Tuscan spirits brands set sights on UK cocktail bars

VKA Organic Vodka and Peter in Florence

Spirits brands from Tuscany have been working together to build distribution in the UK, including a collaboration with Waeska bar at London’s Mandrake Hotel.

They include Peter in Florence, a London dry gin distilled in Tuscany almost exclusively with botanicals from the region, including juniper and iris petals. Imported into the UK by Strongwells, it was launched last year by bartender Stefano Cicalese, now master distiller, and can already be found in London bars such as Oriole and The Gibson.

Strongwells also imports Tuscany’s VKA Organic Vodka, launched in Italy four years ago and already gaining customers in the UK including Artesian, the Nightjar, The Gibson and the Connaught Bar.

The newest arrival from the region is Nunquam, a range of vermouths and liqueurs including an amaro, a bitter and a coffee liqueur, also imported by Strongwells.

The brands were showcased this month at Waeska bar at a guest shift by two bartenders from Florence: Edoardo Sandri from Atrium Bar at Four Seasons Firenze hotel and Robert Pavel at Fusion Bar & Restaurant at Gallery Hotel Art.

Serves created for the event included Negroni in Chianti which combined Peter in Florence Gin with Chianti infused with sage and lemon thyme plus Tuscany’s dessert wine, vin santo, and Nunquam Classic Bitter in place of Campari.

Another twist was a Tuscan Martinez, mixing Peter in Florence Gin with Nunquam sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur and an artichoke tincture. The Espresso Martini inspired Buon Giorno which combined VKA Organic Vodka with Nunquam coffee liqueur, Cantucci Cookies Syrup and orange blossom.

Waeska’s bar manager Walter Pintus said: “Tuscany is renowned worldwide for its unrivalled produce and flavours so when the opportunity to promote these top-quality spirits arose it was only fair for us to jump at it. At Waeska, we have a special focus on small-batch distillers and fine foraged ingredients that we source from all over the globe. We’re delighted to be working with such great producers and bartenders.”

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