In 1966, at the age of just 18, Fortunato Zaccaro, a barman from Basilicata, was awarded the Targa Amarena Fabbri for a new cocktail he had invented. A half century later, he celebrated that “historic” victory with a reinterpretation of his recipe for the Rimini trade show.
Bologna, January 2017 – In May 1966, an 18-year-old barman from Basilicata took on his much more experienced peers in a contest in Bologna for the Targa Amarena Fabbri. Born in 1948, Fortunato Zaccaro destroyed the competition, taking a surprise win with a new cocktail creation made of 2/4 Marendry Fabbri, 1/4 orange juice, and 1/4 triple sec.
That was over a half century ago, but time does not appear to have eroded Mr Zaccaro’s enthusiasm. A leading figure at Sigep, the international expo for artisan gelato and pastry production held in Rimini, he celebrated the anniversary of that victory at the Fabbri stand with a demonstration for expo visitors of how he prepares the recipe that gave him the win.
“It was a great joy to be invited by Fabbri to present again, fifty years later, the cocktail that in some way marked the beginning of my professional career,” said an emotional Fortunato Zaccaro. “In '66, I was still a minor, since adulthood began at 21 in those days. But even then, when they awarded me the Targa Amarena Fabbri, I understood what my professional destiny would be.”
Having retired less than a year ago, after a lengthy career as a bartender and maître d’ in his hometown of Maratea, in Basilicata, here in Rimini he was able to offer the public his award-winning cocktail, which he has updated with a more contemporary flair. Along with Fabbri’s Marendry liqueur, which is coming back this year as an Amarena-cherry bitter after being out of production for over forty years, he has now added just a splash of vodka.
During the Fabbri gala dinner in Rimini, Nicola Fabbri, part of the fourth generation of the company’s founding family, honoured Mr Zaccaro with two gifts in memory of his historic victory in 1966: an original bottle of Marendry (practically an historical artefact given that the moulds for the first bottles have since been lost) and a bottle of the new Marendry as both a celebration of the past and a foretoken of the future.
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