September 30, 2023
Federico Pavan’s Cocktail Creating Journey
Precision, technique and heart come together to form three fantastic cocktails perfect for every occasion.
Federico Pavan’s journey from the hills of Verona to London’s coveted Donovan Bar has been nothing short of fascinating. The Italian, around the age of 20 decided that he wanted to create a life for himself away from the mountains of Italy where he had grown up. In 2009, he shifted to Madrid not seeking greener pastures but to chase a dream career in mixology. Taking in the fresh air of Spain, Federico Pavan started working as the Head Bartender at the ME Hotel.
Federico Pavan mixing a cocktail
Four years of meticulously creating and mastering classic cocktails with a contemporary twist, Federico worked his charm on the ME Hotel menu. At this time, he received a call from cocktail ‘maestro’ Salvatore Calabrese who offered him an opportunity to join him at The Playboy Club as Bar Supervisor. As he tended to the cocktail needs of the rich, the famous and the royal, Federico had little idea of what was in store for him. During his stint at The Playboy Club, Federico met Maurizio Palermo and together they shared the dream of creating a legacy of cocktails.
However, there were a couple of big stops waiting in the wings before this collaboration could take place. Sighting Federico’s constant desire for improvement, Mr Salvatore sent him to Tokyo, to learn more about the world of mixology at the legendary High Five Bar. He became the protégé of world-renowned Japanese mixologist Hidetsugu Ueno, who helped Federico combine the acute accuracy and regimented techniques with the art of balance and precision.
Federico Pavan pouring cocktail in a glass
Following his time in Tokyo, Federico Pavan took up the role of Head Bartender at the Coburg Bar at The Connaught Hote, home to the World’s Best Bar, the Connaught Bar. Here, he spearheaded the creation of a cocktail menu that derived inspiration from trends in the 1700s to 2000s. The unrivalled service and attention to detail under Federico’s leadership saw Coburg Bar quickly establish itself as one of Mayfair’s bar jewels. Upon taking Coburg Bar to a great position, Federico sought a new challenge.
It was finally time to collaborate with Maurizio Palermo and take his talents to Donovan Bar at Brown’s Hotel. The Donovan Bar, a place steeped in heritage, elegance and sophistication was the perfect place for Federico Pavan to showcase his excellent mixology skills. The skills that have seen him create three exquisite cocktails, Madam Loren, Alfie and The Paloma.
Sophia Loren – a rosy-hued cocktail
A sophisticated cocktail inspired by Italian actress and Sixties bombshell, Sophia Loren – a rosy-hued cocktail, made with a dash of tomato liqueur and crowned with fried basil. This drink is a tribute to Sophie's great Italian origins and very much like Federico himself, with his Italian heritage. Not only is this cocktail incredibly unique but what is interesting is that Federico does not actually use tomato despite it being strong in taste. Instead, he works with the exotic plant of Tamarillo which gives the cocktail the same aroma but with a kick of acidity as well.
35 ml Gin
15 ml Theoria Perfidie liqueur
25 ml Tamarillo and strawberry puree
25 ml Blood orange Juice
5 ml Honey
Pour all the ingredients into a shaker and shake it very well for 10 seconds. Then, strain the mixture in a frozen compete glass. Add fried basil leaves as a garnish.
Donovan Bar’s take on an old fashioned cocktail with extreme style, this stiff beverage works perfectly for that well deserved nightcap after a hard-working day. A cocktail with a huge personality to reflect the person it is based on, Michael Caine's iconic titular character Alfie Elkins in the 1966 film. This cocktail epitomises the lusty side of the period and is the ideal drink for rule breaking ladies and gentlemen seeking a more daring experience. Federico pictures this drink not only enjoyed at the bar but as an accompanying drink whilst getting fitted for a stylish suit on Savile Row, a mere five-minute walk from Brown's Hotel.
60 ml Balvenie Doublewood washed in Hazelnut butter,
10 ml Ale beer reduction,
5 dash Dulse seaweed and sage tincture
Spray of Timur Pepper
Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass and stir very well. Pour it in a frozen rock glass rimmed beforehand with salty dark chocolate. Finalise the cocktail in front of the guest with homemade Timur pepper essence.
Federico Pavan with his bar tools
No matter how busy you are, there is always time for a Paloma! This tends to be Federico’s motto throughout the warmer months, however, he strongly feels that this drink is one to enjoy all year round and all day long. This refreshing cocktail is light and sweet in taste and is a great pick me up drink. What is unique about our Paloma is that our pink grapefruit soda is homemade.
60 ml Tequila
15 ml Fresh Lime Juice
5 ml Agave Nectar
Top up homemade Grapefruit Soda
Shake the tequila, lime juice and agave in a shaker. Pour it in a frozen highball glass half rimmed with salt, add ice and top it up with homemade grapefruit soda. Garnish it with the wedge of a grapefruit.
Federico Pavan’s journey from Italy to Spain and from the United Kingdom to Japan and back has been one of immense learning and thoughtful concoctions. A true talent in the world of mixology whose journey we cannot wait to watch unfold more.