Lara Ponti is the Bar Manager of Bamboo in Bologna. She makes us two cocktails, one with Fino Sherry and Dry Vermouth and the second with Cacao Liqueur and Bitter.
Lara introduce yourself
My name is Lara Ponti and I’m 25 years old. I moved to Bologna 6 years ago from a small town in Lombardia called Livigno, located on the very border of Switzerland. One of the reasons that pushed me to move to Bologna was to study politics, but mostly because I wanted to live my adult life here. This city gives you everything you need without the downside of a big city. I started my career in the industry with the mere intention of earning money for a living. I worked in a few places here in town, odd little bars with old customers slinging gin and tonic, mojitos and beers. One was the Caos Club, where I spent most of my nights and more importantly, where I discovered about myself that I love mornings but I’m definitely a night person: I fell in love with the job, the people you meet, the mood, the craft that lies beneath the creation of a drink. Then, I started hanging out in bars in my free days and met Andrea Panizzi, who become a master, a friend and a brother to me. We did together consultancy job and spent lots of mornings re-imagining a bar, a menu, what kind of customers we wanted to attract. But in the end, when the project was ready, the owner stepped back. The opportunity came itself here at Bamboo. In the beginning, it was just me and Pano, we did everything together and with the help of Giovanni Ceccarelli, Federico Mastellari and Flavio Sacco (owners/teachers at Drinkfactory, a local school for bartenders) where I improved my skills and knowledge. At the same time, I met Christian (who is part of the current Bamboo team), so there were three of us. Then the pandemic hit and Pano left Bamboo. We struggled at first because I wasn’t ready to be a manager at that time and I had to learn the job while doing it! Last July, we decided to move Bamboo to another location and took on board the other members of the team: Fabio, Elena, Alessandro and Elisabetta. One of the things I will always be proud of in my life is that I brought these people together and the synergy and love you see in the room while we work are why you should visit Bamboo.
The classic you want to show us
45ml of Fino Sherry
45ml of Dry v-Vermouth
5ml of Oloroso Sherry
3 Drops of Saline Solution
2 Drops of Orange Bitters
The bar you dream of
The bar I dream of is a simple place for daily use. A small venue with some space outside, good natural light, not too much furniture and other things that can take your attention away from what is important: the people you are with, the food and the drinks that you are sharing with them. One thing that I would love to give to people is the possibility to select the music they want, maybe with a shared Spotify account where you can queue your music or an open playlist.
What do you do in your time off
In my time off I’m a famished reader, a good friend and also a lazy person even if I started hitting the gym a few weeks ago. I take my free days as a possibility, so I usually don’t plan much: whatever I want to do I just do. If possible, I try to get outside Bologna as much as I can: visiting new places, meeting people and trying new flavours is what I crave the most in life.
The spirit you like the most
I really like scotch whisky because it’s so plural and different. I like to think that if you work hard enough you will find a scotch that it’s capable of satisfying even people who normally hate malt. But to mix and work with I’m more comfortable with agave spirits, especially mezcal, for its terroir and because usually, it surprises customers for its versatility.
What makes a good cocktail
I think that the ambience, the person who serves or suggested the drink play a key role. Even a warm pint of beer is good if you are having a good time.
What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
Salt, salt and salt. It’s a game-changer in each form.
The signature cocktail you want to show us
50ml of Campari Bitter
30ml of Otto’s Vermouth
20ml of Mancino Cocchi
15ml of homemade Cacao Liqueur
Top with Tonka Bean
Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
The next time, I would recommend you to go to Pisa and visit my good friends at Jeffer: Fausto, Riccardo, Giacomo and Arianna are four of the best people I’ve met this year. The place is amazing and the warmth they can bring to a room is real magic.