Originally from Pignola, a small hill-top village at the centre of the Basilicata region in southern Italy, Giancarlo Mancino has spent his life working with the very best of the craft bar and restaurant industry, becoming one of the world’s most awarded and respected bartenders. He now comes to share the fruit of his 20 years of experience behind the counter at Bar Sauvage, the Maona Monte-Carlo Cocktail Bar.
Discover his interview !
How did you come to work in the world of bars and mixology?
Giancarlo Mancino : As a child I was always in my mother’s kitchen mixing whatever soft drinks she had. Very inquisitive as to what flavours I might create, from Fanta and Cola to 7up and sugar syrup, quite frankly none were palatable but a hell of a lot of fun!
Thank goodness I’ve improved slightly!
With 20 years of experience, how would you define your approach to mixology today?
G.M. : 30 years ago, and not in my mother’s Kitchen, the bar counter opened up to a whole new world for me and from then on learning and creating on a daily basis became my school. Mastering the classics was a must back then and still is to this day, trends come and go but they still remain, albeit maybe tweaked here and there. The spirits world is forever growing and always beckoning creation.
How important is the role of Bel Paese in your mixology?
G.M. : Very much so now, however as a younger bartender it was exciting using new and foreign ingredients but luckily for me Italy has some of the best produce being offered today and as an Italian, I like to support my country and it’s industries, I think my brands speak volume!
What role will you play at Maona Monte-Carlo?
G.M. : Consultanting for Maona includes, main beverage programs, signature cocktails and bar design.
What led you to specialise in the art of vermouth and what are the qualities of a good vermouth?
G.M. : I made my vermouths because as a serious bartender I found myself at a check mate between the very few brands that existed back then, don’t get me wrong, they are are superb but I needed to crest my own taste, my own way and my unique offerings, hence I decided to make my lines in mind of the classics and new masterpieces to follow.
A good Vermouth is all about ingredients and the perfect balance.
What flavours and values guided you in the composition of the Mancino Vermouths?
G.M. : As mentioned above, Italian ingredients dictated the creations but my travels around the world opened up a new school of learning with ingredients that make my vermouth what it is today.
In addition to Mancino Vermouths, you are also the creator of Rinomato Aperitivo and Sei Bellisimi... From Vermouth to Aperitivo, from Bitter to Sparkling Cocktail, what does the art of the aperitif mean to you?
G.M. : Everything! It’s the most important Italian I get together.
I remember as a child, Vermuttino, vermouth and soda, was served every Sunday at my grandmothers house after church.
How do the ‘art of the party’ and the ‘art of the cocktail’ mix?
G.M. : The better the cocktails to more memorable the party, the mastermind an entertaining experience, one must know the clientele, from there it’s straight sailing!
Which aperitifs and cocktails can we expect to see on the Bar Sauvage menu? Negroni, Vesper, Bellini, Rossini... ?
G.M. : A good selection of tap cocktails in low ABV aperitivo style, vintage Negronis, South of France, North West Italian influence cocktails.
Is there a special connection between musical ambiance and your cocktails?
G.M. : Music plays a huge addition to any setting and moment, from Jazz, Blues and Puccini to Madonna and of course it can also dictate which drink to which ambience, relaxing by the pool, something tall and cool to fine dining and beach party or club, fine wines, classic cocktails and the list is endless
What is the most chic and glamorous cocktail for you and why?
G.M. : Too many to choose from really, I believe it differs from person to person, taste to taste. Gibson and Negroni are always on top and just like music triggering a memory, I also think cocktails do the same. History always repeats itself.
Through your selection of cocktails for the menu, what stories would you like to tell Bar Sauvage's clientele (for example, the tradition of Italian mixology with a touch of innovation?)
G.M. : Stories, knowledge and culture of South of France and North West of Italy
Can you tell us a little more about the Negroni Monte-Carlo 1956?
G.M. : A Combination of London dry Gin from the 50’s, bitter from 1956 and an Italian vermouth from the same year. A fine collection of those three have been allocated for Maona already.