Alessandro Palazzi: Dukes Bar (London)

Alessandro Palazzi is the Bar Manager of Dukes Bar in London. He makes us two cocktails, one with Vodka and Truffles and the second with Whisky and Aperol.

Alessandro introduce yourself
My name is Alessandro Palazzi and I’ve been working in hospitality since 1975, after finishing catering college in Italy. I left Italy for London to learn English. As I was 17 years old, I started as a kitchen porter. Then I became a barback to be finally a bartender in a new venue. My boss move to France so I follow him to a hotel restaurant with a lot of wine where I became a sommelier even if I was doing cocktails. It was the Georges V. Back in London, I worked at the restaurant of The Connaught, but the bar was my real passion so even If I learned a lot, I left for Italy. In the ’90s I came back to Paris and worked at the Ritz,  till 1997 when I joined definitively London where I work for the Mandarin Oriental in Hyde Park. Now I am the bar manager since 2007 at Dukes Bar London.

The classic you want to show us
Truffle Martini
25ml of Vestal Potatoes Vodka
75ml of White Alba Truffles infused with Vodka
Few drops of Sacred English Vermouth

The bar you dream of
My dream bar, is where I’m working at the moment, Dukes Bar because we do not serve club sandwich coffee and tea and afternoon tea. A lot of bars, to make revenues, also have to serve food and coffee, in my previous jobs that’s why we have to do. At Dukes, it’s a proper American bar where we serve only cocktails and drinks.

What do you do in your time off
During my time off I spend a lot with the family, One of my passion, to keep fit, is cycling, playing tennis. I also spend time reading books and listening to old school hip hop.

The spirit you like the most
The spirit I like most to work with is gin. I am a classic cocktail lover, and there are a lot made with gin. Plus I am a Juniper maniac and I am part of the Gin guild in the UK. In the end, it’s relatively easy to work with it when I want to create a new cocktail.

What makes a good cocktail
To make a good cocktail you need very few ingredients, but that’s very important the quality of the ingredients. For example, as a young bartender, I thought the zest of lemon in the Martini was a decoration, then I realise it’s an ingredient and if you use an organic good lemon, it makes all the difference.

What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
One of the ingredients I love to use are griottes cherries, I discovered them when I was working in Paris in the 80s, I love them because they are natural they are not sickly sweet like most of the cherries you find in bars.

The signature cocktail you want to show us
Negroni Torbato
30ml of Sacred peated Whisky
30ml of Cynar
30ml Aperol
Sprays of Peat Aroma

Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
The next time, I would recommend you to interview Antonino Lo Iacono. He is the bar manager at The Beaumont in London.

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