Exploring the lively and always-changing world of cocktails in London, it's clear that bartenders play a crucial role in setting the trends for the city's nightlife. As people increasingly seek unique and personalized experiences, these expert mixologists are at the forefront, not just making drinks but influencing what's popular.
In the busy city of London, where hidden gems of mixology can be found everywhere, this year introduces a group of exceptional bartenders ready to delight your taste buds. Their secret? They understand what people like and are committed to being creative.
What makes these mixologists special is their ability to understand what people want. In tune with the changing preferences of their customers, they adapt and create, making drinks that not only meet but surpass expectations. This relationship between bartender and customer turns the bar into an exciting space of exploration, where every sip is a discovery.
10 Trendsetting Bartenders You Must Follow in 2024
Forray András - Head Bartender at Maison Assouline
Forray András, with a rich background spanning eight years in the drinks industry, currently holds the esteemed position of Head Bartender at Maison Assouline. Over the course of his career, András has garnered numerous accolades, including securing a spot in the Top 5 Bar in Budapest in 2018 and clinching the title of Best Whisky Cocktail in 2015. His journey in mixology has been marked by notable achievements, such as winning the Disznókő Tokaj competition in 2017 and achieving second place in the Whisky Show Bartender Competition in 2015. Beyond his accomplishments, Forray András is also recognized for his passion for tequilas, which adds an extra layer of expertise to his role.
Claudia Carrozzi - President at UK Bartenders Guild, Cunard Beverage Development Manager
In her multifaceted role, Claudia Carrozzi not only serves as the President at the UK Bartenders Guild but also holds the pivotal position of Beverage Development Manager for the Cunard fleet. With a familial background deeply rooted in Tuscan vineyards, Claudia's journey into the world of beverages commenced at a young age, working as a commis de bar in a local gelateria at the age of fifteen. Her subsequent career trajectory involved positions in prestigious establishments such as the Relais & Chateaux Hotels and The Rosewood Hotel, ultimately leading her to her current roles. Claudia's involvement with the United Kingdom Bartenders Guild, where she assumed the role of Guild President in 2021, attests to her commitment to the industry's growth and development.
Simone Ciambrone - Beverage Assistant Manager at Janu
Simone Ciambrone's journey in hospitality began in his native Italy, where he attended a Hospitality school before venturing to London to pursue his dream of working among the industry's best professionals. His initial role was as an afternoon tea chef de rang at the Ritz London, setting the stage for a career that would see him progress through positions at The Dorchester and The Lanesborough. Alongside his professional pursuits, Simone continued his studies in Hospitality at the London Geller College of Hospitality, further honing his skills. Today, as a valued Beverage Assistant Manager at Janu. But previously he also worked at the Donovan Bar, The Lanesborough and The Dorchester, where he embodied the fusion of international experience and a passion for the craft.
Giuseppe Destefano - Head Bartender at Nipperkin
Giuseppe Destefano, the current Head Bartender at Nipperkin, relocated to the UK from South Italy six years ago, driven by a fervent desire to grow and achieve his goals in the industry. His earlier tenure as a senior bartender at the Ritz Hotel showcased his dedication and talent, leading to noteworthy accomplishments such as being the National UK winner of the N3 Gin Competition. His journey also took him to the Asia 50 Best Bar ceremony as the winner of 'themixingstar,' an invitation extended by Tia Maria and Disaronno.
Bruno Gattino - Bartender at Viajante 87
Bruno Gattino, a bartender at Viajante 87, possesses a natural creativity that fuels his ambition to become a more complete bartender and eventually a brand ambassador. Originating from a small town in Spain where bartending opportunities were scarce, Bruno's determination led him to work tirelessly as a barback to improve his English and knowledge. His major achievement, becoming a bartender at German Gymnasium, symbolizes the culmination of hard work and dedication in pursuit of his dreams.
Marco Meloni - Head Bartender at Viajante87
Marco Meloni, the Head Bartender at Viajante87, stands out as a hardworking professional consistently praised for his efficiency by co-workers and management alike. Throughout his career in the hospitality world, Marco has demonstrated exceptional communication, problem-solving, and teamwork skills. Driven by a love for high standards and a penchant for hard challenges, he constantly seeks perfection in the minutest details, reflecting his dedication to the craft.
Cristiana Pirinu - Bar Supervisor at The Donovan Bar
Cristiana Pirinu, the Bar Supervisor at The Donovan Bar, hails from the picturesque village of Bosa in North Sardinia. Her journey into the world of bars and hospitality commenced at a young age, inspired by her family's involvement in the industry. Relocating to London at 19, Cristiana faced initial challenges, but her dedication to her job led to a series of experiences, including roles at Aqua Kyoto, Nueva, and ultimately The Donovan Bar. Winning the UK phase of the Amaro Montenegro competition in 2019 further boosted her confidence and affirmed her passion for the craft.
Gento Torigata - Bartender at Kwānt Bar
Gento Torigata, born in Tokyo in 1988, embarked on a diverse career path that initially involved training at a French restaurant and a Western-style confectionery shop in Tokyo. His decision to transition to bartending led him to prestigious establishments such as the renowned bar "Aileron" in Ginza. Gento honed his skills overseas, with experiences in Australia and Singapore, culminating in roles as head bartender and bar manager at Sugarhall and Gibson. His journey also included project management for the RTD cocktail project PONY in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, Gento moved to the UK and assumed the role of head mixologist at Pantechnicon in Belgravia. From February 2023, he joined the reopening team of Kwãnt Mayfair under the guidance of Erik Lorincz. Additionally, Gento is active as the brand ambassador of Ryukyu1429, a traditional Okinawan spirit.
Giusy Castaldo - Mixologist at Kwānt By The Sea
Giusy Castaldo, a Mixologist at Kwãnt By The Sea, brings a dynamic perspective to the bar with a combination of curiosity, passion, and perseverance. Her varied experiences have allowed her to view the bartending profession from different angles, recognizing it as a profound form of expression. Giusy is characterized as a team player with a vibrant and energetic personality. Her reliability and hardworking nature, coupled with a deep passion for cocktails and mixology, position her as a valuable asset to any organization.
Luca Ponte - Assistant Restaurant Manager at Claridge's
Luca Ponte, currently serving as the Assistant Restaurant Manager at Claridge's, transitioned into this role after a stint as a bartender at The Fumoir bar in Claridge's. Prior to his time at Claridge's, Luca contributed to the hospitality industry at The Coburg Bar at The Connaught Hotel. His journey is marked by a significant achievement, as Luca overcame challenges in a small town in Spain where bartending opportunities were limited. Starting as a barback, he dedicated himself to improving his English and knowledge, eventually achieving the position he holds today.
So, as you navigate London's diverse nightlife this year, keep an eye on these trendsetting bartenders (also Judges at the London Spirits Competitions) who are ready to redefine your drinking experience. They are truly the unsung heroes behind the bar, the visionaries shaping London's cocktail culture.