Milo Occhipinti

MILANO, ITALY

“I have never chosen to become a bartender, my mum did it for me”


– Milo Occhipinti

Where are you working? What’s your bar like?
I'm currently working at Enjoy Club Milano, a very different kind of members club where the focus is hospitality at its max. The venue looks more like an open space flat, like a house, there is no bar, only a big massive communal table in the center that works as a working station as well. People are free to roam and gather wherever they like, at the table or in the two high grounds that oversee the whole place. Main feature is that we use only spirits that we designed the recipe, and this includes two types of gin, three vermouths, two bitters and more.

Apart from this, I am personally working on my project, my own bar which is about to open before the end of this year, Unseen Bar, but I will tell you about this later on...

Tell me about your experience.
My experience begins in Verona, back in 2004 when I started bartending (or barbacking to be honest) but my actual "bar maturity" comes in 2013 in London. There, I approached more seriously mixology, I ran Bermondsey Arts Club and NT'S, two major venues that gave me better insights on the industry. Then in 2017 I came back to Italy, in Milan, and I scored a position in one of the most influential companies in the Country, MAG/1930. I worked in both the two bars, first at MaG then in 1930 (last year came 80th in the Fifty Best extended list), and from there I chose my own path in the hospitality, starting to work as consultant and freelance. As I said, I now chose to join the Enjoy family because we embrace the same view of the hospitality industry and because we work on many different projects together other than the Club itself.

Enjoy Club Milano, in Milan.

Enjoy Club Milano, in Milan.

Why did you decide to become a bartender?
I have never chosen to become a bartender, my mum did it for me. She sent me working during summer break because she didn't want me slacking at home when I was 17, but somehow, I felt that was my place for the rest of my life and a couple of years later I decided to drop out of University to keep tending bars.

Do you have a mentor in the Industry, an inspiration, or someone you would like to thank?
Number one figure I always admired is Jeffrey Morgenthaler, he was a maverick in the industry, but what I truly loved and shared was the attitude he had and have: solid professional but he doesn't give a s**t about the world. In a way that always inspired me, to keep going in my own path, not caring about whomever keeps me down, to always experiment and dare.

Tell me about the inspiration behind the cocktail you created for Jameson Barrelmen’s Homecoming.
The inspiration behind Purple Hills is one and simple: Verona. I'm deeply bound to my homeland, I love it, I care for it, and I will never really leave that land. I feel within myself a true connection to the nature, the landscape, the people and the history of the town. I can understand what the citizen wants to say and what the city had endure and what the soil has to offer to the future generations. I was born there in the countryside, my ancestors were all peasants and I grew up surrounded by farmers and farm life, and I'm grateful to that.

Where did you find the ingredients?
Ingredients: very easy to find if you're in Verona. For the peaches (pesca di pescantina), since is a specific variety that can be grown only in Verona, I went to the consortium of agriculture and found out the closest farm growing it. Turning up to the man and explaining that his product would have traveled all the way to Ireland was enough to convince him to give me a tour of the field, and let me pick whatever I wanted from the trees.

Chickory (radiccchio rosso di verona), another specific variety of Verona, this time I went to the local greengrocer of the little village I was born and asked the owner (old time family friend) to pick the best for me.

Valpolicella, for this I asked a friend of mine that is the middle man between a small vineyard not far from home and the wholesale, to let me see the farm and meet the producers. Also, to give me a case of wine.

Are there any producers you would like to highlight?
Consorzio della Pescha di Verona for the peaches
Cantina di Negrar for the wine.

If I visit your city, what should I see/eat/drink?
You got two choices: either you see the historical sites in the centre and get delighted by local food and wines, enjoy true aperitivo in the squares , see the Arena when the opera is on. Or you tour the countryside stopping in each farm that is going to serve you locally grown meals and wines, and show you all they produce, see the Garda Lake (biggest lake in Italy) and enjoy the hills in a truly fantastic road trip.

What is your best JBH 2019 memory?
All the wonderful people I met there. Heartbreaking.

What is the next city you would like to visit?
Tokyo.

The Recipe

Purple Hills

  • Add all ingredients except peach extract to a cocktail shaker.
  • Add ice and shake.
  • Strain into a highball glass.
  • Fill with ice and top up with peach extract.
  • Garnish with a red chicory leaf

Ingredients

How To Make

  • Add all ingredients except peach extract to a cocktail shaker.
  • Add ice and shake.
  • Strain into a highball glass.
  • Fill with ice and top up with peach extract.
  • Garnish with a red chicory leaf

*IGP
Indicazione Geografica Protetta (Indication of Geographic Protection)
The IGP label shows that the quality or reputation of your food or condiment is linked to the place or region where it is produced, processed, or prepared.

**DOC
Denominazione di Origine Controllata (Denomination of Controlled Origin).
The DOC classification requires that a wine satisfy a defined quality standard, and be produced within the specified region.

“The inspiration behind Purple Hills is one and simple: Verona.”


– Milo Occhipinti

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