Daniel Kutch began in the hospitality industry at an early age, hustling in both back- and front-of-house positions at pizza franchises in his native Bay Area. Eventually moving to San Francisco proper, Kutch found his sweet spot at venues that were as well-known for food as for drinks, which challenged him to take a more culinary approach to his drink-making. It was at these places that he also learned to thread the needle between an upscale experience and a warm, welcoming, neighborhood vibe.
It’s little surprise that Kutch has been drawn to the Italian style of drinking, so closely entwined with food and rooted in elevated conviviality. And in his current role based in New York as the East Coast brand ambassador for MARTINI & ROSSI, he gets to focus on his passion for aperitivo, the daily routine for Italians that is the pure embodiment of that gioia di vivere.
Kutch first fell in love with the pleasures of aperitivo culture at 21, while visiting Rome for the first time. At his hostel, he discovered Negronis being stirred up alongside a quintessential spread of charcuterie, olives and cheese. “The owners prided themselves on introducing a true aperitivo experience to their guests from around the world,” Kutch says. “Since I was traveling alone, I made friends at the bar quickly—and capped off my afternoon well, before walking the city some more.” He was hooked. These days, his classic aperitivo of choice is the Americano; he also loves working with vermouth and showcasing the ways it can star in the types of low-ABV cocktails ideal for aperitivo hour.