Born and raised in the heart of the Eternal City, among the best and most known in Italy, the Roman barman has come a long way before arriving at the “Jerry Thomas Speakeasy”
A real frontman. We are not extolling a new pop singer, ready to make the news thanks to thousands of records sold, but we are talking about Alessandro Procoli. An artist too, but in mixing the most variegate liqueurs. After the adventure at the Insane, a restaurant open at the beginning of the 2000s, one of the best and most well-known barmen in Italy decided to go to the United States. When he came back, he fell in love with the Jerry Thomas and the TV showcase arrived too. Well, we could tell you the entire story, but why doing it when the real protagonist can directly tell it?
Alessandro, your career began in Rome at the end of the 90s…
“Right. In the Eternal City there was great excitement about this new way of drinking. And there were nice clubs. The cocktail recipes were more basic and many ideas revolved around the American bar concept. I started from scratch but over time I acquired manual skills and knowledge. In 2002 I opened the Insane, a place that was really important to me: a street bar inspired by the years of Prohibition. Then for a while I decided to leave for America, but this is another story “.
How was the adventure of Jerry Thomas born?
“When I returned to Italy, Leonardo Leuci together with Alberto Blasetti and Antonio Parlapiano involved me in this project, which was initially reserved for insiders. The Jerry Thomas opened very late: the barmen who had just finished to work used to come here. There, we experimented and confronted each other. This project introduced the concept of Speakeasy in Italy”.
Mixology is increasingly in the spotlight. Do you see it as a positive or negative factor?
“I simply believe that it is in the nature of things: it has already happened with wine and beer. This attention is leading customers to be more and more numerous and prepared, which is good. Although in contrast, all this makes people much more demanding”.
You helped to make the art of mixing a media…
“Yes, with the program “Bartendency”. A project, linked to a liquor brand, which worked and was greatly followed. As a contest between barmen, I had the opportunity to select very good guys “.
What is your most successful cocktail?
“Undoubtedly the Improved Aviation: there is London Dry Gin, home-made syrup flavoured with lavender, crème de violette, fresh lemon juice, self-produced rose-hip bitters. It has been on the Jerry Thomas menu for 10 years and, given the success, it will remain there for a long time “.