Groups Bar Manager at art'otel

Alessandro Mannello

How did you get started in bartending and what inspired you to pursue this career?

My dad opened a pub in Bologna, mu hometown, in 1996. Differently from UK, in Italy pubs are not so widely spread, and my dad’s pub was the first one in town. I grew up there. Every evening I wanted to be there, between the kegs, bottles of wines and sprits. That was my playground. I made my first cocktail when I was 6, a Brandy Alexander. I had to wait 12 years to taste my first cocktail, but I will never forget that day, the excitement while mixing the ingredients and shaking the cocktail. My family always wanted me to pursue a different career – I even tried working in banking for 6 months – but since I was 6, since that Brandy Alexander I knew what I wanted to do one day. Making that mixing spirits my own career.

What excites you most about working behind the bar and creating drinks?

The atmosphere, the vibes, the surprise of the guests when you crate a bespoke drink tailored to their taste. The most exciting part is trying to read your guests, trying to get into their mind to understand what they are looking for, what’s their taste and then come up with something they’ve never tried before, but that perfectly fits what they wanted.

Which ingredient or garnish do you believe transforms a good drink into a great one?

I’m not a big fun of garnishes. I believe that a garnish should be extremely minimal. Great drinks don’t even need a garnish. It’s like a good wine, despite the eye wants it’s part, it’s all about the liquid. But one ingredient that can make the difference is a good Vermouth. A Good vermouth as a Good Tequila, can make the difference in a drink.

Can you give us a sneak peek into the process of developing new cocktails for the menu?

I absolutely love cooking. If I didn’t love drinks this much I would have definitely pursued a career in the kitchen. When creating a drink, I always start from 1 or 2 ingredients, often food related, and then I proceed adding the spirits. The result needs to be a balance of 2/3 main flavours which ideally hits your palate in 2/3 different stages. And the whole is balanced by the right amount of sweetness, bitterness, and acidity.

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JOIA Behind the Pass x Masaki Sugisaki

On Thursday May 30th, Henrique Sá Pessoa & the JOIA team welcome Masaki Sugisaki, Executive Chef at Dinings SW3 in Chelsea as our 1st guest in the JOIA Behind the Pass series of chef collaborations where Henrique collaborates with internationally acclaimed guest chefs, crafting a unique menu available for one night only for £120pp.