After his first gin fizz, Alessandro Pizzoli headed to Istituto Alberghiero to master the art of mixology. Now, the Italian Aperol-Sour lover keeps guests coming to The Kensington Hotel for his cool custom cocktails. Here’s how you can do it too
Learn the basics
The best way to learn the art of mixology is through a combination of theory, practice and passion.
From recipe books, magazines and blogs you can gain an understanding of the basics and also be inspired by new concepts and developments in the cocktail world. However, learning through practice, participating in competitions and observing other mixologists at work allows you to develop and enhance your own technique.
Tools and theatre
Using on-trend equipment enables a mixologist to showcase their skills and artistic flair. With the right tools, the techniques of stirring, shaking and straining create a captivating and theatrical display. The latest equipment has a strong Japanese influence, which gives way to elegance and precision. Individuals want to see their favourite mixologist or bartender because they are drawn to their personality, passion and charisma – it is a skill in itself to engage with the customer.
Ingredients for success
The use of dry ice, sparklers, extravagant garnishing and intricate or unusual glassware really brings a cocktail to life. The infusion of different herbs and spices that are not commonly found or used in traditional cocktail making, such as lavender or saffron, give the final product a distinctive flavour. Using ingredients that are perceived to be expensive, such as champagne or edible 24-carat gold, is also a top trend.
Be fresh but efficient
I do not pre-make any cocktail mixture or pre-cut any fruit for garnishing — every cocktail I create is fresh, made-to-order and tailored to the customer’s individual tastes. To keep the process as efficient as possible, it is vital to prepare your equipment, stock levels (of alcohol, ingredients, glassware) and to ensure that the bar team is organised during service.
The art of cocktail making is all about creating a memorable, signature experience for an individual. I like to get to know the guests and build up a rapport with them — that way I am able to make bespoke cocktails suited to their tastes and mood. We also host cocktail master classes for guests to learn the basic cocktail-making techniques and concoct their own cocktail creations. At the hotel, we offer an exclusive, personal mixologist service, whereby guests may request the mixologist to go up to their rooms and prepare a custom cocktail.