Are you sick of hearing us sing the praises of Marco Zappia?
Sick of reading about how his house-made vermouths, imaginative garnishes, and even thoughtfully prepared ice have come to define the (shockingly affordable) drink program at Martina? Or how those choices helped make Martina our Best New Restaurant of 2018? Or how the wild and witchy Aztec- and Mayan-influenced cocktails he's stirring up at the brand-new Colita—his second restaurant with chef Daniel Del Prado—have already made the drink menu Instagram famous?
Fine, then. We'll let someone else do some praise-singin'.
Namely: Forbes. The magazine announced its 2019 "30 Under 30" picks on Tuesday—and you'll find 26-year-old cocktail wizard Zappia among the Food & Drink honorees.
"As beverage director [at Martina], he has created a bar program which is one of the most inventive in the country," his winning blurb proclaims. (They do incorrectly refer to his Linden Hills hit as "Martina's," but we're willing to let that slide.)
"Shirking industry norms, he refuses to use branded liquor at his bar because he doesn't want to be beholden to big alcohol companies," the profile continues. "Martina is known for its house-made amaros, fernets, vermouths, bitters and other old-school Italian liquors that celebrate Italy's aperitif and digestif culture with an Argentine spin."
The write-up also mentions his roots as a partner with Bittercube, and talks about how the liquors at Martina and Colita are made with herbs and botanicals from Minnesota and Wisconsin farms.
It's some well-deserved national recognition for the crafty cocktail wunderkind, a guy we've been heaping praise on since at least 2014, when Zappia—then a bartender at Eat Street Social—was City Pages' Best Bartender thanks to his "hypnotic mastery of flaming drinks, his service, and his spirit."
"We look forward to him blowing stuff up behind the bar—both literally and figuratively—for years to come," we wrote then.
Happy to report that years later, he's still doing just that... and that the rest of the country is catching on to his talent, too.