Luigi Giordani’s obsession is starting to take over the dining room at two-year-old Acquolina—literally. Such is the Rome native’s thirst for acquiring the largest and most exclusive collection of liquor that the mantels on every inch of wall space behind, above, and around the restaurant’s low-ceilinged, ten-seat bar are no longer adequate. Every few months, the owner builds a new shelf to showcase booze added to his fifty-nine-page-and-growing list.
Above the hostess stand are fifteen Macallan single-malt whiskies, rare Samaroli Caribbean Rum, and Port Ellen thirty-five-year single-malt, truly the Ferrari of scotch at upward of $3,000 per bottle. Shelves over dining tables boast uncommon bourbon, rye, and still more single-malt scotch—including what’s reportedly the only Balvenie forty-year-old in Colorado. Above the open kitchen’s prosciutto slicer are Italian grappa and amaro, plus thirty eaux-de-vie from Austria and Sweden; the pizza prep station presents a limited-edition anniversary blend of eighteen- and thirteen-year-old bourbon distilled by Four Roses ($75/glass). More frequently poured bottles decorate the bar: vodka (150 different labels), gin (100), tequila (220), mezcal (90), and cordials (65) for cocktails including the Old Rip Van Winkle Ten-Year Manhattan ($29). Craving $12 moonshine? Choose from fifteen varieties.
“It’s art you can sell,” says bartender Cisco Fisher, who polishes each of the 1,700-plus bottles during monthly inventory and makes the house limoncello. “Our regulars call it the ‘Sistine Chapel of Liquor.’”
What drives Giordani to stockpile some 550 American whiskeys alone, including 1974 A.H. Hirsch Reserve Sixteen-Year Bourbon to pour at $498 an ounce?
The Italian shrugs. “If you have it, you will sell it,” he says. “Eventually.”