Though many may not suspect it, bartending is a very creative job. Making up a brand new cocktail always gives me a great amount of joy and pleasure, and this is especially true when one of my “children” goes its own way, “emancipating” from me.
Sure, you need the right ingredients and the best inspiration, but working at Borgo Egnazia is my ongoing chance for new encounters and suggestions, along with some incredible local raw materials. That’s exactly what happened with Ramato, a cocktail I’m very proud of. Its concept comes from two guests, planning to get married at the Borgo and wishing to have a “clear” Bloody Mary served at their reception.
I love challenges and this was a good chance to try a true Apulian variation on a much beloved drink. After some research and experiments, it was clear that the heart of my creation could only be our own home-grown “ramato” tomato (or vine tomato, as they call it elsewhere). This round tomato variety is the king of Mediterranean cuisine and it is much widespread in Puglia. It grows in clusters on branches and has a nice round shape. Its special, balanced and “sunny” flavor stems from its firm pulp, and its richly juicy texture makes it perfect for all traditional Apulian recipes, both cooked and raw.
Here’s how you make the Ramato Cocktail… First, chop the tomatoes in a blender (being careful not to blend them, of course) and leave them to dribble for 12-13 hours. Then, filter the composite through a tight-meshed colander and obtain a clear and tasty liquid, which you mix with pepper vodka (its herbaceous scent being perfect for the tomato), some spices, a few drops of tabasco and Worcester sauce and half a measure of lemon juice.
But the Ramato Cocktail is so unique because the Apulian touch is not only confined to its preparation. In fact, it is served in a glass jar, the same our grandmothers and mothers use for our typical food preserves, and with some “ziti” as straws. “Ziti” are the typical Apulian long tubed pasta and I chose them not only for their beautiful appearance: when the Ramato Cocktail flows through the hollow pasta body, a small amount of starch is released and combines with the cocktail, leaving a unique and definitely Apulian taste in your mouth.
This cocktail recipe was proven successful not only by the newlyweds and their guests’ enthusiasm, but also by the fact that the Ramato is now a standard (and much requested) item in the cocktail menu of the Borgo. It is also about to become one of the very few, carefully selected “Nowhere Else Experiences” testifying the uniqueness and peculiarity of Borgo Egnazia.
Ingredients for preparing a Ramato Cocktail:
15 cl of ramato pomodoro (vine tomato) juice
4 measures of pepper vodka
2 drops of tabasco
2 drops of Worcester sauce
Half a meeasure of lemon juice