A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg
Inspired by Santa Ynez Valley produce, herbs and botanicals, mix maestro Alberto Battaglini knocks it out of the park once again with these fantastic new cocktail concoctions at S.Y. Kitchen. “The Valley Collection” was inspired by our warming temperatures and designed to complement the amazing cuisine of Chef Luca Crestanelli.
“The soul of mixology is found in all the old recipes that we twist with modern ingredients and tools, to play with tastes and to give every customer an extraordinary experience,” says Battaglini, the General Manager and Resident Mixologist at S. Y. Kitchen, where he creates his infusions of spirits and bitters from a local bounty of fruits, vegetables and herbs.
A native of Verona and school friend of Chef Crestanelli’s, Battaglini dreamed of a restaurant career from the time he was a young boy. Attending Scuola Alberghiera, he learned the fundamentals of cooking and food service, and quickly learned that being a chef was not for him. From there he started his ardent love affair with spirits, which took him to Gatwick, London where he met his mentor in mixology, Ian Slater. He further honed his mixology passion and skills in Spain and Mexico before meeting up with his old school friend Crestanelli, at Bar Toscana in Los Angeles and eventually coming to Santa Barbara County with Toscana and Bar Toscana owners Kathie and Mike Gordon, who partnered with Crestanelli to create S.Y. Kitchen.
Battaglini, who recently competed as a western division finalist for the United States Bartenders Guild, has created seven new summer drinks for the Valley Collection cocktail menu : Cilantro Margarita, El Viejo, Pineapple & Basil Mojito, Sundown, Last Tokyo, Mediterraneo and the El Dorado.
When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.
Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on August 10, 2018.