Friends With Benefits: William Perbellini
In the countryside of Verona, Italy, William Perbellini’s mom and grandma cooked good ol’ Italian food, his grandpa tended the apple orchards and his uncle was a baker—so, it wasn’t a far-fetched idea that one day Perbellini would also work around food. But after attending culinary school in Italy, it wasn’t the food industry that piqued his interest, it was the beverage industry. Today, Perbellini’s interests have led him to his current position as the property mixologist for Waldorf Astoria.
“Cocktails are my passion,” he said. “I really do my job with a lot of love. ... It started at culinary school—I actually felt it was my calling to work in beverage.” Perbellini got his first bartending opportunity at the famed Hotel Cipriani in Venice, where he spent four summer seasons cutting his teeth. From there, he left for the U.S. and began a seven-year stint at the famed Bar Toscana in L.A., where he ran the bar during his tenure. A few years ago he made the move to Las Vegas, where he joined the bar program at Mandarin Oriental, which transitioned into the Waldorf last year.
Not only is Perbellini the property mixologist, creating cocktail menus for various venues at the Waldorf, but he is also the assistant bar manager for the 23rd-floor jewel, SkyBar. “In order to create cocktails, I usually think about where the cocktail will be featured, and then it’s a balance between crafty, unusual and what people usually like to drink,” he said. Just in the past few months Perbellini has created four new menus, and he’s always working with the bartenders to come up with new recipes.
“I like to leave at night with the feeling of satisfaction, that I’ve accomplished something,” he said. “That I did something for the hotel, I did something for myself and I can go home and rest because I did my part.”
The Pear Bellini is one of Perbellini’s (did you catch that?) own signature cocktail creations—a mix of Absolut Elyx vodka, St-Germain elderflower liqueur, pear purée, lime juice and a splash of champagne. The cocktail can be found in the Las Vegas Today chapter of the SkyBar’s cocktail menu. Perbellini very creatively divided the menu into chapters that include Where It All Started, It Begins, Classic and then the Today chapter. Each chapter focuses on the building of the city and the cocktail recipes utilize the flavors, ingredients, spirits and popular tastes of the era, with each cocktail representing a certain point in the city’s history.
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