September 5, 2017

Exploring Lecce Puglia

wine bars and cocktail hangouts

By In Cocktails, Touring Puglia
The original 1860’s Milano-Torino cocktail mixes Campari and red vermouth in equal measures. Its a drink that eventually led to the development of the Negroni and the Americano. At Bar 300 in Lecce, a delightful town right down in the Italian heel, they add a healthy doze of Negroamaro Rose for their Torino-Lecce version. And a super little cocktail it makes too. The bar, outside of Lecce old town, just to the north of Piazza Mazzini has a mighty impressive shelf-upon-shelf of drinks lining the right hand wall as you enter. The back of the bar is lacking and uninspiring in comparison to be honest, so I sat at the bar.

Over 500 gins and 800 whiskies said the head barman through the wonders of google translate. There was possibly a hint of exaggeration there but the bank of gins right behind my stool was fabulously impressive.

My second aperitif was, if memory serves, their version of a Negroni. The barman spent several minutes picking out a few choice gins; being in Italy I asked for an Italian gin and we eventually settled on Riviera to be added to the Campari, red vermouth and soda water. I’ve since learnt this is gin is based on a recipe created back in the 1940s by a British solider stationed in Rimini. It features juniper, sweet orange, bergamot, cinnamon, elderflower, coriander and ginger. It is also £60 a bottle from Master of Malt!

A nearby restaurant I was recommended seemed closed – I received some odd looks so I suspect I was rattling the wrong door – so I wandered across town in the most glorious of evenings and landed at a little wine bar just behind the Duomo. One advantage Quanto Basta has over Bar 300 is the outside seating; a delight in the early summer warmth. I discovered a little YouTube video (below) by Local Traveller that gives a flavour…

Photo Gallery: Exploring Lecce Puglia

The eastern end of Via Umberto Primo hosts a whole row of bars and restaurants. I offer a recommendation for Mamma Elvira, a wine bar, made even more enjoyable if Past & Fasul do a little busking up and down the street while you relax. The bar lists around 250 wines solely from Puglia, all available by the glass.

“All wines are independently selected by us between those of better quality that offers Puglia. Our wines are accompanied by cold and hot dishes served in small tasting portions to allow the discovery of local ingredients. Our attention in selecting the starting products and fresh ingredients is obsessive.. “

Video: Exploring Lecce Puglia Quanto Basto Video

Recommendations to me came from those masters of all things wine and tourisum in Puglia, Francesco and Angela, operating as Salento Wine Tours.

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