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News / Drinking

Zucca’s award-winning bartender shares some trade secrets

Giorgia Crea
Photograph: Courtesy Zucca

Giorgia Crea is the head bartender at Zucca, a busy Coral Gables restaurant and bar that packs in crowds at all hours of the day. Here, the Italian-born hospitality vet clues us in on the ins and outs of cocktail slinging and dealing with cranky patrons.

What’s the most popular drink on Zucca’s menu?

Our signature cocktail is Nonna’s Mule, which is basically an Italian twist on the Moscow Mule with grappa, watermelon, lime and ginger. We serve it in a mini copper pan and top it with edible flowers. It’s a nice way to introduce people to grappa, an Italian spirit.

How should a customer go about getting your attention?

I’m always 100 percent attentive to the clientele. As soon as they step inside the place, I always try to make eye contact straightaway even if I’m doing something. The worst thing you can do is snap your fingers. It’s so rude, but it rarely happens.

What’s the most important ingredient in a cocktail?

Ice—it goes into every single cocktail, even in drinks served straight up because it’s either in the shaker or the mixing glass. If the ice cube isn’t big enough, you get a lot of dilution. Cubes should be at least 1 inch by 1 inch and completely clear.

What should all at-home bartenders own?

A jigger. If you want to mix different spirits, you need to use something to measure that’s not just eyeballing it.

 

  

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