[:it]Daniele Gentili: the experiences behind the counter, the consultancy and other projects[:]



Forty-five year old of Roman origin, Daniele Gentili is a bartender who, after having worked for 25 years behind the bar with important results - finalist of Bacardi Legacy, World Class Competition, Diplomático World Tournament and Nikka Perfect Serve - has decided to leave it partly to dedicate himself to new and stimulating projects.


When did you start entering the mixing industry and when did you realize it would be yours?

I started having my first experiences in bars and cocktail bars when I was at university, at the age of 20, to pay for my studies. After 20 exams out of 29 in Engineering, I left to dedicate myself entirely to my passion. My first important project was the opening, together with my brother, of the Bosco delle Fate gastropub, in Marino, in the Castelli Romani. The venue was organized on two floors, with graphics inspired by the book Fairy Tales for Little People by Labirinth set designer Elliott Scott.


After your first adventure, did you dedicate yourself to Italy or did you prefer abroad?

After the Bosco delle Fate, I had some experience as a waiter, barback and barman in other places in Rome, such as Solea, one of the first to offer quality mixing, the fish market of Sor Duilio - the first in Italy to serve cocktails - and the Micca Club. In 2014 I moved to London, where I opened two doors: Demon, Wise & Partners and Gastrovino & Bar8. Having returned from the United Kingdom, in 2016 I started working at Marco Martini Restaurant, a starred restaurant where I worked for 2 and a half years, covering the role of bar manager.


Since January you have left the counter and work at Italicus. How did the collaboration come about?

At events I met the owner of ItalSpirits – a marketing, events and brand activation agency, specialized in providing specialized consultancy, sole owner of Italicus – Giuseppe Gallo. During my period in London I managed a new opening for him and, after returning to Italy, he contacted me again to propose that I become Italicus' contact person for central and southern Italy. I accepted the proposal and now I take care of the masterclasses in the clubs and promote the product during themed evenings organized in the cocktail bars.



Also in ItalSpirits you hold the role of Operations Manager. What commitments does it involve?

I am in charge of coordinating all client projects, small or large, of the company. In this case, now, the largest and most well-known company with which we are working is Montenegro. For them I take care of the contents, organize the shootings and develop the concept and rules of The Vero Bartender together with a team, a traveling mixing competition, suspended this year due to Covid-19.


Why did you choose to leave the counter a year and a half ago? What other projects are you working on?

For many years I was passionate about working there but after 25 years - in which I opened around 18 premises/consultancy - I needed new challenges and opportunities. Entering the same place had become a routine. Currently, one of the few consultancies I am doing for clubs, because I am particularly passionate about the project, is that of ORO Whiskey Bar in Rome, a new opening focused on whisky, in which I was responsible for training the staff, designing the menu of cocktails and, still, to control the management of these aspects. The idea of opening it came from Andrea Fofi, one of the co-founders of the Roma Bar Show, the Roma Whiskey Festival and Whiskey & Co. together with Pino Perrone, a niche shop specializing in the theme, in which I was lucky enough to meet them during some masterclasses for which Andrea had contacted me. I am also active on another project, BARCODE Consulting, together with my close friend and partner Giorgio Vicario. With this consultancy company, which we founded together, among the various consultancies I am working on the development of an app to manage the warehouse of the premises, and a further project, Startup, focused on the description of the creative and administrative process for the opening a place.



Since you left the counter, what evolution have you noticed in mixing over the course of your experiences?

I have noticed a return of minimal drinks, with simple decorations and more particular flavours, thanks to the use of refined ingredients - spirits or herbs first and foremost - or specific professional equipment. The latter are used by a small percentage of cocktail bars which are able to create unique products at home such as 'non-alcoholic distillates' of fruit and vegetables or reductions of liqueurs.


A thought about the restart and one about your future?

Compared to the past, we need to know how to manage numbers better. Before you could make mistakes, today no longer. If you improvise you will pay the consequences immediately. To answer the second question, however, I am currently working on nine projects in total, some of which are frozen and others are slow. Before thinking about new projects, I dedicate this time to those I already have under my belt.


What's your favorite cocktail?

It's the classic Daiquiri, with white rum, lime juice and sugar syrup. It's my favorite because it's one of the most difficult to make - you can immediately see if there's an expert's hand behind it - and because I like citrus notes.



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