Ago Perrone talks The Connaught, & their Galliano tour of Australia

Christmas is a time for giving and it’s time to reveal who’s first on the list for The Blends of the World 2020 as our partners we are flying in!

February launches the first event for The Blends of the World 2020, seeing two of Europe’s finest bartenders making their way onto our shores.

Ago Perrone, and Giorgio Bargiani from The Connaught, London will be heading to Australia to  host several bespoke events you don’t want to miss.

For trade audiences only, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney will host each a Galliano Bartender Long lunches, (Italian style, just like mumma use to host, we advise against wearing restrictive clothing!) as well as a collaboration not to be missed with the team at Maybe Sammy as well as a few events at Melbourne Cocktail festival.

Register your seat at the table today for the Galliano Bartenders long lunch – be quick spaces are limited!

Visit www.the-blend.com.au and keep an eye on your inbox for these event details!

  • SYDNEY – 23rd FEB  (Sunday Lunch)
  • MELBOURNE – 25th FEB  (Tuesday Dinner  launching Melbourne Cocktail Festival)
  • BRISBANE –  27th Feb  (Thursday Lunch)

The Connaught is located in Mayfair London, just recently won Best Bar in Europe, and is ranked #2 in the world on the World’s 50 Best Bars list.

After their recent accolade, The Blend caught up with Ago Perrone to find out what it feels like to win such a prestigious award as well as what’s on the agenda for the Australian tour.

The Connaught Bar just won World’s Best European Bar, and #2 at WB50, what did that exact moment feel like?

The World’s 50 Best Bars ceremony is always an incredible moment for the industry. Having all of the world’s top talents coming together to celebrate achievements, innovation and newcomers is a true showcase of how far we’ve come as both bartenders and hosts. This year has been even more special for The Connaught Bar. Not only because of the results of the list but also because these arrived after an outstanding period of work for the team. Throughout 2018 and 2019, we have worked hard to push the boundaries of The Connaught even further whilst staying true to our identity and our dedication to guests. Last year we celebrated our 10th anniversary marking it with a special menu that would wrap up the essence of the venue. We also launched our eponymous and crafted-in-house Connaught Bar Gin which is a real representation of the iconicity of the bar; rooted in tradition with a nod to the future. In 2019 we continued to experiment with surprising our guests with the menu Vanguard whose name is a testament to our signature blend of classicism and futuristic innovation. Being nominated #1 bar in Europe and #2 in the world after this intense couple of years was a reward which is hard to describe. We were all touched by these results, especially as we saw so many great bars from all over the world featured across the lists. The World’s 50 Best Bars are nominated by a panel of over 500 international industry experts and represents the immense talent and continued evolution of this industry. For me, it is an overwhelming pride and emotion to see The Connaught Bar being constantly on the rise for 11 years. Our team is the key driver of such success, proving that the personalised approach of The Connaught drinking experience and the guest journey are still genuine and invaluable elements in hospitality.  

The Connaught at the World’s 50 Best Bars ceremony last October.

How has this changed the venue since the announcement?

We have been overwhelmed by emotions, but our focus remains the same. Guests are the most important pillar of The Connaught Bar, and we are committed to creating memorable experiences for them in the same way we’ve been for the past 11 years. Obviously, the announcement of the list has created a lot of buzz and excitement, with plenty of industry peers coming along to celebrate at the bar and more and more consumers visiting to try our latest menu. We’ve had great moments with all of them, and we will keep on working to hold to our standards and continue to delight our guests.   

You’re coming to Australia next year, can you explain what you are executing here with The Connaught?

The tour in Australia is undoubtedly a highlight of next year’s plans. Spreading The?Connaught Bar culture around the world is always a primary focus for us. I am very looking forward to revisiting Australia  ?with my right arm and Head Mixologist, Giorgio Bargiani.?We will be on a very exciting trip starting from Brisbane, to Melbourne and Sydney. We will be hosting events for bartenders with Galliano to engage and interact with the local trade community and workshops and also Connaught Martini experiences with Sipsmith Gin in Sydney and at Melbourne Cocktail Festival. This Australian journey will be a true chance to share our experience and get to know local bartending talents and the latest trends of the local cocktail scene, local ingredients and culture. It will also be a brilliant opportunity to amplify our?dedication to this industry, get inspired and inspire bartenders and drinkers with lots of events involving trade, consumer and media. 

You’re famous for The Connaught Martini – describe to those who have no experience of this phenomenal masterpiece what it is and how the concept came about? 

The Connaught Martini is a reflection of our distinctive hospitality approach. When we opened the bar in 2008, we focused on reworking classic and best-selling serves such as Bloody Mary and Martini. For the latter, we drew from the essence of the cocktail, which is to be varied and customisable to people’s taste. We elevated this element by bringing the making of the drink to the table with the Martini trolley to engage guests and let them play an active role in the building the drink. From the choice of the base spirit, gin or vodka, to the explanation of the blend of vermouths that we use for the drink, to the selection among five aromatic bitters to personalise the cocktail and finally the selection of the garnish; guests really have a chance to create a bespoke drink that adapts to their taste or mood. This active participation also allows us to establish a deeper connection with customers and to take them through the narrative of the drink, the story behind the ingredients and, above all, the concept of The Connaught Bar. The theatrical pour that closes the ceremony adds a touch of excitement before guests can savour the Martini as an experience and not just as a cocktail.

Register your seat at the table today for the Galliano Bartenders long lunch – be quick spaces are limited!

Visit www.the-blend.com.au and keep an eye on your inbox for these event details!

  • SYDNEY – 23rd FEB  (Sunday Lunch)
  • MELBOURNE – 25th FEB  (Tuesday Dinner  launching Melbourne Cocktail Festival)
  • BRISBANE –  27th Feb  (Thursday Lunch)

More information on the Maybe Sammy Collaboration – tickets on sale soon!

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