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How to Drink Italicus With Giuseppe Gallo

How to DRINK ITALICUS With Giuseppe Gallo

Is it possible to fulfill this brief: to create a brand that every single Italian, living in Italy or abroad, when they see the bottle and read the name, is going to make them proud? Our guest not only fulfilled his own brief, but also has the entire world drinking it.

Giuseppe Gallo is a drinks industry legend, from overseeing one of the hottest bars in London, to gathering awards as the Global Brand Ambassador of Martini, one of the most iconic brands in the world. 

Now he’s masterminded the creation of Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto from an historical Italian recipe that hadn’t been consumed for almost 100 years. 

Today I sit down with him to have a deep dive into what Italicus tastes like, how to use it to make incredible cocktails, and how he created a spirit that every Italian can be proud of.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • What rosolio is
  • What bergamotto is
  • How the iconic Italicus bottle came to be
  • How to make the Italicus Spritz – if you can’t wait the recipe is below!

Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Giuseppe. Just remember that I own the copyright in and to all content in and transcripts of Lush Life podcast, with all rights reserved, as well as my right of publicity. So if you want to use any of this, please email me!

This transcript is sponsored by:

Susan: I am so excited for you to be here because Italicus is one of my favorite spirits of all time and I’m not just saying that! I remember having it for the first time in a Sgroppino. I remember seeing Mia of Swift at Tales on Tour. She was doing a session on Aperitivi and she was saying, Sgroppino. I go to Venice a lot. I’ve been going since I’m a little girl and I hadn’t ever seen Sgroppino anywhere but Venice. So, of course, I ran to Swift and there was a little something different in this Sgroppino, and it was Italicus and that was my first introduction.

So I’m so excited to have you here, the person who invented Italicus with me, and I’d love to hear a little bit about how you got to the point where you even wanted to invent a new spirit or a new category.

Giuseppe: I would say, first of all, we should thank Mia Johansson who is one of the most predominant  mixologists in the industry, in the world, and the co-founder and the manager of the Swift bar in Soho. Their signature cocktail since they opened is the Sgroppino.

They basically personalized the classic Italian cocktail which used to be made with lemon sorbet, vodka and prosecco. The focus of the bar was Aperitivi and low ABV cocktails, and they made the cocktail with Italicus, a scoop of lemon sorbet and Prosecco.

Susan: That’s why it’s so good.

Giuseppe: It became, all of a sudden, one of the most trendy that I could imagine. Actually we started to get requests from other venues, from other bars, to implement this cocktail in their program. It’s what we call the new modern classic almost. So definitely a thank you to Mia who introduced Italicus to so many other people, but let’s go back to the creation of Italicus.

To start with, Italicus to me is not just the product. It’s not just a brand, Italicus, it’s more a philosophy, a way of living. The reason I decided to create a brand and call it Italicus, which means Italian in Latin. It was that I wanted to be the ambassador of “Made in Italy” around the world. “Made in Italy” – the message I want to bring around the world is not the Italy of pizza, mandolins and spaghetti, or La Dolce Vita. It’s a beautiful Italy of 50, 60, 70 years ago,  that my parents and my grandparents enjoyed.

Italy has been moving on from there for long time ago. So when I think about Italy today, I think about Italy of Ducati, of Ferrari, Armani, Agostino Perrone at the Connaught Bar or Massimo Bottura from Osteria Francescana. That’s the Italy I want to export around the world. And that’s the message that I want to get across with Italicus.

Susan: Yes. Well, before we go into Italicus, I want to hear about your relationship with Italy and how you even made your way over here to England.

Giuseppe: I always say that you start to appreciate your homeland when you leave, when you don’t have it any longer. I was lucky enough at a very early age to start to travel for work or for business. I’ve been always working for the last 20 years in the hospitality industry.  Around 2005, I was on the way back from the USA. I had spent one and a half years at the Montclair University in the US studying hospitality management and working there.

Because of the visa, the green card, I couldn’t stay longer. I had to go back to Italy. I was bored in Italy and didn’t know what to do. It was winter. I’m originally from the Amalfi Coast and it’s a beautiful place to be during the summer. During the winter, it can be a bit boring.

I said, you know what? I have so many friends. I had been already in London a few years earlier learning English. And I said, you know what? I’m going to go to London at least for a few months over the winter, then by April or May, I will go back to US. This was November 2005, and actually now 16 years later, a wife, two kids, and a mortgage and two companies, I don’t think are going to ever leave a London.

Actually when people ask me if I feel more Italian or more international, I feel like a Londoner, because literally Mayfair or Soho are almost my playgrounds. I can walk in every single bar or restaurant and know people by name and then also have friends who are actually working there.

Susan: Well, I know that people can Google your name and find out your whole history or listen to other podcasts where you have gone through every single step of how you got to where you did. And you were at the top of your game, your Global Brand Ambassador for Martini, one of the biggest brands in the world, why the interest in starting a spirit or leaving that role to become an entrepreneur?

Giuseppe: In my professional life, I want to innovate and to be creative. I loved Martini so much. The brand is still part of my life, a part of my family. And I’ll be, for the rest of my life, and am thankful to the brand, to the company that gave me a huge opportunity.

I mean, I was traveling the world and doing TV ads with George Clooney, Dolce & Gabbana and with Monica Bellucci. I’ve been touring the world with Formula One. I’ve been working alongside Jamie Oliver. I mean, I can go on and on and on about the opportunities that their brand, their company, gave me. I’m always going to bring them with me for the rest of my life.

But also you are limited with how you can decide your future when you’re working for a large company, which is normal. A large company, corporation, they need to have a set of rules, guidelines that you need to follow in order to control such a large amount of employees. But my aim was not just to fit in a box.

I’ve been always trying to think out of the box, in the technical meaning of the words. And the only way I could really think out of the box and dream big and be creative and innovate in our industry was to set up my own business and to launch my own spirits. And that’s how Italicus came into the game.

Susan: So when you wanted to start your own spirit, were you looking immediately for something completely new, a completely new category, or had you no idea what you wanted to do? Were you just doing research? How did you settle or decide upon rosolio as the category that you wanted to follow?

Giuseppe: Without knowing it back then, so five years ago, now I can say that I knew it, or I could dream exactly what I wanted to achieve in my brain, in my heart. I knew what I wanted to do. I didn’t know the way, I didn’t know the journey or the path to take, because obviously you cannot read the future, but I had a very clear vision, very clear idea, of what I wanted to get.

It was starting with what I mentioned early on. I wanted to communicate around the world, the modern and contemporary “Made in Italy,” not the old style and fashion of Italy. So how do I do that? I needed to come up with something which is really creative, innovating, and therefore I went for a category, which actually it didn’t exist. Or let’s say it disappeared for 80, 90 years, nobody had a clue what it was, a part from a few old Italians.

First of all, rosolio! because when I was doing all my research for vermouth for over 10 years working for Martini Rossi, I would always find rosolio here and there in historic cocktail books and all the libraries, all the museums I was going to and it started to really trick me.

I was asking myself, what is this rosolio? What’s going on? Why don’t I know anything? I started to ask around again and again and again, until I started to accumulate information books, documents that were talking about rosolio, and I found out how important it was for the Italian drinking culture back in 1600’s, 1700’s and 1800’s.

Then there was the flavor profile. There is a lots of brands of products today. They claim to be the exact recipe that used to be 200 years ago, right? I don’t believe a single word of that. We do not drink and we do not eat what people used to drink 200 years ago, we eat and we drink hundred times better than the people back then because of technology, the world has been moving on.

The initial intention was always how we’ll craft the liquid in a modern way. So I needed to find the kind of flavor profile based on historic recipe and category, like rosolio, that will be appealing for a modern consumer. I started to look at what the trends are. Usually the trends start with perfume.

And one of my favorite perfumes is Acqua di Gio by Armani. Now, if you read the back label, you will see that the main flavor is bergamot. Then another one which I really like it is Neroli Portofino by Tom Ford. You read the back label, it’s bergamot. Then Summer Capri by Dolce & Gabbana and you’re going to read the back label, it’s bergamot. Acqua di Parma – it’s Bergamot di Calabria and so on and so forth. I can go on and on and on  So I thought, “Hm. Very interesting. So like lots of perfume they using bergamot, citrus as their main essences.”

Susan: I know that scent, I know the flavor and my boyfriend is from Cyprus and they make sweets out of bergamot. So it’s something that I know of and love and love. But hold on before you go on, I just want to go back a little because I do find it quite ironic that to make something completely new, you’ve used something that has been an Italy history that just disappeared. So before we go onto Italicus, why don’t you tell us what rosolio is, when you were doing the research and, how you found out about it?

Giuseppe: I always like to say that knowledge is power and everything you want to create new or we want to innovate, it needs to be based on a very deep understanding of our past and our history. I truly believe that.

One of my favorite hobby is politics. And people ask why do you like politics? I like politics because it makes me understand why we doing or why we are like this today, because of the decisions made in the past. That’s why I love to study the past. Rosolio was one of the ways to study the past. Rosolio was the main category back in the first Renaissance, a second Renaissance in Italy, so 1500’s and 1600’s to be precise.

What is Rosolio? Rosolio is a word that comes from two different Latin words: Ros and solis which translated into  English means morning dew or the dew of the sun? Why? Because Rosolio was made in Italy by the monks in the beginning, and then by the local family in every village or region. They went up early in the morning to harvest leaves, barks, flowers, fruits, and then to infuse them with the water or alcohol to extract the flavor.

What is the main difference for Rosolio? From the words – ros solis, then to the Italian rosolio. Rosolio started to be very popular in Italy after the discovery of the Americas, because there was beginning to be an abundance of sugarcane arriving to Italy and to Europe.

So the monks used to make those little elixirs, mainly to use as a medicine. They were starting to add a little bit of this raw sugar arriving from America. Back then the sweetener was honey, It was not sugar. Sugar was available a little bit in Europe, but the main sweetener was just honey.

All of a sudden, in a few years, things changed because of all the abundance of ingredients   coming from America. They started to add the raw beet sugar into those elixir, the ros solis, diluting it with a bit of water, always very low in terms of ABV, and very pleasant in terms of drinking.

The whole thing became so popular during the second Renaissance in Italy. Actually one of the books that I had, says that Catarina di Medici, one of the greatest queen that Tuscany and Firenze had, future wife of the King of France on Saturday, she used to go to the beautiful basilic church in Firenze, Santa Maria Novella for the mass on Saturday, not Sunday. When she would leave, she was always offering a little glass of rosolio to all the people that had been attending the mass.

It was the way to say thank you, a way to welcome people. The first thing that her father, Lorenzo, the great Lorenzo di Medici, offered to her future husband, the King of France, was a little glass of rosolio when he arrived in Italy, in Firenze to ask for the hand of Catarina. These are true stories; you can still read them in books!

Susan: Talk about politics!

Giuseppe: Actually we brought this story to life in the cup of Italicus. If you see, the cap of Italicus is black and white striped. The black and white stripes are coming from the church of Santa Maria Novella in Firenze because of the story of Catherine.

Susan: Oh, I love that. I love that. Now, were there any special flavors that they loved?

Giuseppe: In Tuscany, the main flavor was juniper berries. Why? Because Tuscany is full of juniper berry trees. Now where the mistake or the misunderstanding is that rosolio, made in Piemonte, where the first King of Italy used to live, was made out of roses.. Roses were a really premium luxury treatment.

Even Cleopatra used to take a bath with the milk and roses, the water with the roses, the rose water. They used to make a rosolio for the king based on rose water. And therefore, lots of people still believe today that the word rosolio is coming from roses. That’s one of the biggest miscommunication and misunderstanding that you can find online nowadays. That’s what we’re trying to change with Italicus, of course.

Susan: So you’re doing all this research, you think, Ooh, this sounds like it could work. How did you decide that you wanted it to be bergamot?

Giuseppe: Oh, very simple. I went to the Artesian Bar and, back then, it was the number one cocktail bar in the world in 2013. Out of 10 cocktails, three were using bergamot. That is a no brainer. That’s what’s going to be the next big thing. Then I went to Sexy Fish restaurant in Berkeley Square, the newest opening in London in the last four or five years, and on the menu you find bergamot cheesecake. And then I said, I don’t need any more research. I don’t need to do consumer research. I don’t need it to work for an agency. I knew that things are going to get big and I want to be the first one to bring bergamot to the cocktail.

Susan: So you thought, it’s going to be bergamot. You went home. Did you know where to find them? How did you start distilling? How did the whole production process happen?

Giuseppe: Well, that is the difference between a dreamer and a businessperson. How to take an idea and bring to light, but that’s how I become an entrepreneur. It wasn’t easy. Obviously, I had to learn that path, or journey, while I was working. That means I had to find a distillery. I had to find an agency for the packaging design. I had to find funding. I had to find suppliers and so on, and for distribution, legal aspects, financial aspects.

So it was very, very complicated. It was not easy, but all that was fairly quick. I did everything in 10 months. As I said, I don’t like to spend too much time on a project. If things need to happen, they need to happen. You don’t want to wait too long, always I don’t like to stir the same soup for too long. At some point, I want to eat it. And the overall process started around November 2015 and September 1, 2016, we launched Italicus at Savoy hotel in London.

Susan: How long did it take you to find the right flavor profile? The exact bergamot flavor that you dreamed about in your head.

Giuseppe: It was not too complicated. I knew exactly how bergamot smelled. I knew that when I opened a bottle of Italicus, that’s what I wanted to smell. I need it to be bergamot, but I have to craft it in a way that would be appealing for more than a consumer. It had to be stable, in terms of liquid, and it had to be mixed in cocktails and bring something new.

I did ask a few bartenders, colleagues, to taste the liquid with me, and it took us literally three or four rounds to find the right recipe. We started with the five ingredients which were coming from the historic recipe of the rosolio di Torino, the one the King used to drink – roses, Roman chamomile, lavender, lemon balm and gentian roots. I found them in a book. We put everything together. We infused with alcohol and water, we put in the sugar, and guess what?

Susan: Horrible!

Giuseppe: Exactly! Yes, because it was a recipe of 140 years ago. Of course they were drinking sweet, and floral, but it was undrinkable for us. Of course it’s undrinkable because we don’t drink like that. Right? We started to work with a Master Distiller to find the right ratio and measure, in terms of ingredients and botanicals. And then, we needed find some bergamot.

I found a very good producer of bergamot from the Calabria region in Italy. They sent the essential oil and we added the oil and when we tasted it and instead of bergamot in your mouth, it was almost a limoncello style. We didn’t want a limoncello, heavy, sticky, syrupy. This one has to be for cocktails, it needed to be for cocktails. It had to be more elegant, more classy, not just frozen from the fridge.

We found a solution by adding the cedro fruit. The cedro is a giant lemon coming from Sicily. It’s all about skin where the essential oil is concentrated. There is no juice.  The PH of cedro is completely different compared to the bergamot. Bergamot is light, cedro is heavy.

We positioned the cedro as a bridge and then the bergamot on top. So when you open the bottle, we have this beautiful smell of bergamot which is coming as a top note. Then you still have this citrus flavor coming through because of the cedro that can sustain the recipe. Then you have all the peaks, the characteristics of the bitterness, flower, and roses.

Susan: It’s amazing. I mean, it smells divine and tastes divine. Now the bottle is so iconic. Did you always have that idea for the bottle?

Giuseppe: Not this one. I need to remove myself and give it to Stranger & Stranger. The agency has done all the work. I still remember I worked with Stranger & Stranger in my previous job.

I walked into their office. I’m having the first meeting with the CEO and the comms director. I arrive with no PowerPoint, not presentation, no file, nothing just with a fresh bergamot in my hand. And the fresh bergamot, I give it to them.

I say, “This is bergamot – this is what it looks like, this is what it smells like, and I want to create a brand Italicus, which is going to make every single Italian that lives in Italy, or outside Italy like myself, when they are going to look the bottle, when they’re going to read the name, they’re going to say that’s an Italian brand and you’ve got to make them proud. That’s it. That’s my brief.” And this is actually the first design they ever shared with me.

Susan: No way, the colors, everything is so beautiful. The gold, it’s so Italian . Now let’s talk about the liquid. Everyone tells you probably not to do this category. It’s so strange. What are you talking about? It’s not going to work, all those naysayers, who now you can laugh at . When you brought it out, did you ever believe the success of it would have? I mean, so quickly.

Giuseppe: With all honesty, with the best prospective, I mean, or my best hopes and wishes, Italicus, is also one of those brands, which I will say has been phenomenal. Italicus is the only brand ever in the history which won best new product at the Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, Best European Product in Berlin, Best New Product Italy, Best New Product in Spain, Portugal, and UK in the first 10 months since the launch. It never happened before, even  for some other great brands, which I think are even bigger than Italicus right now. It never happened before.

It makes you understand how the brand really took off, all of a sudden. It completely blew up Year One. Actually my main challenge, my main job was just to keep up with the work, with the demand for production. We try to distribute or try to get the brand out there.

Every single day for the first two years, there was a request from markets, a country, a region that want to buy the bottle. They want to buy Italicus. They won’t stop. So my job, it was all the opposite. Try to keep the focus on the brand. I tried to build the value, the education, the right step. So as they say, learn how to walk before we started to run.

Susan: Do you think it was just a flavor that people had not worked with before? What do you think? it was just a great liquid; I don’t know what I’m asking here. It filled a void, I guess people didn’t realize they wanted something so much until they tried it.

Giuseppe: Steve Jobs once said to a partner in 1974, people don’t know what they want until they actually know it exists. So first of all, you need to make sure that people know that you exist as a brand. Also my personal opinion or thoughts is that a successful story or brand, it’s never a one single reason. It’s always a combination of things. Usually majority of the challenge of tasks that you need to get right. And there are several of them.

First of all, Italicus and my story are probably is what most of the bartenders or on-trade people what they really want to do. They want to launch their own brand. They want their brand to represent their country and they want the brand to be successful and be recognized with that. At some point I started to be called, Mr. Italicus. That is exactly what you want for your brand. So for the on-trade, , it was this kind of belonging feeling –  that is exactly what I want to do next year or in two years or in the future or two, this is the project that I wish I could do.

I should have done it on two or three years ago or 10 years ago. So people felt a link with the project then too. Also I brought a new flavor profile into the game, into the arsenal for bartenders. I came with something completely unique, which is bergamot. And bartenders, pastry chefs,  creative people, they love something new, of course.

That’s exactly what the situation with  bergamot was and then there the whole history of rosolio. I didn’t hide my background in vermouth or Italian spirits expert. That’s my role into the cocktail world. I’m an expert on Italian liquors, on Italian spirits. Let me tell you something guys that you don’t know yet.

That’s what they love, the whole story about rosolio. Because their question, the first question is, are there any other rosolios? No. No. Why are there no other rosolios, because everybody’s got to make another gin. Why? Because that’s the new trend. Don’t ask me, ask them. Now you see gin with a bergamot flavor. So, very interesting.

Susan: Right. I was going to say in five years, you’ll see a rose one, a juniper one, a whole slew of other rosolios. But now the on-trade obviously was going to love it. They were always going to give you a chance. They know you. You’re part of their family. You’ve been part of their family for 20 years.

I was wondering, when you were creating Italicus, were you thinking also about serves, or how the home bartender could fall in love with it and use it and not be intimidated by this new flavor, this new category?

Giuseppe: First of all, nobody ever should be intimidated to make a cocktail at all. We should learn from America, which is the only real country in the world where people are making and drinking cocktails. It’s about having fun, about having a good time with your friends, with your wife or with your husband or with your relatives or whomever it is.

Just enjoy yourself. Making cocktails is not a scientific strategy. It’s something that needs to come naturally. Okay. You just need to have a little bit of common sense. Everybody can make a cocktail. That’s the rule number one. Number two, when you develop a new liquid or new brand, the most important part is to think about it how your liquid is going to be drunk. 

That’s one of the main mistakes from a lot of brands and products. They think about the product neat, just the liquid on its own, It has to be good. You need to understand that when it’s going to be mixed, you’re going to add 20% to 30% of water and then probably ice is going to add 50%.

Then you’re going to add a dash of bitters, or a dash of syrup, or a dash of tonic, or soda. What will be the final taste profile because that’s what the consumer is going to enjoy. It all is exactly what I did with Italicus. I never thought about the liquid just on its own. We made the liquid so it could be drunk also on its own from the fridge, but that’s not the main purpose.

The main purpose is that it will be mixed in cocktails. I did what I call the taste of nine – you need to share the liquid with your wife, and they’re never likely to try to be politically correct. She was always very straightforward in terms of feedback.

We tasted with long drinks, which are the most complicated. It’s much easier to blend or mix or hide your ingredients in a complex cocktail with another five ingredients. Much more difficult if you mix with just one more thing, because the liquid has got to be good.

I was trying Italicus with tonic, with soda and actually my favorite way still to drink to Italicus is with an IPA beer, almost like a Shandy. It’s like literally an IPA beer with a splash, double shot of it.

Susan: Yeah. The most sophisticated Shandy ever!

Giuseppe: That’s my wife’s cocktail, it’s not even mine. We were in a pub. We were sitting, five years ago, and I had all these little samples and she said why don’t you try with some beer. I’m Italian and I love bitter beer. I love IPA. She literally took one little shot. She put it in my IPA. I got upset and asked her why she ruined my beer. Then I started to drink it and thought this is not bad at all. Then we ordered another one and thought, Ooh, that’s something good in there. So what did we call it? The IPAlicus.

Susan: The IPAlicus. I’ve got to try it. So since we’re talking about cocktails, because bergamot is a citrus, it seems to lend itself to summer cocktails. I was wondering if you were thinking about it in the winter too, any winter cocktails that you think it could work with?

Giuseppe: Absolutely. First of all, the one thing that needs to be disclosed about bergamot. Bergamot is a winter citrus. Bergamot is the truffle of citrus. So the harvesting period is between December and January. That’s at the peak of the flavor. The bergamot, already in February, very difficult to find a fresh bergamot.

In winter, you can play with a lot of different cocktails. It works very well with sherry and fortified wine. It works very well with white wine, but also you can make some nice refreshing mulled wine cocktails with the white wine. It works very well with a fresh squeezed orange juice, grapefruit juice. So all juice that you can make fresh during the winter when it’s the peak season and then you can mix with them

It works very well with coconut water. So many combinations that you can do with Italicus. So there are winter cocktails. In 2019, it looks like long time ago, we did some winter activations in Courmayeur and in the French Alps with warm cocktails with Italicus. It was one of the most successful activations we ever did.

Even I was surprised because you would think more spring, summer but it actually works in the winter as well.

Susan: Even though I know that citrus is technically grown in the winter, I guess because of the Gin and Tonics and adding lime and lemons and all of that, in the mojitos of this world, it’s become something summery. Now I know that if I’m going to beach. I’m going to grab myself a coconut and a bottle of Italicus and just pour it right in.

Giuseppe: I didn’t believe it at the beginning when they told me coconut water, then I saw on the flavor profile of bergamot, it says that actually coconut is one of the closest flavor profiles because coconut also brings some tannins and actually they match very well. And actually Luca was making this cocktail with a dry sherry, Italicus and sparkling coconut water. Kind of like a tropical gin and tonic.

Susan: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Sounds great. Now you’ve already given me such a great top tip for the home bartender, which is dive right in. But if there was some other tip that you had, when people have just bought that bottle of Italicus, what would that be?

Giuseppe: Keep it in the fridge rule. Number 1, it doesn’t have an expiration date, but keep it in the fridge. Cold is much better. Number 2, when you first taste Italicus, make sure that when you open the bottle, first of all, smell the bottle, make sure that you get all the flavor of the citrus coming through your nose, because it’s true that we taste with our mouth, but we give it the input to our brain with our nose.

So it’s important that you smell the bergamot. When you open, you can taste it neat. No problem, from the fridge, otherwise first thing, taste it on the rocks. I must say taste Italicus over ice on the rocks and use three green olives as a garnish. So you have that salty and citrus, so it reminds you that aperitif from Italy.

Three olives here, So one olives, one sip, second olive, second sip, third olive, third sip, and that’s the way you have the full experience of it.

Susan: I love that you said that because when I try and tell people that I want to spritz, no matter what it is, with an olive in it, they look at me as if I am crazy. And actually I think that the same thing at Tales on Tour. I remember hearing someone talking about a spritz and saying olives, and I was like thank you. Thank you. Because you have that salty and kind of sweetish thing happening. Fantastic. So now you just have to answer one more question, which I always ask, which is if you could be drinking anything anywhere right now, where would that be and what would you be having?

Giuseppe: I love to have a nice, beautiful, cold, dry Connaught Martini with Agostino Perrone in Mayfair with a few splashes of Italicus. A nice cold pour of the Connaught Dry Gin in my little coupette they always have behind the bar, and just looking at that beautiful shelf at that beautiful bar and the staff that are moving almost like an orchestra. That would be my dream right now. After one year I have not been in a bar.

Susan: Oh, no, I understand. I love it there too. And I’m going to be there too. Well, thank you so much. It was so great to have you and I can’t wait to open my bottle of Italicus again and thank you for your time.

Giuseppe: My pleasure. Thank you very much for inviting me, Susan. Of course,

Susan: A big grazie to Giuseppe for being on the show. Just remember olives in a spritz works really well. If you don’t trust you Giuseppe and me then try it for yourself. In our cocktail of the week!

As the clocks have turned back in the USA and Europe, we have an extra hour to enjoy our cocktail of the week. The Italicus Spritz, fill a wine glass with ice and add 50 ml of Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto. Then top it up with 50 ml of Prosecco, stir gently, then add three green olives or like Giuseppe suggested put one olive in your mouth and take a sip and then repeat it two more times.

It’s funny during our chat, I couldn’t help, but remembering the old 1970s commercial for Ragu. It’s a bottle tomato, pasta sauce, and it had a catchphrase “That’s Italian.” For anyone, not from an Italian background, this Ragu tomato sauce was our first introduction to Italian cooking. Then came Marcella Hazan, and the espresso and the classic Italian cookbook.

And it changed everything. Thank goodness. But you can still check out that original commercial on YouTube.

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Here is the recipe for the Italicus Spritz!

Italicus Spritz

Italicus Spritz


  • 50ml Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
  • Prosecco
  • 3 green olives


  1. Add the italicus to a wine glass filled with ice
  2. Top up with the Prosecco
  3. Garnish with the three olives

Made this cocktail?

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