Dom Costa is a character; his first impression on me lasting long after he handed me his “business card” in 2010, which was a faux dollar bill with his face on it. As a man known in equal measures for his bartending knowledge, crazy shirts and personality, the class was sure to be a success. In the past I had encountered Dom as a host on some of the cocktail focused Salone del Gusto courses. I was extremely pleased to see him to take the center stage.
Good company was to be found becoming acquainted with my class neighbors. Monique, a new student at the University of Gastronomic Sciences sat to my right. To my left I introduced myself to Francesco, a bartender from a Turin based ski resort. Dom weaved in and out of history around the globe, trotting from India to England to the US of A. Alcohol always adds flair to anything it is involved in and history is no exception. The history of the cocktail is colored with legends of botched robberies, spirits prescribed by medical professionals to get around prohibition regulations and Caribbean smugglers turned snitches.
We sipped Sazeracs, a modern Martinez, a Hemingway Special and I tried my first Moscow Mule. I am a gin drinker generally speaking. Vodka is low on the list of spirits I enjoy, if it is ever there at all, therefore I have never felt the urge to try a Moscow Mule. However, under Dom’s skilled direction, I dare say it was a very sensual concoction, beautifully balanced with a pleasantly lingering heat. My neighbor Francesco piqued my interest with tales of a Milan style Moscow Mule that substitutes ginger beer with ginger and ginger ale, adding a cucumber slice as a unique twist.
Mixology, a modern term often used for the art of cocktail making, is cyclical, like almost everything from fashion and automobiles to music and food. We danced from the speakeasies of the 1920’s to the disco era only to arrive back at the latest “trend” which is trying to bring back prohibition style cocktails. I have decided to share the formula to make the Martinez we tried in class, it is a lesser known cocktail and I relished each drop. Cheers!~~~