The person of the month we have chosen for May is Cristina Bini. She is a bartender mixologist from Florence who has been in love with New York for years and is very popular in the field.
She is considered one of the most innovative mixologists in Italy. She was awarded several times during her career. One of the first times was in Rimini. She won the World Champion Martini, thanks to a drink made of edible flowers. She won the same competition, at the international level, in Malaysia with an infusion Martini she had prepared using pepper and ginger. "At that time - she explains - nobody used vegetables in cocktails." For three years now, she has been a radio speaker: on Radio Firenze she has a column called "drink a sweet".
When did your passion for cocktails begin?
During a break from the Academy of Arts where I was studying in Florence, it was in London. I remember one night the "colpo di fulmine" in a club in Soho. All night, I sat at the bar staring at the bartender preparing one drink after another. Those drinks had become "magic potions" in my imagination. So, when I went back to Florence, I decided to attend a bartender school.
As a professional, what were your first cocktails?
They were molecular cocktails. I made them solid with a sort of trompe-l'œil, a deception for the eye. I've truly spent my life experimenting.
Which is a recognition that you remember with pride?
In 2011, thanks to the use of sea and river stones in cocktails, I was included in the Annual Manual Bartender created by the guru of international mixology Gary Regan. It was a thrill for me to be mentioned in this Almanac in the New York section among the innovative cocktails.
One of the most recent awards?
Last year, I won the Florence Cocktail Week, using nettle infused in agricultural rum, then giving a thermal shock.
In your immense experience, how far have you gone?
For example, studying insects. I know this might sound very strange to you. I have studied everything related to them, every nutritional value. I have also produced documentation on the matter. I used scorpions, grasshoppers, ants, lavas in cocktails. The New York Times, the Daily News, even NBC TV had talked about it. I had also served them in the showrooms of designer Roberto Cavalli, can you imagine it? Unfortunately, I went to court also in New York for the use of insects. But I was acquitted because I had proven that I got insects from a legal farm.
Have you spent your entire career in New York?
Actually, I recently lived in Italy. I just returned to America after a five-year break. Unfortunately, the pandemic has blocked almost all of my experimental mixology projects.