Working in a cocktail bar has always been Laura Marnich’s dream ever since she was still in school. In 2005, she took a brave step by moving to London to learn and work in professional cocktail bars, though she didn’t know a single word of English. From then on, the Italian lady spread her wings in the mixology world and, today, she is one of the renowned mixologists and the Group Head Bar Manager of Zuma, Dubai.
From your experience, what is the key to be a good mixologist?
Be humble. It’s very important because we never finish learning. Be open minded to new things is also the key because we work with people, with staff, with guest, with brands, with suppliers. Sometimes, I spend a day just to talk to people before I go behind the bar. Last, go deep into the details and be passionate about it.
Do you have any tips to make an interesting cocktail?
Try to choose the specific flavor that you want first then use the alcohol product as a part of it. You don’t have to think that the drink has to be made from vodka or gin or rum or tequila. Instead, think about one flavor in your mind that you want to extract and turn it into liquid. Then, think about how you make it work in a cocktail, how can you make it in few ingredients, how can you make it fast, what technique you will use, how you present it, then what alcohol can elevate it the best.
How do you differentiate the drinks for female and male?
I don’t differentiate much. What I try to understand is if they want something strong or light and if they just start to drink a cocktail or they have drunk it for a long time. I think ladies really have a taste and a lot of them appreciate old fashion cocktails. It tends to be stronger for guys but that guideline sometimes is just not true, so it depends. Ladies also drink straight, maybe they don’t drink as many as the gentleman but they do and they like it.
What do you think about the global cocktail trend nowadays?
The global trend is having a clear and minimalist drink. The drink that full of flavor but in almost transparent liquid and use as fewer ingredients as possible, that’s the thing now. There are a lot of techniques, a lot of things but you only mix two or three ingredients maximum.
What are your favorite classic cocktails?
Sazerac cocktail is one of my drinks. Sazerac, as long as it’s old fashion, is an incredible drink. Another classic I really really like is whiskey sour, the category of the sours. It’s a little bit light and it has citrus, I love sours. Another type of drinks is Singapore Sling but in a little bit not sweet, a little bit light and dry style. Lately, I also like Eye Ball because it’s simple, refreshing, not necessarily full of booze.