Leonardo, is the owner of Monna Lisa Caffe in Ostuni. He makes two cocktails for us, one with Scotch Whisky and ginger juice, and the second is with Manzanilla and Dolin Dry
Leonardo introduce yourself
Ciao my name is Leonardo Giorgini and I’m the owner of Monna Lisa Caffe in Ostuni. I was born and raised in Rome. My journey began about 20 years ago when I started developing a passion for music which culminated in 1998 when I started a small and busy DJ enterprise. In 2000 a bartender friend invited me to play for a season in the Lugano lake region. Here I was mesmerised by the art of cocktail making whilst tasting and learning different mixes. By nature, if I like something I always want to learn more about it and after many courses specialising in the art of cocktail making from classics to flair, I met the guys from the Jerry Thomas Project in Rome, and they showed me the light! To this day I still thank Fabio Bacchi, Leonardo Leuci, Antonio Parlapiano and of course Denis Zoppi from the Smile Tree in Torino who gave me new ideas and made me dream countless times. Nine years ago I moved to Ostuni in Puglia, Italy. Here, I’ve realised my dream and opened MonnaLisa Caffe. The name is the result of my deep respect and admiration for the genius of Leonardo Da Vinci and one of his most famous artworks, the Monna Lisa, a small painting that it is known worldwide. That is what I hope one day will also happen to my small MonnaLisa Caffe.
The classic you want to show us
60 ml of tequila Don Julio
30 ml of grapefruit juice
15 ml of lime juice
20 ml of homemade shrub with mango, ginger and pinkpepper
The bar or party you dream of
Ostuni offers many beautiful locations to create something unique. And as I stated before I realised my dream in the MonnaLisa, just the way it is: in a natural cave that could have been a refuge for animals… so my bar is a refuge from the hectic life, for friends, clients and all others that stop by, even if it’s only to take a quick picture.
I love long walks with my family by the sea and in the country because I can recharge my energy and it sometimes help to free the mind giving me the opportunity to find new ideas for my cocktails. I really like to go to other cocktail bars, although my bar takes up a lot of my time.
The spirit you like the most
I love Bourbon and lightly peated Whiskey, also Tequila and Mescal, but my absolute favourite, the one thing that should always be in a cocktail is vermouth from Piedmont. Not only because it is Italian, but it’s also the very first cocktail in a bottle.
What makes a good cocktail and which product do you want to highlight at this moment
To make a good cocktail a bartender has to understand the client. The feeling I have about the person in front of me, understanding the person’s tastes, coupled with the passion and love I put in my work. These are probably the best ingredients for a great cocktail.
I try to give the spotlight to Italian made products in my cocktails by using mostly locals products. Some of these include: Cocchi, Carpano, Vermouth del Professor, Cynar, ciociaro bitter and bitter s.maria the mountain. This product also uses cedar water and Mandorlini produced locally here in Puglia.
The signature cocktail you want to show us
40 ml of cedar water Nardini
25 ml of grapefruit juice
15 ml of sugar
Top with Prosecco
Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender?
I would definitely take a trip to the Smile Tree and meet Denis Zoppi.