At the Bar Sartea, in the Borgo San Felice just outside the Centro Storico (historic center) of Vicenza, Italy, Nicola, proprietor and head barista, serves up a unique aperitivo (cocktail) that’s only mixed at this early 20th century watering hole and nowhere else on the planet: il Macchiatissimo (literally, REALLY stained).
Before we get to mixing up this one-of-a kind drink, let’s take a step back in time to see what came before Nicola’s refreshing high-spirited concoction.
Serving wine, beer and spirits since 1902, Sartea’s was the second of all bars in Vicenza to be legally licensed to sell alcohol. Located at 362 Corso San Felice, this liquid oasis has an intriguing history that actually dates back to the 1800s.
Bar Sartea, once a horse-darwn carriage and coach stop on the way into and out of the city, began as an ostaria (tavern with basic food service) in the 19th century. A short-lived birraria (microbrewery), founded by Sefano Sartea — the current bar’s namesake — was added upstairs following World War I only to be put out of business by an aerial bombing during World War II.
Dusted off, Sartea’s came back to life again as an osteria, this time frequented only by senior citizens. When music was added to the mix, mainly live and recorded jazz, the old folks got the message and left and an influx of younger patrons arrived. And that’s where Sartea’s is today: a relaxing bar with a pleasant mix of clientele — young, middle age and young-at-heart — that appreciate good music and a good drink or two.
Although the old osteria’s small kitchen is still there, Sartea’s is pretty much a liquid-diet establishment with delectable tramezzini (little sandwiches), olives and chips thrown in to help diffuse the alcohol.
Occasionally, Sartea’s hosts private parties, like weddings, birthdays and graduations; otherwise, they’re open to the public six days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., serving coffee, pastries, aperitivi and finger food, with live or recorded music on Friday and Saturday nights. The bar’s closed on Mondays.
What really separates Sartea’s from other bars in Vicenza is its spacious, shaded outdoor patio. It’s the perfect place to grab a drink with friends as the sun slowly sets in the west during these long evenings of summer. I think now’s as good a time as any to find out what goes into Sartea’s signature drink.
Nicola! Un Macchiatissimo, per favore.
Following the above list of ingredients, barista Nicola will show you how to mix up your very own Macchiatissimo.
Step-1: Pre-chill the glass with ice, prep the lime juice and organize the bottles needed
Step-2: Empty the glass of ice, pour in the sugar
Step-3: Add the Angostura bitters
Step-4: Pour in the lime juice
Step-5: Add the ice cubes
Step-6: Pour in the Rabarbaro Zucca
Step-7: Pour in the Campari
Step-8: Pour in the Prosecco
Step-9: Add the soda water
Step-10: Add the twist of lime peel
Step-11: CIN CIN!
The Macchiatissimo, Bar Sartea’s REALLY stained signature cocktail. One taste and you’ll be pleased; finish the glass and you’ll be quite happy. Don’t I know. I got to shoot it AND sip it.
For more drink ideas, check out our GOOD COCKTAILS section. Just click HERE.
Too bad those horse-drawn carriages of old don’t come by Sartea’s any more. I think I need a lift home. Oh my.
©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images
It works! Hurrah! I liked reading about the tramezzini in particular because I’m a big fan of Donna Leon’s book and Brunetti has these often. I enjoyed the trip.
There was a WP hiccup when I set the publishing time to Friday at 8.00. It went out beforehand, and I deleted it, then republished; that’s why you got the dreaded 404. And, I’m sure that will mess it up for everyone else. Damn, I hate when that happens. 🙂
Not a problem. I’m glad I was able to read it. I enjoyed it. Who knows what WP gets up to sometimes?
I like a twist on a theme, and with the fresh tang of lime, a hint of sweet and the bitters and bitters the cocktail’s looking interesting, though I can’t imagine what it tastes like! What on earth is Rabarbaro Zucca? And, by the way, what’s the difference between a jigger and a pony jigger, and do they really have Prosecco on tap?
Meredith – You’re really putting me to the task with SO many ?s. Here we go. First, rabarbaro is another Italian “amaro” (bitter) infusion of rhubarb rootstock, cardamom seeds, China fruit, bitter orange peel and other herbs. Its delicate, bittersweet flavors are joined by a hint of smoke on the finish. The Zucca part was added to tie-in to the famous bar in Milan’s Galleria owned and operated by the Zucca family. Second, next time you’re at a bar, ask the barista to show you his/her jigger, the metal, two-sided silver cone he/she uses to measure the liquids that go into a drink, rather than eye-balling it. One side is larger, a full jigger (just about 2 oz.), while the smaller side is half — a pony jigger — about 1 oz. Third, no the bar does not have Prosecco on tap. What you’re seeing in the photo is the barista adding the seltzer water with a bar gun; unfortunately, I wasn’t quick enough on the draw when he poured the bubbly into the glass from the bottle; so, I didn’t get a shot off for that step. SATISFIED? 🙂
Ok – satisfied! And thank you – this rabarbaro sounds delightful – I did wonder if it had any relationship to rhubarb, and though I could have googled it what I got from the man on the spot is far more likely to have me remember it and ask to try it next time I’m anywhere near a decent bottle shop!
Thank goodness it was just you being a bit slow on the draw – I thought I was going blind, or batty, or both … 🙂
I think I’ll leave that one to a professional, Tom ‘our man in Italy’ Weber x
You truly are living la Dolce Vita. How jealous I am of your life. True bliss.
Emily — Don’t be envious of me, I’m just the messenger. 🙂