Q&A: Langham Hotel London's mixologist

Simone Caporale from Artesian Bar says the unexpected leads to success
Simone Caporale says Dubai's international community brings its own tastes and flavours to the sector.
Simone Caporale says Dubai's international community brings its own tastes and flavours to the sector.

Simone Caporale, head mixologist, Artesian Bar, Langham Hotel London, explains the importance of sharing and the need for an unexpected show

What is the standard of Dubai’s F&B sector?
I see a huge potential for this sector due to the number of prestigious establishments, bars clubs and restaurants that are currently in existence.

What are the challenges specific to Dubai bartenders?
The amount and flow of information for this profession is smaller and slower due to the size of the bartending community.

But Dubai has something very important and precious, and that is the international community that makes up the sector. Anyone can bring their own tastes and flavours, which can create a wonderful cocktail. That is why I believe in the exchange of ideas as hospitality is synonymous with teamwork.

What beverage trends are going to sweep the world in 2013?
Of course each part of the world has its own drinking culture, but I see a big explosion in drinks which transmit a message of fun as well as an unexpected show. These drinks will be more than just ways of relaxing, they will be delivering a message.

What are your favourite three drinks?
Water keeps us alive, slim and beautiful, but I didn’t invent that one. The second is Disaronno&C. I make it with Disaronno, Calpis, lime, liquorice, aromatic bitters, plus rose bud.

It makes for a refreshing and playful drink, perfect when you are clubbing on Dubai’s beaches. The third is called Five Points which boasts Irish whiskey, Italian vermouth, mandarin aromatic bitters and Irish stout extract; it is inspired by a man who loves to sip his whiskey.

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What are the three things that have led to your success?
The day I have success I will be able to answer! This is a very humble job. You should be willing to learn and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Take care with your work, bar, guests, as though they belong to you. In this way you can achieve bigger results and ask yourself ‘why?’ on anything you don’t know.

If you could create a cocktail/drink for anyone, who would it be?
I would like to create a [drink] for HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum. I think he is a very cool person. I’m impressed with what he has created in Dubai — it’s an amazing city. I already have an idea for what I would serve him.

Do European bartenders face challenges they wouldn’t in Dubai?
There is a very strong competition between establishments and the trends move so quickly. If you don’t keep up with the flow you risk losing credibility. But this is a good exercise in being prepared and creative.

What advice would you offer budding bartenders in the region?
Stay together, be in touch with the rest of the world in terms of the beverage and culinary industry — today it’s easy with internet. Share ideas with your colleagues in the kitchens and bars and between both departments as well.

Although it is a normal feeling in humans, greed can be controlled and should be. Share what you know to improve yourself and help make the industry stronger.

If you weren’t a bartender what would you like to be?
A car engineer as I like to see things working and I like to do things with my hands.

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