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 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 Sareta’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 frame 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