Foodie Tales: The Connaught’s Master Mixologist Agostino Perrone

By Tessa Dunthorne

1 month ago

The cocktail maverick shares one of his favourite recipes

The Connaught is one of the world’s most iconic cocktail destinations, regularly featuring in lists of top bars (sometimes as number one). That’s in part thanks to drinks wizard Agostino Perrone, the hotel’s head of mixology, who has been there since 2008. He shares his secrets below – plus one of his favourite cocktail recipes

Agostino Perrone Q&A

What’s your drinks philosophy?

It’s more of a hospitality philosophy that has guided me and The Connaught Bar team through almost 16 years of work: everything we do, from cocktail creation to service, is driven by an aim of providing the most memorable experience for our guests. This means that a cocktail is not just a liquid mix in a glass, but a vehicle of discovery, connections and emotions.

What was the first cocktail you learnt to mix?

Having started bartending in my hometown in Lake Como, Italy, it’s no surprise my first cocktail was a negroni. 

What’s your favourite ingredient for a drink? 

At the moment, I am keen on a chilli and sundried tomato distillate from a small producer in Italy called Clab Culture. It brings a burst of Mediterranean flavours and aromas to the drinks, plus a gentle spicy kick. 

The drink you’d pull out as a dinner party aperitif? 

It has to be the martini cocktail, the most glamorous and versatile of all drinks. 

What’s the best no/low drink you’ve had? 

I love flavoured waters, something simple and reflective of the indigenous produce and local familiar tradition of a geography. For example, in Mexico I am always after agua de fresa or agua de lima (strawberry and lime water). 

Where do you go to get away from it all? 

I have my secret place on Lake Como. A hidden gem on a hill that outlooks the entire lake. To get there, you need to walk through a tiny village and a wood, and all of a sudden you have the most breathtaking view of Lake Como, which you can enjoy from a bench placed on top of the hill. It’s my place to space out. 

‘Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Bee’ Cocktail

Recipe: ‘Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Bee’ Cocktail

  1. To make butterfly milk punch: mix 250g caster sugar, 30g fennel seeds, the zest of three lemons, 200g celery and 750g chopped pineapple (with rind) in a large jug. Add 100ml of lemon juice, 300ml lemon verbena tea, 350ml bourbon, 200ml tequila and 75ml absinthe and leave to infuse for 24 hours. Strain through a muslin cloth into another jug. Heat 300ml milk until warm, not boiling, and slowly pour the milk and 60ml of lemon juice into the jug and leave for 30 mins. Fine strain the mixture through two pieces of muslin cloth into a clean jug. Store in the fridge for up to a week. 
  2. To make bee-pollen armagnac: stir 700ml armagnac and 50g bee pollen together in a jug before straining through a paper coffee filter into a clean bottle. Store at room temp for up to a month. 
  3. To make sugar syrup: add 500ml mineral water and 1kg of sugar to a blender and blend until the sugar is dissolved. Store in the fridge for up to a month.
  4. Preparing the cocktails: for the Float Like A Butterfly, combine 45ml milk punch, 5ml sugar syrup, 45ml champagne and two dashes of absinthe to a mixing glass filled with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a flute. For the Sting Like A Bee, combine 30ml of the bee-pollen Armagnac, 20ml sugar syrup, 15ml lemon juice and 30ml champagne into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until chilled. Serve together.