Mixologist of the Month - Maurizio Palermo
- Date of Birth: 15th May 1976
- Birth place: Southern Italy
- Height: 1m 94cm
- Eye colour: Brown
- Nationality: Italian
"I was born in Belvedere, southern Italy. The name of the village is probably the reason why I joined the "world of drinks". I started washing glasses in a club when I was 15 and that's where my love for bartending begun. I wanted to my passion to grow so I took the decision to move in a cosmopolitan city, Milan was my choice! After many crazy nights in clubs and busy bars I decided to take it seriously. I studied (and drunk) classic and contemporary cocktails.
In 2011 after building experience managing bars I arrived in the capital of mixology, London. I was willing to explore a new world and experience something different. From April 2012, I work with the Maestro, guided by Salvatore Calabrese's philosophy : "Hospitality First"."
Maurizio's Signature Cocktails
Awards, Accolades and Trophies
To be chosen to promote Polugar is a great award for me.
Claim to Fame
I'm the best bartender on my block.
Q & A
What do you as a mixologist think about beer? Any brews of note for you?
For me a beer means : I've finished my shift.
If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
Choose carefully the people to work with.
Choose carefully the company to work for.
Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders -- care to share?
I don't like a dirty bar/bartender.
As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus -- describe the parts of this process.
The most important thing is to have clear ideas, a philosophy. The time of improvisation is over.
How did you get started?
Washing glasses, taking out the rubbish, carrying boxes of beer... I was lucky enough to start out with an old fashion barman who taught me the passion for this work.
How were you trained in bartending?
When I started there was no social media and internet (yes, I am very experienced) so I learned watching the others, trying again and again, and drinking a lot!
Did you take any courses?
Many seminars, master classes, presentations and lots of practice.
What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
Globalization. Nowadays it's easy to work with any product, spirit, with influences from any part of the world.
What's your process for creating a new cocktail? And what inspired you in the first place?
I can get inspiration from many things. A name, a taste, something seen by a colleague or in a restaurant. But unfortunately I have a bad memory and I lose half of them.
What is your favourite cocktail To make?
Salvatore Legacy £5500 (plus 12.5% of service charge!!!).
What are some of your favourite tools?
2 piece shaker and a very sharp knife.
What is your favourite mixology resource?
Old drink books and modern kitchen books.
What does success mean for you?
If you do what you like and you do what you are good at, you are a succesful man.
What are some current trends you've seen in the cocktail market?
Everything is home-made, even though the market is full of all types of products.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Still behind a bar and more and a bit more bald.
If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
A bored computer programmer.
Your biggest career influencer?
Mr. Salvatore Calabrese. Not because he is my boss or because he is famous, but I've never seen anyone serving customers the way he does.
First drink you ever tried?
We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
Probably a Cosmopolitan.
Your hangover cure?
£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Snowboarding all day, 365 days a year.
Bar or cellar at home?
Bar. I try to hide everything but my girlfriend uses an expensive bottle of rum to drink with cola with her friends. She has also used a vintage mixing glass as flowerpot. True story.
It really depends. But French and Italians wines never disappoint me.
Whisky, Tequila and Polugar!
Negroni, Manhattan, Tommy's Margarita, Daiquiri.
La Perla in London, Rita in Milan.
Quattro Passi in Dover Street. Best Italian food in London.
The Bar-Tender's Guide. Jerry Thomas. From where it all began.
Brothers in Arms. Dire Straits.