Meet Your Bartender: Giovanni Love
We understand that sometimes it’s hard to remember your favorite bartender’s name or what their favorite drink is. So that’s why we decided to introduce you to some bartenders around the country who are interested in sharing a little more about their craft. Bartending isn’t easy — it’s long hours, busy nights, slow days, and sometimes the occasional rude customer or two. Take a step into a bartender’s shoes and get to know them a little better! Once you learn their favorite cocktail, maybe you can offer them a drink or two after their shift…
The Daily Meal: Where do you work?
Giovanni Love: I'm currently the cocktail consultant at Bar Naná [in New York City]. I also have another consulting job in San Francisco that I will complete in the new year. [And I] just finished the Condado Vanderbilt in Puerto Rico as Bar Naná was coming to fruition.
TDM: How long have you been bar tending?
GL: I have been a barman for more than 20 years.
TDM: What is your favorite drink to make for guests?
GL: That's tough, I love making them all! Stirred down cocktails are alluring and refined and there is nothing like shaking down two cocktails at once to intrigue the guests. However, what I love is to get guests to try something they've never had. Egg white drinks are what usually scare people the most and they always end up loving them. When I have time I love to make a Sazerac.
As for making drinks, I come from what we call a "turn and burn" nightclub background, so lining up the glasses and knocking out 20 vodka sodas a minute to a crowd that's 10 people deep has its thrills. For the record, that's the only time I ever chew gum.
TDM: What's the best pick-up line you've received from a patron while tending bar?
GL: As a gentlemen and a true barman I cannot answer this question. You'll only get a smile and wink from me on the subject.
TDM: What's the best part of being a bartender?
GL: Everything! Meeting so many people while making great money and having a great time while doing so. We make people very, very happy. I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention the bonding with coworkers that turn into lifelong friendships.
TDM: What's your go-to cocktail when you're out with friends?
GL: I hardly ever drink funny enough, but when I do I love a pint of Guinness. On special nights and when available I love Del Maguey Crema De Mezcal or Don Julio 1942 neat, Partida rep on the rocks, and LOVE a well-crafted Negroni. My latest concoction is a Negroni with the Unico Mezcal in place of gin.
TDM: What's your favorite alcohol to create cocktails with?
GL: Ha! It's easier for me to tell you that creating cocktails with vodka is not very gratifying. Asking me to pick my favorite spirit to create with is like asking a parent to pick their favorite kid. Although I will say I'm on a massive mezcal kick right now.
TDM: What is the most ridiculous bartending story you have?
GL: And here we go... This goes back to my nightclub bartending: a guest used to pay me $50 to take my shirt off. I was young, dumb, and hungry.
TDM: What else do you want people to know about you and your craft?
GL: First and foremost, it is a "real job." It's a noble trade when done well. I truly loved being a barman so for me it's all about the details. I knew what you needed and wanted before you had to ask. As for craftsmanship and details from the barman to the cocktails, Milk & Honey is impeccable. I would love to mirror that in every way but I bring my own urban flavor to the places I consult for. At Bar Naná I'm sticking with actualizing the classic cocktail stylings, however I've encouraged a more visceral edgy craftsmanship from the bartenders as they craft your cocktails. This makes for a very sensual environment with decadent cocktails.