Mixing the best martinis in London: Maurizio Schiavone



Maurizio Schiavone is Assistant Bar Manager at Dukes, London, home to the capital’s best martinis and some of its bartending greats. A native of Puglia, Maurizio has been refining his craft alongside manager Alessandro for seven years, ensuring that this enclave of Mayfair is never without some Italian style. Here he talks to our spirits specialist Amanda Baxter.

Who has been your biggest influence?
I take my inspiration from a huge variety of bartenders. Hospitality is a “people” industry, and so I find myself being inspired by the best parts of the people I work with – whether that’s their skills or their personality.

What’s the secret to serving perfect cocktails time after time?
Personality: you can make the best cocktail in the world but if you cannot make a connection with the customer it doesn’t work. Each customer is different and requires a different approach and individual service. Bartenders are like chefs, and must adapt to their audience.

Are there any difficult parts of your job?
There is a degree of diplomacy required to ensure that people have a good time, but don’t over-indulge. (Dukes is famous for its two-martini per guest policy.)

Which cocktail on the list at Dukes is most highly rated, in your view?
It has to be Tiger Tanaka, which was inspired by Fleming’s Bond character. It has ginger and orange infused vodka, vermouth, Grand Marnier and King’s Ginger liqueur.

What piece of equipment couldn’t you be without?
Undoubtedly, a strainer.

And have you got a tip to help us make great drinks at home?
Use the best possible quality spirits, get to know them well, and always use fresh ice.

Aside from Dukes, which is the best bar in the UK right now?
For me, it’s The Dorchester: the people there are great.

When Dukes is finally closed and it’s time to clock off, where do you go for a post-shift drink?
Bar 366, Earlsfield, which is near my home – and more often than not, it has to be a Negroni.

To try one of Maurizio’s well-crafted drinks for yourself, visit Dukes at St. James’s Place, London SW1A 1NY (dukeshotel.com)