The space that Boqueria occupied in LKF Tower is being filled by Buenos Aires Polo Club, a steakhouse that serves meat grilled in traditional Argentinian asado-style. But while chef Felipe Lopez is cooking up a storm in the kitchen, head bartender Luca Sergi – who could previously be spotted behind the bar at Carbone – is working his magic with the drinks. Before the doors to Buenos Aires Polo Club open, Sergi gives us a sneak peek at the new cocktails he’s created – and tells us how we can make one of them at home, too.
What was the first cocktail you ever made?
I was 21 and working at a well-known Florentine café. I grabbed some of this and a little bit of that, and there it was – a daiquiri with a twist. The notes of ginger and black pepper made it stand out from the menu, and it became the most popular drink. That experience inspired me to continue experimenting and trying new combinations.
Can you tell us a bit about two or three cocktails that you’re created for Buenos Aires Polo Club?
The Bellas was created in appreciation of women – it’s delicate and possesses immense strength. A combination of gin, red vermouth, strawberries and yellow peppers, it’s very refreshing. That one took two days — and a lot of wastage — to get right. The key is always wastage when making a new drink. The 7th Chukka was the result of a bet, but the details I cannot tell you here. It’s a very Argentinian drink, with Fernet-Branca and Cynar, so it’s an ideal digestif after a rich dinner at Buenos Aires Polo Club.
Is it true you took five months to create the recipe for one drink? Why did it take so long?
Yes, that’s the Mi Gran Cigarro. It has three different spirits infused with complementary flavours like vanilla, coffee and tobacco. It’s a very dramatic, aromatic drink. Finding the proper balance in the infusions took time. Something as simple as over boiling the tobacco leaves can throw the balance off, and that’s the secret to a good cocktail. A fancy garnish or great glass does not matter — if you have balance, you have everything.
What is your own favourite cocktail on the menu at Buenos Aires Polo Club?
It has to be Largaron!, which is what Argentinians say at the start of a horse race. It’s made with rum, mint and Blanc de Blancs, and I love that the champagne brings out these wonderfully buttery caramel notes.
Plenty of cocktails around town feature some really unusual ingredients. What’s the strangest thing we’ll find in a drink at Buenos Aires Polo Club? Or have you stuck to classic flavours?
At Buenos Aires Polo Club, we have surprising elements like yellow peppers, pink pepper corn and burnt tobacco alongside Argentinian classics like Fernet-Branca and vermouth. Our goal was to create a list that can be explored, and of coursed enjoyed, by everyone — regardless of what they know about cocktails.
What’s the next big trend in the world of mixology?
In the Black Sheep Restaurants family we don’t pay attention to trends, but I see the bar industry is finally beginning to see the benefits of working closely with the kitchen. So much of what I do is a collaboration with our chef, Felipe Lopez. We work together to grill and char items for drinks, and to create these distinctive flavour profiles.
Can you share a recipe of another cocktail that’s available at Buenos Aires Polo Club?
Our cocktail The Hurlingham Fizz is made with…
– 3 leafs of sage
– 45ml London Dry gin
– 25ml fresh lemon juice
– 10ml simple syrup (alt. 1.5tsp of sugar)
– Ginger beer (to top it off with)
Put the ingredients inside a shaker with ice and shake for 10 seconds. Pour out and garnish with sage.