Simon Difford reviews The Disaronno Mixing Star Project

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Simon Difford of Difford’s Guide on this year’s Disaronno Mixing Star Project

Disaronno’s Mixing Star project has concluded for another year revealing the 45 Mixing Stars to emerge from the hundreds of bartenders who attended seminars held across nine countries.

The Mixing Star project kicked off back in the spring with bartenders applying to attend master classes conducted by Disaronno’s ambassadors. These convivial seminars mixed education, fun, and ultimately friendly rivalry as those present were invited to create cocktails on the spot using a limited selection of ingredients. The best to emerge from these seminars were invited to join the Mixing Star project by submitting their own signature cocktail using Disaronno and complying to one of the five great mixing styles: Classic, Tiki, Molecular, Batched and Contemporary/fun. I was then tasked with making all 150 recipes to select the 45 (five per country) to be photographed for inclusion in this year’s Mixing Star book.

Months before judging Mixing Star I had been considering what recipe I’d enter and so started to experiment. Thanks to Jeffrey Morgenthaler, we all know how well Disaronno works in a Whiskey Sour so it seemed obvious the liqueur would suit an Old Fashioned – after all that’s basically what the classic Godfather is – only without the bitters. Hence, I played around with several riffs on the theme and published the results on Difford’s Guide.

Looking through the 150 recipes I received from nine countries it quickly became clear that when it comes to mixing with Disaronno, great minds think alike. A large proportion of the recipes submitted used one whisk(e)y or another as the base spirit, many in Old Fashioned style cocktails. Even many of the molecular entries were near classic Godfathers/Old Fashioneds crowned with some form of flavoured foam head or other molecular twist/addition.

Given that tiki was specified as a category for entries, it’s not surprising that rum also featured heavily, and like whisk(e)y, rum combines brilliantly with Disaronno. But more telling was how many used the lightly spicy character of arrack rum, and how well this worked. Indeed, spices in general also proved popular. So perhaps the ultimate Mixing Star cocktail would be a ‘Spiced Disaronno Rum Old Fashioned Godfather’ with a hint of arrack?

My sincere thanks to all participants who took part in this year’s Mixing Star and submitted recipes. I’ve learnt a great deal making them all.

I’ll be at Bar Convent Berlin where copies of The Mixing Star Guide, resplendent with beautiful photographs of all 45 cocktails, will be available in limited quantities. Please come to the stand to experience some of the Disaronno cocktails from the book prepared personally by their own creators – the Mixing Stars.

For older stories on the Disaronno Mixing Star Project, click here.

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