Forgot password?
Enter your information

Social networks

Please hold your phone upright

Lorenzo Antinori

Signature Cocktail
16 years
Experience

Bar codex Lorenzo Antinori

I spent 5 years in London and was searching for new opportunities. Of course, I was always looking towards Asia – it’s a giant, growing market. Naturally, Korea didn’t seem to me to be the most obvious choice, but when I was offered the chance to head the bar program at Four Seasons, I knew that it would be stupid to refuse.

 

At the beginning, it was tough – everything wasn’t like it was in Europe. The most difficult was the language. In London, I didn’t have problems in communicating with my team or with my guests. Now I’m learning Korean, but the results aren’t promising. It reminds me of university – I was a very bad student then. For now I’ve mostly learned greetings and the most basic phrases.

 

Much of what we’re used to in Europe is absolutely impermissible here. Here, there’s a completely different approach to everything. Here people value respect, hierarchy, and rules. Relationships with guests are very formal, and personal questions are absolutely not welcome. For example, the question “how was your day?” is considered out of place.

In Europe, we’re used to seeing the bartender as a character, an artist. They can express themselves vividly. Here, the bartender is a master, a craftsman – they need to carry themselves with reserve and seriousness. But we try to introduce elements of Western culture. Our bartenders are very colorful, and try to break the ice and communicate with guests at a closer distance.

 

When I’m behind the bar, everyone’s usually terribly curious. Here, people aren’t used to seeing a foreigner working in a bar or restaurant. Guests are very shy but they show their interest. If I see that a guest is comfortable, I cross the line, start talking with him, and even ask that same question – “how was your day?”

 

Mainly, our guests are guests of the hotel. I see them 5 or 6 nights in a row, and I know everything about them: if they have families, what they don’t eat… It helps to create a really personal contact.

 

Usually, guests expect something very formal when they come into our bar: one of those boring hotel bars, where grandmas drink tea or cherry. But today, the hotel bar is a place for energy and creativity. It’s a global trend: many of the best bars in the world are hotel bars. I’m very happy about that.

 

Usually, a big hotel has more than 500 employees. Working in a hotel bar is like living in a little separate universe. You know everyone, everyone knows you, and everyone is practically living under one big roof and working towards a common goal.

 

From childhood, I was a “clown,” no matter who I was with. I understood very quickly that a bartender would be a good fit for me: music, girl, and new friends.

 

The majority of my colleagues, just like me, didn’t learn anywhere. Experience came through blood, sweat, and tears.

 

I made my first mojito with tonic instead of soda water. Thankfully, the guest never noticed it.

 

I studied to be a lawyer, but I didn’t finish college. I saw a lot of sad lawyers in the bar. So I never regretted that I didn’t become one of them. It’s important to love what you do. It’s probably more prestigious to be a lawyer than a bartender, but for me, it’s more important to be happy.

 

I don’t think that our profession will someday become as well-respected as the chef’s profession. We’re selling alcohol, after all, and what can you do – that’s bad for your health.

 

Cocktails aren’t the most important thing in our work. Cocktails are just several mixed ingredients. Sorry to my colleagues, but if you have a recipe, anyone can make a cocktail. A good bartender is the one who cares about every single detail, starting from the air temperature in the room and ending with the staff’s clothes.

 

When I come to a bar as a guest myself, the first thing I look at is how I’m greeted. Imagine that you’re introducing your mother to your boyfriend. If he’s awkward and says hello in a surly way, it’ll be hard to convince mom otherwise. The first impression is always the most important. If I don’t feel that people are happy to see me when I walk into a bar, I won’t return.

 

My style is me and my charisma. But if we’re talking about cocktails, I like being progressive but respecting tradition. I would call it the “evolution of traditions.” I do interesting and contemporary cocktails, but comprehensible ones. At the end of the day, guests should like your cocktails and they should bring in money.

 

Most often, I search for inspiration in my colleagues and in other bars. It’s not plagiarism at all, but inspiration, searching for ideas, and my own development of those ideas.

 

The hardest thing for me is leading a team, and being overall confident enough for the team to understand me. Of course, all of my subordinates speak English, but the majority of them, for instance, never left the country. For that reason, there are a lot of barriers and misunderstandings. It’s not their problem or task at all, it’s mine: find the right words and explain to them what I want.

 

My goal is to make the bar better and better every day.

Signature Hit Lorenzo Antinori cocktail Far eastern gimlet

Signature Hit Lorenzo Antinori cocktail Far eastern gimlet

You have disabled javascript in your browser. Our web site can not work properly without it.Enable it, please.