Flowers With A Twist In The City Of Fair Winds

At first glance, Floreria Atlantico, located in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Retiro, looks like a charming flower and wine shop. But hidden behind a nondescript door is a subterranean speakeasy, revered among chefs and locals in the know as one of the best new bars in the city.

Flowers with a Twist in the City of Fair Winds (Slideshow)

Open since January 2013, Floreria Atlantico is the brainchild of Julian Diaz and Renato "Tato" Giovannoni, two of the biggest names in Argentine mixology. Argentina ranks fifth in the world for wine production, a fact not lost on the duo. The bar offers a variety of stellar cocktails, some of which are wine-based: "Chichibirra" is made with Limoncello, ginger ale, red berries, and Torrontés, the local white wine varietal; "Le Vin Vivant" is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Chandon extra brut, and maraschino; and "Veniziano" is a refreshing concoction of Pinot grigio, Aperol, watermelon, cucumber, and prosecco. Don't miss the opportunity to try their famous gin-based cocktails, which use Tato's own Principe de los Postoles Mate gin with Yerba Mate, eucalyptus, peppermint, and pink grapefruit. The menu also showcases fresh, simple dishes, many of which are grilled (the bar houses the only basement barbecue in Buenos Aires).

Tato Giovannoni has been bartending in Buenos Aires for 22 years and has consulted on bars both at home and abroad for the past 12 years, including Malbec House in New York City. Sporting a full beard, suspenders, and a red-and-blue-checkered shirt, Giovannoni appeared as if he could have disembarked from a ship a century earlier. He is fifth generation Argentine with a heritage of mostly Italian with a bit of French. He conceptualized the cocktail menu to reflect the immigrant soul of Argentina.

"We all came through the Atlantic Ocean," he said, in reference to the bar's name and location, which is nearby the port where European immigrants first arrived. "If we are in Argentina . . . Why don't we tell our own story? We have a history of immigration—I understand I am a blend."

Designed to resemble a port bar from the early 1900s, the menu's sections reflect the countries from which Argentina's primary immigrant groups hailed: Italy, France, Poland, England, and Spain. Each cocktail embodies a piece of history — Charles Dickens repeatedly wove spirits into his writing, and the eponymous punch is based on one of the writer's favorite beverages.

"People are going back to what their grandparents used to drink," Giovannoni said. "For many years, we lost that."

If you're not able to make it to Buenos Aires, stop by Malbec House in Manhattan and experience a taste of Argentina with a "Vinedo Italiano Spritz," a blend of the red wine varietal Bonarda, Aperol, mandarin juice, and prosecco. Salud!

Floreria Atlantico

Floreria Atlantico's upstairs flower and wine shop is located on 'one of the most beautiful streets in Buenos Aires,' said co-founder Tato Giovannoni.

Making Merry

The Friday night scene at Floreria Atlantico is vibrant. "I like to see people happy–eating, drinking, enjoying the concept," said Tato Giovannoni."

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Kristin Vukovic is a culinary travel writer. She loves discovering the heart of a culture through its food and wine. You can find her on Twitter @Vukovic