Georgi Petrov started behind the bar back in 1995. In the last 20+ years, Georgi has been working as a mixologist & bartender, and he loves every single minute of it. Passionate about inspiring others, “the biggest reward for me will be to know that I help you find inspiration to start making cocktails”, says Georgi. Meet the person behind the well-known Just shake or Stir. 

1. What made you want to focus on the drinks industry, and who is the person that inspired you the most?

I started behind the bar in 1995 as a seasonal job, and I quickly realised that was something I would like to do for a living. After getting involved with Bulgarian Bar Association and start competing, I had the pleasure of meeting with many great bartenders. In 2001 I attended a training and met Philip Duff for the first time. I guess he was the person that inspired me the most at this stage of my career. Over the years, I met many other people from the industry who left a mark on my journey in this fantastic industry. 

 2. You are the founder of one of the most inspirational and dynamic platforms in the drinks industry, the Just Shake or Stir, where you share your immense knowledge and passion about the cocktail making craft. Being an online guru, how is the pandemic affecting you? 

I guess everyone was affected at some level by the pandemic. I think for me, it was the turning point of expanding Just Shake or Stir to a broader audience. With many people locked at home, I decided to start a YouTube channel and redesign my website to a better user experience. I think being able to share cocktail recipes with videos make a huge difference. We must understand that each online platform has its audience. Most of my Instagram followers probably do not watch YouTube, and my YouTube audience probably don’t visit Instagram. So, sharing with more people gives me the option to stay busy and the joy of making everyone life a little be easier during the pandemic.

3. Via your communication platforms: YoutubeFacebookInstagramTwitter and website, you are a true Libbey Ambassador; you chose Libbey glasses many times and highlighted all their characteristics. You have made an amazing contribution to the Modern Vintage Leaflet, presenting the exotic HEMP SUMMER in Libbey’s Pinnacle Beverage. We are thrilled to have you as a partner. How do you see these interactions? 

I begin to express how grateful I am to everyone who supported me and keeps supporting Just Shake or Stir. Libbey Glasses allow me to use excellent glassware for presenting my cocktails. The glass (or a vessel as we call it in the industry) plays a significant part in any cocktail serving experience. Having the support from Libbey Glasses, it’s been an essential factor. Choosing high-quality glassware played a significant role in helping the cocktail presentation on every online platform I share my recipes. 

4. Which cocktail (you created) are you most proud of? 

I am proud of all of my creations. It is a boring answer, but I put in a lot of work when creating recipes from scratch, and I love them all. It is hard to pick just one. I love the Pink PandaAnanas Highball, Black Brew, and my recent recipe winning week 4 of the Cognac Bartender Contest called Figue Mûre. 

 5. What is your favourite glass shape to drink from? And Why?

I love simple 3 to 4 ingredients cocktails that highlight the flavours and are more spirit-based. My top choice always will be Nick & Nora and Old-Fashioned glass. Most of them are served straight up or over ice, and these two glasses are the perfect vessel. 

 6. Why is the glass important for a drink?

You can serve the best cocktail in the wrong glass and destroy it. Simple as that. Imagine doing a Dry Martini in a Highball glass or Cosmopolitan in an Old Fashioned glass. The glassware is vital as a presentation but also as a drinking experience. As humans, we process most of the information first through our eyes, following by sound, smell and taste. When you get served a dish or a cocktail on the wrong plate or glass your eyes send a signal to the brain, and you already start hating what you see. Even before you try it, you have a negative expectation. So, the glass can make or break your cocktail. No matter how good it tastes. 

7. What is your favourite Libbey glass? Do you go for sturdy or elegant?

Most of the times, I go for a sturdy glass. I don’t know why. It probably has something to do with me being behind the bar for over 20 years and always using a sturdy glass to ensure it is safe and easy to work when the bar is full. Or maybe because I love to feel the glass in my hand. With that said, I do love elegant glasses and as I mentioned in the previous question about the importance of the glass. Some cocktails call for sleek glass, and you can’t ignore it. 

8. What do you think the next big trend in the drinks industry will be?

It is hard to say at this time, but if I have to say from my point of view, I think the Cold Brew Liqueurs and Coffee Infused spirits are becoming very trendy. After a massive Gin trend, we have seen Tequila and Rum making their way up to the top alongside Mezcal. Again, It’s my personal opinion, but I think low ABV is growing fast, and I see a massive increase in Vermouth, Amaro and the Cold Brew category.  

 9. What will be the one major change in the hospitality?

I think the customer experience will go up to the roof. I am not saying it wasn’t there before, but now it is our job as bartenders, waiters, and hospitality to make everyone feel better and have a good time after extended lockdowns. People are exhausted from being isolated, and we have to give them a sense of safety and a fantastic time. Many places have to shut their doors forever, which will affect how hospitality operates in the feature of reinventing some of the rules and practices.  

10.  What can be an awesome invention that will emerge in hospitality from this crisis?  

Robots already took over the bars on some cruise ships, but I am not sure I like it. Every incredible invention I can think of do not include people as hospitality staff. I am not sure I like the idea of not having the interaction bartender-customer. But I think a modernised working space and better stations is highly possible. 

11.  What can we expect from you from now in terms of projects, new challenges? 

I start a podcast Behind the bottle, but it didn’t go well. However, I am keeping the option of expanding with a new series on YouTube and podcasts. The idea is to visit distilleries and film the people behind the bottle. I want to show the craft of how everything is made and what it takes before you grab your favourite bottle from the shelf. Also, I want to start a podcast and hopefully invite exciting guests to talk things about life and drinks in an open conversation like you do when you visit a bar.  

12.  Which tips can you give to other bartenders and bar owners to prepare for the future? 

I will keep it simple. Otherwise, this could lead to an all-new conversation. 

To my fellow bartenders - be patient, be kind and smile with your eyes. Give people a chance to recover and make them feel safe. We all had to go through a hard time, so don’t forget that. 

To all bar owners - be there for your staff and support 100%.Your staff is the heart and the engine of your bar. Give them the chance to recover, get involved, have their backs and make them feel like part of the family. 

Jamie Stephenson


Regarded as an authority on the cocktail scene, Jamie Stephenson spent many years behind bars learning the ins and outs of the hospitality industry. Jamie is now inspiring many bartenders worldwide by passing on as much knowledge and enthusiasm as he can.

What made you want to focus on the drinks industry, and who is the person that inspired you the most? 

I came into the drinks industry by happenstance. I was a teetotal student at University when a new “American Diner” announced they were opening and looking for cocktail bartenders. I had never even drunk a cocktail at that point in my life, let alone thought of making one, but I got the job. During our 3-week intensive pre-opening training, I fell in love with bartending lock, stock and barrel. By the time we opened to the public, I knew I’d found my calling and didn’t go back to University.

I think the person who inspired me the most was Peter Dorelli, who, at that time, was the Bar Manager of the Savoy and President of the UKBG. Although I was working as a flair bartender in an “American Diner,” I always had a penchant for the classic style of white-jacketed formal cocktail making and Peter epitomized that for me.


You are such a versatile person, you are the @cocktailguru, founder of the Bar Academy, owner of Jamie Stephenson Photography and passionate about sport. Which came first? How do you combine these worlds? How does the pandemic affect you and how are you working on getting out of it? 

I really enjoyed my time working full-time behind bars. I spent over ten years learning the hospitality industry’s ins and outs, but there came a time for a change in direction and my passion for presenting and educating took over. I devoted so much time of my career learning that I wanted to pass on as much knowledge and enthusiasm as I could to the people who wanted to develop as career bartenders. I know that I was put on the right path by the people who trained me and wanted to do the same.

The photography began during childhood, but I went many years without taking any pictures. It was only when a drinks brand published a book using one of my drink recipes that photography came back. I realized that recipes could be interpreted differently when providing imagery to sit alongside the recipes I create and add value to what I can offer.

I got into the sport after many years of inactivity, late nights and bad food, etc. I was approaching 30 and feeling like I might not make it to 40, so I started going to the gym and took up running. I enjoyed it for a while until I got injured and then the kids came along, so I ended up having a seven-year hiatus in which the weight piled back on and my self-esteem took a bit of a dive. Fortunately, I’ve been able to transition back into an active lifestyle which is great for keeping my head straight and feeling good generally.


You have been a close partner to Libbey. You contributed with your spectacular NEGRONI LEGGERO for “Modern Vintage Leaflet”; you have joined the Online Quarantine Cocktail Challenge on Glassology Facebook Community, and you were one of the five winners with the relaxing and fresh Toro Toro Toro, in Libbey’s glass The Gats. What can you share about these creative and unique interactions?

One of the factors behind my success with cocktail creations has come from the way I’ve interpreted the brief. I look at what is being sought and then begin the research process, ensuring that every stage is within those boundaries. Creativity and innovation are fine, but you must know how that fits within a customer/sponsor/client’s vision. I try to ensure all my ingredients are relevant and cohesive and that the finished result is something someone would be happy to pay for, drink and then order another.

“Negroni Leggero” by Jamie Stephenson

in Libbey’s Carats for Modern Vintage leaflet


Which cocktail (you created) are you most proud of? 

Probably the’ French Rock’ n’ Roll,’ which I came up with for the FLVR Bartender of the Year competition. The idea of it came to me in a dream; everything about its development literally fell into place and the result far exceeded my expectations. Its base is a large measure of Absinthe, which is quite polarising. One of the judges, who I learned on my way to the competition, hated Absinthe but ended up loving it much to his amazement – I love that kind of reaction to my drinks.

Photo & Cocktail creation by Jamie Stephenson

in Libbey’s Modern America – Martini shape


What is your favorite glass shape to drink from? And Why? 

A martini glass. It’s the perfect icon of the cocktail world. Other types are more functional, but my first and true love is the classic V shape.


Why is the glass important for a drink? 

The glass is absolutely the most important part of a cocktail. Far too many people see it as simply a means of delivery from hand to mouth, but it serves to stimulate all your senses and elevates your drink to greater heights. It provides a visual stimulus; if it looks awesome, people will judge it favorably before picking it up. The glass’s style and weight affect our perception of quality – heavy, textured, chunky or smooth, elegant, and light; drinks will appear to ‘taste’ different from different glasses. There’s also the development of bouquet and how the olfactory senses pick up aroma; your glass choice will have a huge impact on this, which changes how people ‘taste’.


What is your favorite Libbey glass? Do you go for sturdy or elegant? 

Do you go for sturdy or elegant? I’m torn, to be honest, because I really love the elegance of the SPKSY Nick & Nora, which is one of my go-to glasses for photographing drinks, but at the same time, I love the weight and feel of the Hobstar DOF on my hands too.


What do you think the next big trend in the drinks Industry will be?  

We seem to be getting a lot of next big things all at the same time. The diversity of this industry is being showcased by some very passionate individuals with the social media platform, so we see simple but serious low and no alcohol, fun, sustainability and responsibility all trending concurrently.


What will be the one major change in the Hospitality after the pandemic? 

I would like to think that we will see a rise in hygiene consciousness and that customers will start to reject drinks/bars that don’t employ good cleanliness levels, both in the environment and working practices.


What can be an awesome invention that will emerge in the Hospitality from this crisis?

Fast-speed Wi-Fi that works all the time when all your till and payment systems rely on it and and provide your guests the ability to Instagram how awesome your creations are! Probably asking a bit too much there, I know, but maybe sometime in the future…


What can we expect from you from now in terms of projects, new challenges?  

I’m still looking for the perfect opportunity to put all of my skills to good use under one roof. As much as I love developing and creating projects with brands, I really miss hosting and delivering exceptional service to people. Once I know my family is safe from me being out and about in public again, then I’ll start dusting the shakers off again.

Paulo Gomes


One of the first professionals of the finals of Glassology by Libbey contest, bar owner and bartender, the colorful spirit behind the Monkey Mash and The Red Frog in Lisbon, a creative business owner and an inspiring team leader.

What made you want to focus on the drinks industry, and who is the person that inspired you the most?

One of my first memories in the world of hospitality, was from when I was 4 years old and I joined my parents to visit a place that would become the restaurant that my parents still have to this day. When I turned 5 I started helping in the restaurant, taking out coffees and washing up. In the mid 90s, I had a period when I was playing music as a DJ, but as soon I started working in a hotel bar in Lisbon in 2001, I decided to dive into the bar industry.

My father is my inspiration!!! He is the one who taught me how to run a restaurant for over 42 years, he is not only the cook, but also the host. He makes a difference in the persistence and continuation of his usual clientele.

You are a co-owner of one of the most renowned bars in the world, The Red Frog, and its exotic brother, Monkey Mash. How does the pandemic affect you?

Monkey Mash’s first birthday was March 12th, 2020, we had a house full of friends, we didn’t know much about this virus, shortly after we had to close the joint. I had a feeling that it would be for a short period of time, but then I realized, the business would never be the same.

I took advantage of that time of confinement, to be able to do a lot of things I was missing, such as giving attention to my three daughters and my wife.

Then everything started to change, I had to deal with problems I didn’t think I would have… closing The Red Frog in March 2020, my other bar, Monkey Mash, had to adapt, opening only in September 2020, working as a restaurant instead of a bar. At this point the team had to think sensibly… but also have solidarity to those who helped us and supported us.

Which cocktail (you created) are you most proud of?

“American Gangster” and “Spiced Rusty Cherry”, created for a competition in 2014 inspired by a liqueur coming from Lisbon,  “ginja [sour cherry]” and Port Wine, combining that with dark rum and cherry shrub.

What is your favorite glass shape to drink from? And why?

I really like short drinks, so any coupette or old fashioned are undoubtedly my favorites.

Why is the glass important for a drink?

The glass is super important, and when you work in a bar, all aspects are important. Bartenders look at the glass in the same way as sommeliers look at the glass in the world of wines, or cooks look at plates in the best fine dining restaurants around world. The bar world is very classic in terms of services, and I believe that a Manhattan or a Bamboo for example, can win aromatically if not served in a coupette.

What is your favorite Libbey glass? Do you go for sturdy or elegant?

I love the BESPOKE, AETHER and RAYO glass ranges! I always try to take the best of both worlds.

You were one of the first professionals getting to the finals of Glassology by Libbey Contest, and hosting a masterclass, during the semi-finals of Glassology. Can you tell us about this experience?

Participating in Glassology was super important in terms of understanding the language of the glass world, which crosses our daily lives, but which we never look at correctly. Most bartenders have no idea how a glass is made, from what type of ingredients and what are the different methods between the classic world of glass blowing and the industrial production.

It was amazing opportunity to be able to welcome the participants in the Red Frog and demonstrate the different types of the glasses and how we can take advantage of them, but at the same time be creative, even with classic or simpler family ranges. It was very cozy, together in one room full of friends from all over the world.


What do you think the next big trend in the drinks Industry will be? 

Think more local and sustainable! (I know this is already a trend, but I still think we can do much better than this!)

What will be the one major change in Hospitality after the pandemic?

We will have to be more Human (I know this can be weird). This industry needs to change. We have to change the way we deal with our “big ego”. We may think that we are all very important, but at the end of the day, we all realize how fragile and superfluous we are. We don’t save lives, we serve drinks! We are undoubtedly an industry that creates, emotional well-being, joy, and fun, and all these are super important, especially now, but then we are all super exempt on the issue of alcoholism and dependence.

In the future, we will have to support the local communities much more and help them grow, creating added value, make companies become more honest and supportive of their professionals, keeping in mind the quality of life of the employees and helping them, training bar professionals and educating them. The pandemic came to show, that this industry is not fair and that there are many gaps in the training of teams and in keeping the honesty in the industry.

What can be an awesome invention that will emerge in the Hospitality from this crisis?

Serving drinks on delivery, but with a virtual hologram, where the bartender can interact with the customer. 😊

What can we expect from you from now in terms of projects, new challenges? 

Continue working and fighting with the whole team so that the two bars continue to be successful, focusing on the new re-opening of the Red Frog making it a more cozy, personal and sensory space. Being a better father and continue to do what I have always done, help improve life of the people around and grow the Portuguese bar industry.

Which tips can you give to other bartenders and bar owners to prepare for the future?

To Bartenders: 
Study a lot and surround yourself with people who help you being a better person. Don’t be afraid to fail.

To Bar Owners:
Be honest and happy and don’t strive to become rich on the expense of your team!

Most of our recruitments are young people with a lot of “bar thirst” and full of desire to show that they can succeed in this industry. My role is to show them that more important than the ego is being part of the team. During the first year behind the bar, they will learn our ideologies, our goals, and discover that it is more important to be hospitable than making cocktails. I will act as a colleague, bartender, bar owner, guide and teach them, work as one.



A passionate cocktail artist for whom the container is as important as the drink it contains. Participant of Glassology by Libbey design contest where discovered a new world and a total new experience in the Glass industry. Régis is responsible for the unique Secret 8 by Buddha-Bar, Paris, a cabinet of curiosities with an intimate environment, where creativity and thinking out-the-box are the distinctive facts.

How do you introduce yourself at the bar when a new colleague joins the team? 

I work on my own at Secret 8, but when a new person joins one of the Buddha-Bar teams, I introduce myself as the person in charge of Secret 8, the Buddha-Bar Paris’s hidden bar.

What made you want to focus on the drinks industry?

Curiosity, the desire to grow and learn. Our drink industry is changing very quickly with new things every year: spirits, bar concepts, glassware, communication, etc.

Who is the person that inspired you the most?

I’m not really inspired by one particular person, but rather by all the bartenders and people I met.

But I still want to quote Sandrine Houdré-Grégoire and Matthias Giroud, who taught me a lot and always have been so supportive during my career in this industry.

You are the bar manager at Secret 8 by Buddha-Bar, which is a unique concept in France. Can you describe the feeling of working there? How did Libbey glassware help you to present your unique creations?

You access the bar with a password, which is a riddle that changes every month. We have a diverse and original collection of glasses, a capacity of only 25 seats and decoration and music that has nothing to do with the Buddha-Bar’s identity. Secret 8 by Buddha-Bar is one of the unique places in Paris.

Working there is something different than what I’ve experienced in the past, but very pleasant.

You must be multi-functional and very independent to work at Secret 8.

I work alone without any bartenders or waiters helping me; I take care of all cocktail menus, bar set up, cocktails’ production, serving the drinks, welcoming customers at the door by asking them for the password, bookings on the phone during the evening but also cleaning the whole place. It is as if it’s my own bar, but it’s not! I invest a lot of “myself” in this bar!

Working at Secret 8 requires strong self-involvement, a desire to succeed and strong creativity due to its cocktail identity.

I am fortunate to have managers that let me express my creativity, especially in terms of glassware.

The cocktail menu has 11 cocktails and therefore, 11 different glasses. LIBBEY has a very diverse range of glassware, with very different designs, which can be very inspiring. I love some of the LIBBEY ranges because they can tell a story through the design or shape of the glass, which helps a lot for the cocktail’s identity of the Secret 8.

Which cocktail (you created) are you most proud of?

More than 13 years ago, when I was working at the Murano Hotel, my bar manager asked me to work on a cocktail made from green peas, and a few hours later, “Bili Bili” was born. In these years, it was audacious to use green beans in a cocktail in France 😉

Which cocktail is the one you have made the most during the years?

Mojito! A timeless classic.

What’s your favorite classic cocktail?

Pimm’s Cup, low alcohol, fresh and easy to drink.

The most underestimated drink in the industry?

I want to say cider.

We’re starting to see some cider brands on the market, but it’s still very discreet. I love to drink cider, and I find it very interesting to create cocktail recipes with it.

Which ingredient will be used far more in the future?

Short-circuit products and ingredients from local producers.

Favorite glass shape to drink from? And Why?

I like the shape of an old-fashioned glass, easy to drink, good grip, wide enough to drink straight from the glass and most of the time you don’t need to use a straw.

Why is the glass that important for a drink?

I like to compare the cocktails universe to the fashion universe.  A dress needs a model to be highlighted, and the same goes for the cocktail! The glass complements the drink. One does not go without the other.

What is your favorite Libbey glass?

I had a real crush on your LEVITAS range: minimalist, refined, elegant. During a photo shoot, the rendering is very interesting with light.

Glass: Durable or Fragile?

As a bar manager, I would say durable, but I would say fragile as a bartender and artist. The fragile glasses are much thinner than a durable glass and therefore more pleasant to the touch or when you drink your cocktail. A thin glass will have a personality and will play easier with the light during a cocktail photo shoot.

You were one of the contestants at the first ‘Glassology by Libbey’ 2016-2017. Can you share the feeling of being part of this contest and what the contest brought to you?

I am very sensitive to projects that require a sense of aesthetics and imagination. When I heard about Glassology by Libbey, I said to myself: a competition that has nothing to do with the other cocktail competitions! I have to try it!

Even though I didn’t make it to the final, I’m proud to have been able to participate because I discovered a world that I did not know and met great people within the Libbey company and selected bartenders.

We can talk about a Glassology Family 😉

Which cocktail book would you advise other bartenders to read? 

The “Cocktail Book” by Florian Thireau, a very talented and perfectionist French bartender.

This new technical and creative book has just been released in September 2020 and will become a must-have in our collection.

Which book would you read over and over again?  (cocktails or non-cocktails)

I’m going to get out of the bar industry and go to a geekier universe: the collection of “Saint Seiya” manga books. Ever since I was a child, I am a huge fan of this universe, which mixes mythology and fantasy.

If you could travel back in time, who would you like to meet and why?

I would love to be able to experience the beginning of the Moulin Rouge Paris and the years with the famous and extravagant nights!

If you could go back in time and change any existing/classic cocktail glass, which glass would you change and why?

To be honest …. I wouldn’t change any of them. It’s because of what has been created in the past that we have all these diverse cocktail glasses today.

All the inspirations from the past tell a story and I think it’s very important to preserve that heritage.

As Nolo, classic cocktails, simple serves were trending, what do you think will be the next trend?

A strong co-working between kitchen chefs and bartenders. Real teamwork to bring our industry to the same level as the one of the culinary industry.

We are living in an unprecedented time, how are you dealing with this?

When the confinement came, it forced me to stop professionally on the physical level and breathe a little because our industry requires a lot of physical effort: night shifts, long days, sometimes a few days off, and to be honest, it made me feel good. I really need it!

The Secret 8 was closed several months since March 2020; this stop allowed me to take a step back on my career and take stock of my progress: how I want to move forward, with whom, what I want to do and what I no longer wish to do…

This is a period of reflection, which is not easy, because it’s very complicated to project ourselves into the future, but we have to get out of our routine and try new things

Two points are very important in our industry and this pandemic proves it to us:

  • Hygiene and sanitary standards, particularly for all the homemade products, for example. Many venues now make their own syrups, infusions and sometimes even distillations. Still, all of this involves being blameless in the way we work because we have a responsibility towards our customers’ health. Hygiene and sanitary rules must be well respected, which is not always the case in some establishments.
  • Customer service: this is the base of our industry, we must not forget it and keep focusing on that point.

What did you miss the most during the lock-down?


Staying locked in a 15 square meter studio in Paris was not easy every day, but luckily, I had my little bunny Muxu with me J

What was the first thing you have done when the bars opened?

I went to the Copper Bay Bar to see my friend Aurélie and then had brunch at the Divine Bar with her on a Sunday! I love the brunch at “Divine” on Sundays, a must-try!

What will be the one major change in the Hospitality in general, after the pandemic?

Listen even more to our staff and make them feel good about their work environment, so that they can thrive. This pandemic reminds us of the importance of being there to support our staff in difficult times.

What can be an awesome invention that will emerge in the Hospitality from this crisis? (You can be silly here 😊, think science fiction)

Teleportation! No more planes, cars or trains to get around!

That could be amazing… to wonder where I could go for a good drink tonight? Asia, Europe, Oceania,…. and to be there in just a few seconds!!!

What tips will you give other bartenders and bar owners to prepare for the future?

Think less about the “star system” and keep focusing on respect, sharing and caring for each other.


Photo credit: Cédric Jappont

Diego Ferrari


The multifaceted Diego Ferrari, mixologist, author of the World Prized Book “Low Alcohol Cocktails-New Frontier in Mixology “ and creator of the famous community on Facebook ‘Cocktail Art’, shares the challenges across his career in the drinks industry. Teaching, learning, reinventing yourself are key to success in the industry.

How do you introduce yourself lately? 

Unfortunately, I don’t work in the bar anymore. I changed my role to Ambassador for Matusalem Rum but in any case, my introduction is easy “I’m the Rum Barista for Matusalem Rum”.

What made you want to focus on the drinks industry?

I was 18 and it was fun and sexy to be a bartender. In the meantime, the idea to stay in contact with people like this, was amazing.
Who is the person that inspired you the most?

To mention just one would not be ok for the rest, I had many mentors, who I met in the course of my career…. if I have to mention a few, I can say Dario Comini, Matteo Lussana, Ezio Falconi.
You are the author of the amazing ‘Low alcohol cocktails’ book, one of the most renowned books in the bar scene. What has inspired you to write it and how was it to team-up with Libbey for this project? 

The idea was inspired by my last work in Milano, in the Rotonda Bistro, where it was not possible to use spirits in the bar. We started this challenge in 2014 when the Low Abv world was not so popular. After four years of research and study, the editor of Bibliotheca Culinaria, asked me if I was interested to create a book with this topic. With the help of the photographer, the owner of Rotonda Bistro, and a friend of mine for 30 years, Pasquale Formisano, we decided to dive into this amazing experience! I decided to focus my book not only on the liquid ingredients, but to also feature one of the most important glass producers in the world, Libbey, showing how important the glass is in each and every creation behind the bar.
Talking about books, which book would you read over and over again?

Liquid Intelligence, by Dave Arnold
Which cocktail (you created) are you most proud of?

I created hundreds of cocktails during the course of my career and is not easy to say which one had the biggest success, but I’m probably the most proud of the Famedio, a twist of the classic Negroni with a touch of Hazelnuts liquor and Italian Amaro.
Which cocktail is the one you have made the most during the years?

Is impossible to remember….26 years behind the bar! LOL …In any case I suppose the top three would be: Spritz, Americano, Negroni.
What’s your favorite classic cocktail?


The most underestimated drink in the industry?

In this second golden age of cocktails a lot of mixology nerds started proposing that almost every cocktail was created in the last 150 years….from my side I think the cocktail Bronx is one of the less popular ones and maybe one of the most underestimated.

Which ingredient will be used far more in the future?

Not because I am working for Matusalem, but we have a lot of signals that Rum will be the next big spirit category!

If you could travel back in time, who would you like to meet and why?

If I get to travel back in time, I would love to meet some people that have made this world so incredible……Hemingway, Picasso, Martin Luther King, Einstein, etc…

If you could go back in time and change any existing/classic cocktail glass, which glass would you change and why?

In the past, there were only a few classic glass shapes and 99,9% of those glasses are still available and popular! I think we cannot change what is already perfect!

As Nolo, classic cocktails, simple serves were trending, what do you think will be the next trend?

In the years to come, the trend of Nolo will develop in different directions…. I suppose people will be more conscious about calories, vitamin intake and for sure the Covid19 will influence the culture of the drinks as well! How? Nobody knows at this moment….

Favorite glass shape to drink from? And Why?

Old Fashioned style! Nice quantity of liquid inside, you can play with different ice shapes, garnishes, etc…

Why is the glass that important for a drink?

Because of the first impression, visual effect…. a great glass can attract the attention of the people! A great glass prepares you for the importance of the cocktail inside.

What is your favorite Libbey glass?

The Hobstar – amazing glass, great quality, impact-resistant!

Glass: Durable or Fragile?

Durable for the Bar Owner point of view and Fragile for the glass producer…..the perfect match is somewhere in the middle!

We are leaving unprecedented days around the world, how are you dealing with this? Learning/ discovering/ reinventing?

Teaching, learning, reinventing! At Matusalem we started creating different approaches to be able to stay close to our colleagues…. live LIVE on IG, organizing Webinars, etc!

What did you miss the most during the lock-down?

Travel… if you think that in 2019 I did 75 trips and this last period I did maybe six, you can imagine!

What will be the one major change in the Hospitality in general, after the pandemic?

I think, now, we’ll go back to our roots…a lot of mixologists already understood that at this moment the most important thing is to innovate and that the customer comes first!
What can be an awesome invention that will emerge in the Hospitality from this crisis? (You can be silly here 😊, think science fiction)

Good question… If I think in an extreme way, I imagine that before the arrival of the vaccine, there could be an instant scanner that recognizes immediately if you are sick or not, without testing and doctors.
What tips will you give other bartenders and bar owners to prepare for the future?

Think “Different”.

Diego was the judge of the It’s Your Brand cocktail challenge, in which the winners have just been announced. Check it out!


Photo credit on the right: @overproofmedia 

Elliot Ball


One of the three founders of the British bar Cocktail Trading Co. talks “clever stuff” about life after lockdown. He has a degree in neuroscience and definitely knows flavor, he’s been consulting and managing venues for some time, all while having fun doing what he does.

How do you introduce yourself at the bar, when a new colleague joins the team?

In honesty, seeing as I’m in charge of recruitment at CTC and new team members almost always come through social channels, they basically always know that I’m the owner. That said, when I travel, I usually introduce myself as a bartender at CTC unless bar ownership is directly relevant to the meeting.

How did you spend the quarantine? Did you learn/ discover/ reinvent?

Oh, I’ve been busy. Once lockdown hit, the fundamental of running a business became more visible than ever in importance – outgoings and ingoings. The outgoings is the boring part, but we opened up channels with literally anyone to whom we owe money currently or regularly and began negotiations. Then there were the landlords and applying for governmental grants. While this is even more boring than you could believe, the support to the business from this is almost certainly greater than anything we could achieve in sales in the meantime. Still, the delivery cocktail service has been a success, and it’s been satisfying to develop it with a degree of thoroughness that I wouldn’t have been able to devote during the usual bar operation, and we plan to keep it going even when life gets back to ‘normal’, whatever that’ll mean…

What was the most awesome show you saw during the lockdown?

It’s all about context. Tiger King was what my mind needed during these times.

Best cocktail book written?

In terms of the greatest amount of learning available to people of varying levels of experience, I’d say Tristan Stephenson’s The Curious Bartender. For pure depth of knowledge, Kevin K Liu’s Craft Cocktails at Home. For the spirit of fun and service, Jason Wilson’s Boozehound.

The book you would read over and over again.

Hard to say. Recently enjoyed Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens and its sequels, which I basically treated as the same continuous book. There’s so much in there to learn that I can barely imagine ceasing repeated reads because I’ve got it all.

Which cocktail are you most proud of?

Recently, the Buchu Highball. I like it because it reflects the challenges we’re facing now but also offers solutions to those previously encountered that I missed. In short, it’s a drink that contains no fresh ingredients, is an unusual pairing of aromas but is simply well-balanced, while the intense carbonation allows it to be satisfying but also profitable – selling drinks to people at home means using their (usually not great… and usually enormous) glassware, so portion sizes naturally had to go up with prices going down to reflect the fact that they’re simply not having as good an experience as they would be in the bar – we can’t ignore that. Thus drinks like this became a focus for me. Meanwhile, it contains a tea, a whiskey, a seasoning syrup and water, and I make about 50 of them at once.

Which cocktail is the one you have made the most during the years?

Yeesh. Purely for volume, there’s a good chance my early years mean the top contender in numbers is a mojito. Possibly an Espresso Martini (or the Pharmaceutical Stimulant we had on the menu). Of our drinks, I’ve definitely made an obscene number of Sauvignon Private Ryan’s.

What’s your favorite classic cocktail?

Probably a Caipirinha. Just so simple, and the classic way(s) of making it usually creates something beautiful so long as no lazy compromises are involved. Whereas other favourites like Manhattans are frequently made, even in excellent bars, without a modern understanding of seasoning and thus don’t reach their potential.

The most underestimated drink in the industry?

Sidecar. Everyone likes to put it down, but like the Manhattan above, it just needs to be seasoned well, and then it’s bloody incredible. Who gives a crap if sugar isn’t a listed ingredient? Would using a sweeter curacao/triple sec have been a problem? Just add sugar.

Which ingredient will be used far more in the future?

Salt. Not to be braggy, as it’s not exactly my own discovery, but I’ve been advocating, here and everywhere, a modern approach to seasoning. While some things require very little, there isn’t a single consumable product in the world for which the correct amount of salinity is zero. Even a martini or a simple gin and tonic tastes better with a touch of salt. It’s in every single drink we put over the bar, and in almost all our consultancy drinks, too.

As Nolo, classic cocktails, simple serves were trending, what do you think will be the next trend?

With the current interruption to our industry and social lives, this is a tough one. Perhaps cynical, but when we reopen, there’s obviously going to be an emphasis on safety and cleanliness, so I have a feeling that brands advertising ‘clean’ flavours etc will capitalise on the loose linguistics involved – this could drive increased sales and demand into clear spirits. It’s based entirely on semantics and conjecture, but they’re pretty important to trends, if we’re honest.

Favorite glass shape to drink from? And why?

Oddly specific, but I love stemmed beer glasses, schooners, etc. I’m pretty much always in a happy place when one of them is touching my lips.

Why is the glass that important for a drink?

So many reasons. Glasses are at least a transporter of the experience you’re after – they’re also ambassadors, avatars, to the drinks and overall experience. Rarely do you get a considered choice of glassware, maintained well, and not have a good drinking experience. It partly supports the drink, but also demonstrates the degree of care with which it’s been designed/served.

Glass: Durable or Fragile?

Durable. I’m a practicality guy and don’t like to feel like I’m holding a butterfly in my hand.

What is your favorite Libbey glass?

If I were to define this question as an analysis of which glass has yielded me the greatest enjoyment, the answer would bizarrely but undeniably be the Radiant Cooler. I have a shelf in the freezer for them and it’s what a beer goes in after a long day/night. Pure satisfaction.

What did you miss the most during lock-down?

The orchestral chaos of a bar full of happy people – the inability to pick up any one bit of sound or dialogue that directly states happiness or satisfaction, but knowing that the sound reaching your ears is that of contentment, independent of language.

What would be the first thing you’ll change when the bar opens?

Probably my shoes. I’m at the bar seven days a week now with basically no customer contact and have fallen in love with those ridiculous glove-like running shoes that everyone hates on. There’s no way I could wear them in service and gain the trust of my customers in making drinks recommendations based on good taste.

What will never be the same in the bars after the pandemic?

Having a sneezing fit?

What can be an awesome invention that will emerge in the hospitality from this crisis?

Door-mounted laser thermometers → trapdoor → trebuchet. All jokes aside, someone’s being trying to sell me the first part.

What tips will you give other bartenders and bar owners to prepare for the future?

This is depressing, but, especially if you live in a country where the people are fiercely critical of their government’s (mis)handling of this crisis (UK and USA in particular), expect more lockdowns. The ‘global pandemic’ scare occurs in mainstream media every couple of years, and the next one to come along, if the media create enough hype (regardless of how dangerous the disease is), governments will probably need to react very strongly in order to avoid public outcry. I’m sad to say that I honestly think we can expect to be closed for a month or so every couple of years for a bit. So have plans for how your skillset/business can survive or capitalise on these circumstances. I could well be wrong, and indeed hope I am, but I’ll be developing this delivery model real hard in the meantime.

What will be the one major change in the Hospitality in general, after the pandemic?

The landscape of business is going to change hugely. Lots of places won’t survive, lots of investment might be deterred by the above, etc. Equally, the nature of relationships with landlords could completely change. I think operators are going to be a lot more hesitant, more aware of their fragility.

Philip Duff


Old Duff during Quarantine

Libbey’s industry friend Philip Duff chatted with us about lockdown in NYC, his road to success, favorite drinks and some future insights.

1. How do you introduce yourself at barshows?

What are barshows? Just kidding! Well, if I’m speaking at a barshow, I usually refer to my background in bartending, managing and owning bars, my current job helping liquor brands communicate better with the on-trade, and the brand I founded, Old Duff Genever. Short version: bartender, consultant, brand owner.

2. How did you spend the quarantine?

Still deep in it here in Manhattan as I write! Myself and my wife just didn’t go outside at all for the first 6-7 weeks, and since then ride bikes in Central Park once or twice a week. Slept in every day – no alarm clock! – wrote two education programs for clients, created a program for bartenders to create cocktails on video for another client, was interviewed a lot on Facebook and Instagram, started drinking lunchtime martinis, tried to support bars by ordering delivery & takeout cocktails, buying gift cards and donating to relief funds. Oh, and I was more diligent about my daily Duolingo in Spanish, and I started watching the Sopranos again from episode 1!

3. Who is the person that inspired you the most to join the drinks business?

Probably John Nealon, who gave me my first bar job in my hometown; he created this stylish, glamourous place in a tiny town and immediately I saw that world I wanted more.

4. Best cocktail book written?

Meehan’s Manual

5. The book you would read over and over again.

Creole Belle, or anything else by James Lee Burke.

6. Which cocktail (you created) are you most proud of?

I’ll get hauled before the Mixology Tribunal of the International Criminal Court in the Hague for this one, but I’m happy to still see the Vanilla Berry Capirinha on menus in Holland – last time I saw it on a menu was at Schiphol airport.

7. Which cocktail is the one you have made the most during the years?

Probably neck-and-neck between martinis and Martinezs, with manhattans a close third.

8. What’s your favorite classic cocktail?

Martinez, no question

9. The most underestimated drink in the industry?

Probably the Collins; I didn’t like it much either until I learned it was originally made with genever, which makes it transcendent.

10. Which ingredient will be used far more in the future?

Honkaku shochu, and baijiu.

11. As Nolo, classic cocktails, simple serves were trending, what do you think will be the next trend?

Zero-waste for sure, especially with products like SupaSawa which mean you don’t need the carbon footprint or eco-waste associated with fresh citrus.

12. Favorite glass shape to drink from? And Why?

A stemmed 4oz martini glass, but it has straight “walls”, not angled like the Art Deco V-shaped cocktail glass’ a bit like some of Libbey’s Acopa glasses. I’ll drink fine whiskey from a pint glass, though, if that’s the only glass available!

13. Why is the glass that important for a drink?

The glass consitutes a major part of the apparance of a drink, which is the first “taste’! It also plays a role in the actual quality of the drink, keeping it cold (or hot, depending on the glass) to the end.

14. Glass: Durable or Fragile?

Durable – our glasses get a lot of use so they need to be dishwasher-friendly!

15. Which bar did you miss the most during lock-down?

Probably the NoMad and The Dead Rabbit, both of which I’m well-known for frequenting.

16. What would be the first restaurant you will go to after the lock-down?

Ooooooh! Hadn’t even thought about The Outside World. Probably somewhere local just to start with, ansd also because I don’t think I’ll use public transport just yet or get a taxi: I love El Paso Restaurante near 103rd St in Harlem, close to where I live.

17. What would be the first destination you fly to?

A client is trying to still hold their global bar contest in 2020, so it might be Moscow!

18. What will be the one major change in the Hospitality, after the pandemic?

God, where to start? The single largest change will be that the entire central paradigm of hospitality – being in close contact with other, random people in an enclosed space – is now taboo, and both operators and brands will have to come up with ways both acknowledge and move past that, while still running a profitable business.

Luke Whearty


A cocktail and industry mastermind is coming home. After working in Singapore for almost 4 years, and receiving more than 10 awards in 3 years’ time, Luke Whearty is heading to his hometown Melbourne to open up his new project BYRDI. Luke is known as one of the most forward thinking persons in the Industry and his BYRDI bottles can already be found in bars around the world. With is mind set to focus on only local ingredients we can expect some of the most unique Australian cocktails to be found in Melbourne soon. Will he be recreating his mums homemade Baileys for his bar? One of Luke’s guilty pleasures…

Interview Luke Whearty

  1. What kind of education did you do before you ended up in the drinks industry?
    Went to Coffs Harbour High School in N.S.W and the went on to study a Bachelor of Psychology at Southern Cross Univeristy.
  2. What made you want to focus on the drinks industry?
    At first it was just a job that I found myself liking because I could work nights and then surf all day. Slowly the creative side of bartending and making drinks took over though and I decided to make a career out of it.
  3. Who is the person that inspired you the most?
    So many people to be honest but I would have to say my younger brother and my childhood friends. Growing up I was always surrounded by inspirational and creative people.
  4. Best cocktail book written?
    The Modern Cocktail by Matt Whiley
  5. Best Non-cocktail book you would advise everybody.
    Perfume, Story of a Murderer by Patrick Susskind.
  6. Which cocktail are you most proud of?
    Its actually a drink inspired by the above book called Perfume. It’s a gin based cocktail with lavender, citrus and distilled jasmine and it basically tastes and smells like fresh jasmine blossoms and is Spring in a glass. I love it because Jasmine is only blooming a few weeks a year so we only serve it during this time. Its gives us something to look forward to each Spring.
  7. What’s your favorite classic cocktail to drink?
  8. What’s the most easy and tasteful drink to make and drink?
    Also the Americano.
  9. Favorite glass to drink from?
    Wine glass
  10. Why is a glass that important for a drink?
    The glass contributes so much to a drink. From aroma to even the feel of it in your hand it all influences the experience.
  11. Glass: Durable or Fragile?
    Hah hah as a bar owner I would say durable. As a customer I would say fragile.
  12. Glass: Classic and simple or outspoken?
    I think a bit of both. You can be outspoken but still remain classic and simple.
  13. Of which achievement are you most proud?
    The birth of my son Bronson.
  14. You’re going to open up a new bar soon in Melbourne; Byrdi. How is this bar going to be different than your other bars?
    I guess the biggest difference is it will be truly seasonal and have a strong sense of provenance. For example we may only use certain ingredients that are at their peak for a few weeks in the year. We will also be using a lot of different preservation techniques and using fermentation to our advantage to use things from previous seasons. Basically it will be a bar that you have to come and visit to experience because it wont be able to be replicated anywhere else.
  15. What style of cocktails will you be serving?
    We will be stripping things back quite a bit so in appearance the drink may seem simple but it will actually be quite complex. For example on of the drinks we are working on is simply called Apples & Pears and will be based entirely around those two ingredients but manipulated in a variety of ways such as being smoked, distilled, fortified and fermented all the while using specific varieties of fruit from local orchards.
  16. What style of glassware will you be using in your bar?
    Our glassware style will be quite minimalistic and understated to allow the liquid inside to really shine however there will be a strong focus on having glassware that not only compliments the drink aromatically but also offers something in terms of texture and how it feels in the hand.
  17. What is your main goal of your new bar?
    To showcase the amazing and diverse produce that we have here in Australia that is grown by the passionate farmers and producers that quite often don’t get the credit they deserve for their hard work.
  18. The most underestimated drink in the industry?
    It is possibly our greatest resource as a society and its importance is often underestimated. Also on a basic level in hospitality its surprising to me how often people don’t provide water to their guests. In my opinion it is an absolute must.
  19. What’s your guilty pleasure drink?
    Baileys, my mums homemade stuff though, not the commercial one.
  20. Which ingredient will be used far more in the future?
    Anything local. I think people are starting to shift their mentality in regards to exotic imported ingredients. Because of the nature of globalization these ingredients aren’t as exotic anymore as they are more readily accessible. People are going back to using what is growing around them and creating unique experiences around that.
  21. How will the current and future trends chance the current bar industry?
    I think as I said above. Using local and seasonal ingredients to create ever evolving and adapting menus that create unique experiences that cant be replicated in other parts of the world. People will be given a reason to explore again.
  22. What’s your opinion on the whole simplicity trend?
    The idea that less is more even though its kind of a trend at the moment its something that has been around for ages. A great example of this is the wabi sabi philosophy pioneered by Japanese tea masters as early is the 15th Which finds beauty in simplicity and imperfection.
  23. What your favorite bar to visit yourself?
    Here in Melbourne it is a bar called Above Board by Hayden Lambert. Internationally it is Scout in London by Matt Whiley.
  24. Which restaurant would you recommend to everybody?
    Here in Melbourne it is a restaurant called Lesa by chef Dave Verheul internationally Lyles in London by chef James Lowe.
  25. If you could go back in time and change any existing/classic cocktail glass, which glass would you change and why?
    If I had the ability to go back in time changing a cocktail glass would be the least of my concerns.
  26. If you could travel back in time, who would you like to meet and why?
    Id go back to meet myself to give the younger version of myself the heads-up on a couple of things.
  27. After simplicity and the non-alcoholic trend, what will be the next big thing?
    Local, local, local.


Luke Whearty & Aki Nishikura are bar operators, restaurant innovators and drink creators. Creativity is evident in everything they do, and they do it with passion. Between them they have over 20 years’ experience. And what an experience it’s been. They’ve travelled far and wide, each new place shaping them along the way, and ultimately leading to their latest venture, BYRDI.

There’s a bar on the horizon, and BYRDI bottled cocktails are already available in selected bars and restaurants.

Luke and Aki have travelled the world and gained a wealth of accolades along the way. They’re at the forefront of forward-thinking minds in the world of bartending, and have presided over some of the most progressive drinking programs.

Luke cut his teeth (so-to-speak) at the internationally acclaimed Der Raum, as head bartender, winning multiple awards.

2009 – Winner – Cocktail List of the Year, Australian Bartender Awards
2010 – Winner – Cocktail Bar of the Year, Australian Bartender Awards
2011 – Winner – Cocktail List of the Year, Australian Bartender Awards
2012 – Ranked No. 1 – World’s Best Bars
2012 – 3 Glass Rating – The Age Good Bar Guide

Luke then made the move to South East Asia where he worked alongside Chef Ryan Clift at the highly acclaimed Tippling Club. While Aki trained under her father Hiro Nishikura, at arguably Melbourne’s best traditional sushi restaurant, Shira Nui. Coming back together they joined forces again in Singapore opening Oxwell & Co in 2013, with celebrated chef Mark Sargeant. After establishing this as a mainstay in Singapore’s bar and restaurant scene, they went on to open a trail blazing cocktail bar by the name of Operation Dagger.

Created in a basement space, Operation Dagger is an experimental and innovative bar, pushing boundaries with new equipment, culinary influences and techniques. In its first few years of trade, it made waves around the world.

2015 – Winner – Best New Bar, Singapore Bar Awards
2015 – Top Ten – Best New Intl. Cocktail Bar, Tales of the Cocktail
2015 – Top 30 – Greatest Bars in the World, Conde Nast Traveller
2015 – 57th Best Bar in the World – Drinks International
2016 – Winner – Most Creative Cocktail Program, Singapore Bar Awards
2016 – 7th Best Bar in Asia – Asia’s 50 Best Bars
2016 – 21st Best Bar in the World – World’s 50 Best Bars
2017 – 6th Best Bar in Asia – Asia’s 50 Best Bars
2017 – 24th Best Bar in the World – World’s 50 Best Bars
2018 – Top Ten – Intl. Bartender of the Year, Luke Whearty, Tales of the Cocktail

2018 – Top Ten – Best Intl. Cocktail Bar, Tales of the Cocktail

B Y RD I (Melbourne, Australia)

Luke and Aki’s latest creation has taken them back to their hometown Melbourne, Australia. It’s still in the making opening soon in September 2019, but you can expect the local environment to inform the drinks at the new bar, and a concept that’s uniquely Australian. BYRDI bottled cocktails are already stocked in selected bars and restaurants, so get a taste of what’s to come, early.

Wilson Pires

Wilson Pires


A Portuguese bartender that has been getting his recognition in the Bar industry -through his creative cocktail presentations, menus designs and the development of full bar concepts.

He is part of the Libbey family since we met him in 2014, as the winner of the Portuguese contests “Barman of the Year” and vintage which was sponsored by Libbey during Lisbon Bar Show. He participated in the second edition of Glassology by Libbey Design contest, where he reached the semi-finals. In Lisbon Bar Show in 2017, we invited him to perform a guest shift in the Libbey stand, where he created surprising and tasty cocktail combinations.

Wilson has been all over the world as a guest behind bars and lately traveling to learn more about the different cultures, meeting new people and exploring new gastronomies, to inspire and make the difference for people in his own community.

Following is the interview where you can read Wilson’s statement and bio.

1. What kind of education did you have before you ended up in the drinks industry?

I have a degree in Tourism

2. What made you want to focus on the drinks industry?

Like most part of the people from our industry, I also ended-up here by accident. I first started because I joined a Cruise Line company, where I could travel and work at the same time. During that period of time, I felt in love for this liquid art form, that is created to deliver so many good moments and smiles to my guests. So, I decide to work on becoming the best professional I could be and make my leaving from it.

3. Who is the person that inspired you the most?

I had the chance to work with incredible professionals and human beings. I would not be fair if I mention only one name, I would pick someone from a completely different industry that is an Idol for me: Sam the Kid. A Portuguese rapper that change his scene and is an inspiration for so many generations. I aspire to be like him in my industry someday.

4. Which moment in your career changed your life?

In 2014, when I won the competition ‘Barman of the Year’ in Portugal. In that moment, the cocktail scene was growing super-fast in Portugal and was lucky to be one of the faces of that change, together with so many other colleagues that I admire like Paulo Gomes, Sandro Pimenta, Zé Robertson, Emanuel Miñez and a few more great people.

5. Best cocktail book written?

I’m not a big fan of cocktail’s books … I read a lot, but not only with ‘cocktail focus’. If I need to pick-up something related with our industry, the service industry, I would name and recommend the ‘Be our Guest – Performing the art of customer service’ by Disney Institute itself. Because hospitality is the base of our job.

6. Best Non-cocktail book you would advise everybody?

‘Death with interruptions’ by the Noble Prized Portuguese writer José Saramago. Simply incredible.

7. Which cocktail are you most proud of?

More than the cocktail is the concept around it. Was made for a cocktail competition and is called ‘Trilogy’; where I would have 3 kinds of Classic Martinis (Vodka with a Twist, Gin Martini and Dirty Martini) in the same glass.
7.a. And which ingredients does it have?
Inside the glass a simple combination of a homemade ‘White Port Vermouth’ and Vodka. And outside the glass is where the magic happens. Three different dusts on the rim, side by side, one made out of Citrus (twist), Olives (dirty) and Juniper Berries (gin). That cocktail gave me the trophy and as prize, I got the opportunity to go to Ibiza for a few days. Not bad at all…

8. What’s your favourite classic cocktail to drink?

So many hard questions…ah…ah…ah. I can always enjoy a great Sweet Manhattan. And, because I always like to bring some Portuguese with me, I recommend you all to try it with a mid-sweet Madeira wine, instead of vermouth. It’s delicious.

9. What’s the most easy and tasteful drink to make and enjoy?

I would go with the same answer. Sweet Manhattan.

10. Favourite glass to drink from?

The one with a tasty drink inside. Ah…ah…ah

11. Why is a glass that is important for a drink?

Because it is the body of the soul that is the drink. You can use it to shape it, to highlight something, or hide its imperfections.

12. Glass: Durable or Fragile?

Durable. I’m too clumsy for fragile glassware.

13. Glass: Classic and simple or outspoken?

Outspoken for sure.

14. Why have you been traveling lately around the world? What do you hope to learn with these travels?

My goal with these travels is to learn more about different cultures, meet new people and explore new gastronomies.

15. You are often using the #neverjustcreateinspire. Why?

Because my goal in live isn’t to create something that will turn me into to the best bartender ever, neither to win all the prizes in the world. I want to have a chance to inspire people by making the difference in my community. I want to change people’s lives by sharing with them my experience and make them better professionals and human beings. I want to have this idea shared among a large group of people, so that they can keep going with it and help other people turning our industry, community, country, world a better place to be.

16. When you finish the traveling, what is the next step?

I have a lot of ideas in my mind, but I don’t know when that time will come.

17. What style of cocktails you prefer to serve?

It doesn’t really matter to me. That is a time, place and people for everything. More than a style, I like to think about strange combinations and surprise people. But not always, not everywhere, not for everybody.

18. What type of glassware has your preference?

I like something that can be elegant, simple and outspoken, all together.

19. Is there any glass style you consider that is missing in the market? Which one and why?

You need to wait for my registration for the next ‘Glassology’. Ah…ah…ah

20. You often use other type of recipients (not glassware) to make your cocktails. Why?

I always like to develop conceptual drinks/menus. It’s not better or worse than the other styles, is just what I like. So, the recipes, the vessel, the inspiration, the way how is served, everything is part of something bigger and need to make sense all together. That is the reason. Like I said, the body (glass) need to represent the soul (cocktail).

21. As you know, we have a glassware contest in Libbey that you already participate. What is your general opinion about it, since the main purpose is to create your own glass?

I loved it. It’s a fantastic way to invite bartenders to think about different bar’s aspects, that a lot of times we have them for taken and we don’t really believe we can make our own design.

22. The most underestimated drink in the industry?

Old Fashioned. It’s simple that a lot of bartenders don’t understand its balance and a lot of time taste terrible because there is no focus on its creation.

23. What’s your guilty pleasure drink?

A delicious Miami Vice toped-up with champagne. You can’t beat that! Ah…ah…ah

24. Which drink you prefer when not drinking any alcohol?

I drink a lot of tea. Now, in Brazil, I drink a lot of fresh coconut water as well.

25. Which ingredient will be used far more in the future?

I need to pick an entire category for this answer: Super foods.

26. How will the current and future trends change the existing bar industry?

The awareness of our guests about the problems that the alcohol of poor quality can bring, as well as the consumption of this one in big amounts, are leading the consumers for a different kind of drinking. Less quantities but with more quality.

27. What’s your opinion on the whole simplicity trend?

It is what it is. In all kinds of arts, we’ve seen this happening. From painting to music and architecture. How should this art form be different? I believe that the most important thing is that everybody finds the style they prefer, learn it, improve it and share it with everybody so we can all grow and learn together

28. What your favourite bar to visit yourself? Not being one of your own?

I love bars where I can have a nice drink, food and good talk. One of my favourite bars in the world is Tales & Spirits, in Amsterdam. I know, I worked there, and I loved it!

29. Which restaurant would you recommend to everybody?

I’ll Gallo D’oro in Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal. Was probably the best meal I had this year.

30. If you could go back in time and change any existing/classic cocktail glass, which glass would you change and why?

I think glass designs have been developed for many, many centuries. A cocktail glass is just a reflection of what generations of people have been using to drink. They’ve been thought for so long… Who am I to change it?
Plus, they’ve been changing year by year, but in the end the essence is always the same.

31. If you could travel back in time, who would you like to meet and why?

I would love to meet Julio Cesar, the Roman imperator, to have a chance to see next to him a fight at the Colosseum. I know, it wasn’t something pretty, and I’m not a martial art sports guy myself, but I can’t even imagine the energy of that place in a moment like that! Should be surreal.

32. After simplicity and the non-alcoholic trend, what will be the next big thing?

I think the next trend will be focused on service. How to turn our work more interactive with the guest and really make them be part of the experience.

33. Best advice you can give to young bartenders?

Don’t be focused in making delicious drinks, learn how to be e good person for your family, friends, colleagues. Learn how to treat and host people and if you work hard the rest will happen to you naturally.

Wilson Pires