A trifecta of talent completes what could be called a total transformation at Formento's. The red-sauce Italian spot recently welcomed new executive chef Stephen Wambach, followed by wine director Jen Schmitt. Now, B. Hospitality Co. (The Bristol, Balena) has named Cristiana DeLucca as Formento's first-ever bar director.
DeLucca comes to Formento's after creating the opening cocktail menu at Gold Coast steakhouse behemoth Maple & Ash. Previously, she could be found behind the stick at since-shuttered Drawing Room. Her latest move allows her to tap her Italian roots for a cocktail menu that mirrors an Italian feast. "It bookends the wine program with a before dinner section, after dinner section, and then classic cocktails," DeLucca says.
"Cocktail Per Iniziari" start the meal with an assortment of aperitif-style drinks, such as the spritz-esque Sweet Flower of Mine (Fiorente elderflower, Peychaud's aperitivo, Carpano dry vermouth, lemon, and Prosecco) and 2Maro (Fernet Branca, Veccio Amaro del Capo, lime, mint, and Season's honey-mint soda). The "Cocktail Per Finire" are designed to be enjoyed after a meal.
"There are so many different ways to drink after dinner," DeLucca says. "Some people like really bright, some people like really boozy, some people like really sweet — it's kind of all over the place." The drinks reflect those notions with the sweet Lemon My Cello (Caffo Limoncello dell'Isola, Bols yogurt, lemon sour, and soda) to a cold take on Irish coffee called Alphonse 3.0 (Atlantico Reserva rum, Giffard Cassis de Bourgogne, Borghetti coffee, Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters, and whipped cream).
A quartet of classics rounds out her menu, from a French 75 to Old Fashioned. Each of the three groupings of cocktails are also arranged in order of complexity, with a shaded sphere indicating the level of complexity. A lighter dots means a cocktail is lower in ABV and refreshing, while a darker dot marks boozy and complicated cocktails. Above all, they are designed to be fun, according to DeLucca, and evoke a memorable drinking experience at the bar.
Check out Formento's new cocktail list, which debuts on Monday, below.