Bar manager of Ceresio7 since 2017, Guglielmo Miriello is a spokesperson for the art of Italian hospitality, which he manages to interpret well in his restaurant, interfacing with customers with very different needs, but always of a high profile. Its cocktails complete a memorable experience in one of the best Milanese settings.
What are your origins and what did you study before becoming a bartender? What experiences have you had?
I am from Puglia, a region in which I lived until I was 19. After the hotel school, where I enrolled to become a chef, I discovered my passion for the bar and therefore for mixing, thanks to the experience with Marco Sumerano, owner of Glass in Legnano. After taking the first course in 3F, which produced figures of the caliber of Agostino Perrone, Lorenzo Bianchi and Andrea Montagnana, in 2005 I put my research into practice in Columbus, a project by Stefano Lascatti with two restaurants and a catering service , managed with partners Antonio Vadalà, Giuseppe Tulumello and Salvatore Buoncore. I have always been a person who searched, explored, experimented; I traveled a lot to London, between masterclasses and international bar shows, to see the trends of the following year. I was one of the 10 finalists of the Innovative Drink of the Year contest in 2010, I won the Italian section of the Diageo World Class Competition in 2011 and participated in the final in New Delhi as a representative of Italy. After working for a few years in Milan, between the Bulgari Hotel and the opening of Excelsior in the Galleria, in 2012 I went to Shanghai to the starred restaurant Maison Pourcel as bar and bistro manager.
Once you returned to Italy, did you immediately come to Ceresio7? Why did you decide to accept the invitation?
In 2013, when I returned to Milan, I was responsible, as Operations Manager, for the innovative opening of Dry Milano. We were the first to serve gourmet pizza paired with cocktails in a luxury, international environment. After four years, in which I also took care of the operational part of the restaurant, I went to Ceresio7, where I held the role of bar manager and assisted in the operational functions of the restaurant. In choosing to come to Ceresio7, the importance of the shop window was first and foremost fundamental, as well as the independence of the structure. I am responsible for managing part of the property and, while on the one hand I have more freedom than in a hotel context, on the other hand there is also a closer relationship with the managers. Furthermore, the restaurant is of the highest standard and the location is unrivaled in the city.
How difficult do you think it is to be a bar manager in such an international venue? Your strong point?
Compared to other realities, here the expectations are very high. What I do is fulfill the guest's needs and requirements in the moment. We offer an experience and the staff is part of it. We must adapt in front of the customer, always maintaining a high level of service. I interpret hospitality as achieving the well-being of our guests and it is the goal I aspire to every day. Therefore, I believe this is my greatest strength.
How can you define your mixing? How much communication is there with the kitchen?
My cocktails are contemporary, they draw on tradition, the origins and the basics of mixing, but with a current interpretation. They are contextualized to the years we live in, to current tastes and have evolved thanks to my ambition to improve myself. I have always tried to keep an eye on trends, without leaving tradition aside, and on details, such as the type of glass or ice, which for me are not such. My cooking experience has contributed to making me a meticulous barman and attentive to the handling of ingredients. At Ceresio7 we use numerous cooking techniques such as at Hellfire, where we roast the red pepper, infuse it into the mezcal and cook it at a low temperature to extract the aroma. The two worlds also communicate a lot in terms of accompaniments: in the restaurant's tasting menus we combine our cocktails with the amuse bouche, starters and desserts.
What was the theme of the latest drink list?
The latest paper is called Sartorial and was printed on a laser-screen printed blue organic fabric. The 18 cocktails are divided into two sections: Textiles and You inspire me. The first is dedicated to fabrics, reinterpreted using ingredients that recall their characteristics, as in the case of the Smoking, a reinterpretation of the Old Fashioned prepared with a Vieux Carrè syrup instead of sugar. It is a smoked cocktail, served on a wooden tray with a bow tie around the neck of the bottle and the smoke in reference to the smoking jacket. The You inspire me section is dedicated to the revisitation of classic cocktails. For example, we have a twist on Penicillin, a recipe created in America in the 2000s, in which we replaced the whiskey with tequila and mezcal. We serve it in a pharmacy bottle, because of the name.
What impact did Covid-19 have on Ceresio7 and how did you react?
If the virus has had a very strong negative impact on our sector, on the other hand it has given us the opportunity to reinvent ourselves. In our case, in the first lockdown we delivered a cooking menu accompanied by wine to your home, a choice that we decided not to replicate because it was difficult to implement, but we also sold wine labels on our website and set up a membership club , in which we rewarded our customers with advantages on the use of our services.
For the International Alba White Truffle Fair you prepared Italian Gentleman, a cocktail with Alba white truffle. How much space can it have in cocktails? What will be the next trends?
As in cooking, I also believe that truffles should be used in moderation in cocktails, because they have an interesting but also very covering aromatic note. If we have to talk about trends, however, I believe there will be a return of cognac, whiskey - both neat and mixed - mezcal and tequila and that cocktails with increasingly complex flavors and a simpler, more elegant and essential appearance will prevail. Another trend will certainly be that of low alcohol cocktails - at Ceresio7 we have been making them for a few years with a base, flavored soda, wine (fortified or not) or vermouth - and those made with solid ingredients, for example fruit and vegetables , which will provide - through advanced techniques and processes - the aroma alone, in the form of extracts, centrifuges, etc... In the future I believe that the already established path of self-production will also be followed. The research bars will work on fermentations and other techniques that are already widely used for the creation of unique ingredients and the purchase of external raw materials will increasingly decrease. Cocktails are not and will no longer be made just behind the bar but starting from the laboratory.
What personal projects do you have under your belt?
I am the Global Brand Ambassador of O'ndina Gin, for which I am responsible for spreading the product in the Italian, English and from this year also Spanish and Greek B2C and B2B markets. Among the cocktails I made for them, the one that represents me most is Love in Portofino, with gin, fresh cucumber, lime and lemon juice, elderflower, agave nectar, flamed spray of absinthe and basil. Another new project, together with Rona Glass, was the design of the new Martini glasses, made of mouth-blown glass, with the Ceresio7 logo and a capacity of 15 cl. In addition to using them to serve our Dry Martini Cocktails, we will also put them on sale in a special box with 4 ready-to-drink cocktails made by us.
Your favorite cocktail?
Always the Dry Martini and the Negroni. They are the ones I appreciate the most, followed by Old Fashioned, Daiquiri and Margarita. Coming from a classical background, I experience the preparation of a Dry Martini as a ritual.[:]