/Proper Cocktails at The Jerry Thomas Project, Rome

Proper Cocktails at The Jerry Thomas Project, Rome


Walk into most cocktail bars in Rome and ask for a Sazerac. I bet the bartender will scrunch up his face and belt out a prolonged “Ehhhhh?” If you want an awful mojito or sacherine tequila sunrise, he can make that. But a rye cocktail is alien. Indeed, the number of venues in Rome where you can get a proper cocktail are few. The best? The Jerry Thomas Project.

This blink-and-you-missed-it speakeasy-style cocktail bar just steps from Corso Vittorio is dedicated to Jerry Thomas, the author of the first American bar tending guide. His 1862 tome, variously known as “The Bar-Tender’s Guide,” “How to Mix Drinks” or “The Bon-Vivant’s Companion,” remains the cornerstone of American mixology and has even acquired cult status across the pond. Jerry Thomas may never have stepped foot into a Prohibition-era speakeasy (he died decades before the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment) but his spirit is alive and well at Vicolo Cellini 30, where excellent cocktails are served from Tuesday through Sunday from 11pm until 4am.

The space is pretty tight and reservations are highly recommended. Apparently you need a password to get in, though I’ve never been asked one. Be sure to call (+390696845937 or +393701146287) before turning up or risk being turned away at the door. Get lucky and you’ll be ushered inside to the smokey bar where stellar beverages like Thomas’ own Blue Blazer (“a hot toddy for pyros”), the Moscow Mule and my beloved Sazerac are served with love and care.

2017-02-17T15:16:57+00:00 January 8th, 2013|Categories: Rome & Lazio, Wine & Spirits|6 Comments


  1. NR January 8, 2013 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the post. I am a huge cocktail lover and finding it difficult to locate well-made drinks in the city. Do you happen to have any additional suggestions for a well-crafted drink?

  2. gregorylent January 8, 2013 at 11:49 pm - Reply

    smokey? forget it.

  3. Katie January 9, 2013 at 2:51 am - Reply

    @NR there are good cocktails at the The Stravinskij Bar at the Hotel de Russie http://www.hotelderussie.it/dining/stravinskij-bar/ it is unbelievably expensive tho

    @gregorylent yeah the smoke is pretty nasty

  4. Mitch Weinstein January 11, 2013 at 3:26 pm - Reply


    A. What brand(s) of spirits are they using for their bourbons and ryes? I know it’s pretty darn easy to get good gin and rum in Roma, but the American brown spirits are a bit more problematic.

    B. Is Societe-Lutece worthy at all? http://www.societe-lutece.it/?sede=2


    • Katie January 15, 2013 at 8:28 am - Reply

      Top shelf stuff, Mitch. Lutece closed ages ago. Theres a place called no au there now

  5. Hounddogman January 11, 2013 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    You can get a fairly good Mojito at Bar dei Bruti (formerly Bar Sicil) on Volsci in San Lorenzo, half-price happy hour 6-9 weekdays though occasionally some of the staff seem to have problems remembering this when they charge you. If they haven’t run out of mint that is. Haven’t tried any of the other cocktails offered although the Negroni seems popular. A good place to start an evening out in the area, a lot better than the yuppy wine bars or the aggressively expensive Ferrazza on the same street which seems popular with dubious looking Russians.

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