Massimo Zitti

Interview

Massimo Zitti

The music loving bartender talks to us about cocktails, gadgets and music.
Massimo Zitti is group bar manager and chief trainer at the Liars Club, and chief bartender at Science + Industry, a bar in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. He loves music, regularily plays himself, he also co-founded The Underground Project, a collective of musicians and performers. Zitti was named Funkin Innovation Champion in 2015, and made the UK WorldClass final in 2014, narrowly missing out the award of Britain’s best bartender.
 
Stylebible: What was the most important and influential moment in your career?
Massimo Zitti: It’s so funny – I was just talking about this. When I was 23 years old, I ate at ElBulli in Barcelona [Adrià’s super-restaurant]. I’d been trying to get into the place for three years. It was just me and a mate and it was absolutely insane. It made me realise there was so much more about food than what you see. It was about dreams, about the unknown. It was like the first time you go to a gig and the band on stage just blows your mind. I fell in love with ElBulli and with the team that worked so hard to compose all that wonderful food. It changed how I see things - and it changed the course of my career.
 
SB: What drink do you love most? 
MZ: It depends on the day, the mood, the weather. I love a good Martini and the same goes with a well-made Sazerac. But if I had to order one drink, my last one on Earth, I would go for a Daiquiri. It’s the difference between a good and a great bar. Every bar has wine and beer but a really banging Daiquiri – that’s something else. I’ve been playing with a lot of different types recently, flavouring them with chamomile, biscuits, black cardamom, even with dried pine from southern Italy and fig skins from Sicily.
 
SB: What is your favourite bar utensil – the gadget you can’t do without?
MZ: A really good silver spoon.
 
SB: What person would you most like to serve at your bar?
MZ: Man, so many names. I love my music, so I will go with Jack White or Eddie Vedder. I love the White Stripes and everything Eddie does. His album No Code is my favourite – it was the moment that Pearl Jam grew up. But I love everything grunge, from Pearl Jam to Nirvana to Mother Love Bone.
 
SB: Which bars would you love to drink at in your spare time?
MZ: One of my favourite bars in the world is the Jerry Thomas Speakeasy in Rome. I almost cried when I first visited it as it’s an insanely great bar and it’s in my home city. The Gibson in London is one of my favourite places in the world, and Bar Raval in Toronto is amazing too. So is the Ham & Sherry in Wanchai, Hong Kong – it’s part of Jason Atherton’s group and the cocktail list is perfectly balanced.
 
SB: Do hotels need great bars to be considered great?
MZ: Let’s say it raises everything up if they do. It’s a great selling point for sure. But you don’t need to have a classic bar: it’s all about how you approach the customer. Personally, while I don’t love the rooms, you have to look at Ace Hotel in Shoreditch in London. They are busy morning til night, they’re great on whisky, and they really show you how a good hotel bar should be done.
 
SB: Where do you think the elite cocktail business will be in ten years’ time?
MZ: The next big movement will be fermentation. Everyone has rediscovered it – it’s a massive topic for 2017 and 2018. It’s something that’s been part of our lives for 2,000 years, but it’s really made a return and it’s driving the industry forward. Drink and food is now inseparable, and there are some real geniuses out there marrying the best of both. A great example is Tickets in Barcelona, which was one of the first venues to do it. And you’ll see much more of that: gurus and bartenders and chefs, all working sympatico. So much will change over the next ten years.

SB: What are you working on currently?
MZ: Next month Science + Industry is launching a new menu called "Celebration", and I've got a new project called BARK, which focuses on brand promotion and bar consultancy.
 
 
You can follow Massi on Instagram at @thirsty_dreamer 

& if you find yourself in Manchester, we'd highly recommend a stop at Science + Industry, in the Northern Quarter, until you can get a glimpse of them here @scienceandindustrymcr ...
 
 
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