[:en]They renamed him “Nino”, but for everyone, at least since the summer, he is the Murazzi cocktail robot. The news is not fresh, but it is worth reflecting on it a few months after the inauguration of the first staffless cocktail bar in the world. You read that right, not without waiters, just without staff. If anyone still doesn't know, this little place on the banks of the Po was at the center of an ethical-alcoholic scandal that colored a summer that otherwise, without the seaweed and the scorching heat of 2017, almost risked going unnoticed under the Mole. Luckily he has arrived, Nino, the robot who will never rebel against human beings but will help them, with all the love that his circuits are able to give, to reach the level of alcohol needed to spend a nice evening.
They have said all kinds of things about Nino, as only human beings know how to do when someone questions their very humanity. As expected, the criticisms touched on ethical issues that not even the Pope did, arguing about the impossibility of replacing the human ingredient in "living" preparations such as cocktails, with a view to inappropriate, useless and irritating mechanization. Lots of "in", except perhaps the one Nino would have liked: "inclusive". Yes, because perhaps not everyone knows that mechanization, in the field of mixing, is a propensity of many cocktail bars around the world and not because they are inhuman places that put the creativity of their bartenders and above all the heart in the corner of its customers, but because there are things that must follow specifications to work. We are not talking about politics, obviously, but about mixing. No one has ever thought of attacking IBA recipes, just to give an example. Many rework them, some even rewrite them, but to make a Negroni there are steps to follow, ingredients to use and measures to respect. Otherwise you don't make the Negroni, you make another cocktail, equally worthy and maybe even better, but it's another cocktail.
From this perspective then, what does poor Nino have to do with being "the Oltrebartender", in the Nietszchian sense of the term?
Don't misunderstand us and don't condemn us to teetotalism for this stance, also because it's not over yet. The art of mixing is not just about rules. Like all arts, it is also made up of creativity, improvisation, inspiration, mistakes and adjustments. Inventions. And in this Nino unfortunately has many flaws. It's not his fault, he didn't choose to be born a robot or to try his hand at mixing, but if he can fully define himself as a perfect performer he certainly can't pass himself off as a creative person.
And above all, Nino doesn't chat. He doesn't recognize his customers, he can't do it and therefore he can't pamper them, anticipate their requests, surprise them or intercept their needs. This is, perhaps even before human fallibility, what makes it a scientifically avant-garde and fascinating experiment, but which as far as we are concerned can never replace the uniqueness of a barlady or a bartender.
There must also be a reason why the figure of the barman is at the center of literary, cinematographic, musical and even artistic works. It is because from behind his counter, when he knows how to do it, he manages to create a unique connection with those who stop to order a drink. Much of the goodness of a cocktail comes from intuition and conversation, exquisitely human activities that can neither be replaced nor imitated by a machine. It is not our intention to demonize the old Nino, anyone who wants to try a new and original experience must absolutely go and visit him. But anyone who thinks that this is the evolution of bartending will never agree with us, however much this may be worth.
Photo: La Stampa[:]