theo Watt from Drink Magazine Asia acting as guide and Innovation Hunter. But for his interview with bartender Shingo Gokan, there’s a Black Mirror-style twist. Instead of a conventional documentary, this latest will be interactive, with viewers able to follow their own path through the story.
‘I decided to use this new technology after watching the ‘Bandersnatch’ episode of Black Mirror,’ says Simona Bianco, head of bartender community relations for Illva Saronno. ‘As in all the videos, my big question was how to let the users interact more with the bar. So let’s give them the freedom to choose.’
In the documentary, Gokan talks about how his bars are challenging the status quo in Japan, as well as finding a balance between tradition and innovation.
What’s next for Innovation Hunter? You’ll need to keep an eye on The Mixing Star site to find out, but we can reveal that the next location will also be in Asia.
In the flesh
For something a little less virtual, and even more interactive, Disaronno has created a series of events entitled Bar Tag, giving bartenders a chance to meet some of the global stars in the industry. Top bars around the world play host to these big names in the industry, and often end up taking a turn to host a guest in their bar too.
First, the guest bartender holds a Q&A and Disaronno masterclass. After that, they get behind the bar for a guest shift, presenting a signature Disaronno cocktail of their creation.
There are also The Mixing Star Bar Tag cards to collect, each featuring one of the guest bartender’s signature cocktails.
The series of events is well underway, with New York’s Dev Johnson hosted by Marian Beke at The Gibson in London in February this year for example, followed by Beke’s guest shift recently at Baccano in Rome.
Wherever you are, Disaronno’s The Mixing Star can bring you closer to the action, through local events like Bar Tag, international activity like The Longest Shift (see box, right) or a virtual tour of the globe with the brand’s Innovation Hunters.
Head to themixingstar.com or follow along on social media @themixingstar to follow the Innovation Hunters around the globe, get details of Disaronno’s Bar Tag events and more.