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Bartender's choice

Our team of mixologists are continually experimenting and innovating to craft our cocktails. Learn more about our bartenders and the tales behind their cocktails

Introducing: Gianluca Panzica

This month’s Bartender’s Choice is the Pink Protocol from our Distinctively Dirty cocktail range and has been selected by Bar Supervisor at Hanover Square, Gianluca. Here Gianluca tells us why this is his favourite, followed by questions about his career and passion for mixology.

Pink Protocol

Ocho Reposado Tequila and Briottet Crème de Coquelicot are shaken with agave nectar, fresh lime juice, guava juice, Peychaud bitters, fresh dragon fruit and lemon thyme


Where are you from and where do you live now?

I grew up in Sicily and have been living in London for the past three years. I was studying business and tourism whilst working in IT which was really boring! Now I live with a bunch of fun flatmates in Stockwell.


What is your role at Dirty Martini and which bar do you work in?

I currently work as a Bar Supervisor in Hanover Square, with a team of four talented Bartenders.


How long have you worked at Dirty Martini?

Two years! I started out as a Bar Back in the St Pauls venue with their opening team, then was promoted to Bartender after three months, then supervisor soon after. I also spent a few months working at Bishopsgate before being moved here to Hanover Square.


What is your favourite cocktail and why?

The Pink Protocol of course! It’s a really curious blend of ingredients like poppy liquor and lemon thyme that produces a perfectly balanced flavour profile. Because of the name, I also like that it encourages girls to order a tequila-based cocktail which is something we don’t get that often.

Other than that, I really love the blueberry and basil mojito as the mint/basil switch is a really inventive idea and works really well in the drink.


What piece of cocktail/bar equipment can you not live without and why?

This is a tough question, and I think I’ll have to be controversial and say all of them! Here at Dirty Martini we work with a good quality but basic kit, as we’re strong believers that you don’t need any of the fancy stuff to make a good cocktail.


Tell us about your bar career so far…

When I moved to London, I started work as a hotel receptionist while I found my feet in the city. After about a year I started getting really bored and felt like I was losing my identity, so applied for a job working as a bar back in the opening team at Dirty Martini St Pauls. From there, I realised how much I wanted to learn the art of bartending, so started reading all the books I could find about cocktails, spirits and drink making, as well as coming in early before my shifts to practice behind the bar. After three months I was promoted to bar tender, and I still read every day to try and improve my skills and knowledge.


Who is your inspiration in the bar world?

People who put their heart and soul into what they do. You can really see how much care and love they put into the basic building of the drink, like cleaning the glass, squeezing the lime and serving it with pride. For me, I think all famous bartenders are the same – unless they make me a drink so I can have proof they always put passion into what they do!


Aside for Dirty Martini, what are your favourite bars in the UK and beyond?

I’m a huge fan of smaller, quieter bars where the bartenders really get the chance to take care of their customers. There’s a tiny place in Chelsea where they take about 10 minutes to make a Spritz, but you can taste the love in every single drink they make. I’m a bit hesitant to tell you the name as it’s a serious hidden gem! For somewhere with good atmosphere, La Perla in Covent Garden is always a good night out.

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