We’re in the final lap of 2020! As always, we’ve put together this month’s list of bartenders and mixologists who continue to make waves in the world of mixology. In case you missed it, our November list was pretty hardcore, too! Let’s see if this month’s selection of the world’s best mixologists can give last month’s list a run for their money.
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1. Nathan Ford
Nathan Ford is the owner and Chief Bartender of Old Fashioned Events @oldfashionedevents, a private events company that brings 1930’s prohibition-style whiskey pop-up bars to parties and special occasions in Australia. Also a master DJ, Nathan not only mixes drinks but also a wide range of music.
Nathan became obsessed with whiskey early on, so he attended a lot of masterclass sessions learning from the best. He brought that expertise to Gold Coast and thought of creating an old fashioned bar theme. He also wanted to be able to smoke and drink anywhere at parties so he came up with the idea of creating a whiskey lounge that comes to private events and produce that 1930’s smoke-wherever-you-want vibe, complete with an old wooden bar, Chesterfield chairs, crystal decanters, cigar boxes, and old books.
As the world of modern mixology rushes forward into the future, it’s refreshing to see mixologists dial back a bit and transport us to earlier times, and that’s where Nathan shines. You can learn more about Old Fashioned Events through their website and Facebook page.
2. Heather Wibbels
Heather is also known within Mixology land as the Cocktail Contessa @cocktail_contessa. A certified Executive Bourbon Steward, her passion is around introducing more people to whiskey as a base spirit and converting people to bourbon and rye. To her, cocktails are the gateway to whiskey, and she wants to make whiskey cocktails fun, tasty, and easy for people to experiment with.
She’s won a few amateur cocktail competitions: Bourbon Women’s Not Your Pink Drink Amateur Contest in 2015, 2016, and 2017, as well as the Kentucky Distiller Association Mint Julep contest in 2019.
Although she doesn’t spend her day job behind the bar, she keeps herself busy with the Bourbon Women, an association that puts together creative and educational bourbon and whiskey-centric events, where Heather is a member of the Bourbon Women’s National Board. Her range of eye-candy cocktails can also be seen on her website and Facebook page.
3. Victor Weber
Victor Weber @victor_weberfr is a French mixologist born and raised in Alsace. He started his mixology journey as a young pastry chef and was given the "Young talent of The Grand Est" award in France for his Cocktail Pastry concept.
Starting from his early twenties, Victor has instituted three business startups and became the co-founder of Maison Alphonse, a premium ready-to-drink cocktail brand based in France. In 2018, Victor also worked at the Hotel Les Grandes Rousses at l'Alpe d'Huez where he created a whole new bar menu for the opening of the hotel's spa. The following year, he wrote a mixology episode for the French YouTuber Morgan VS, featuring Fabrice Eboué, a famous French comedian.
Victor loves to travel around the world. He’s been around Europe, Asia, and Australia, where he learns new techniques, life philosophies, and collects rare botanical spices to add to his repertoire. Never afraid to take on a challenge, he opens himself to other people’s opinions about his mixology work and spares no effort to constantly improve his craft. His thirst for breakthrough and refinement makes Victor stand out from among his contemporaries.
4. Marco Dongi
Marco Dongi @cocktailsbymarcodongi first worked as a PR for many clubs in Milan before he eventually became a bartender. To him, it was just a regular job until he realized that he was interested in the subject and was getting pretty good at it.
From taking part in basic bartending courses, he then advanced himself to attending more specific sessions, including one homemade drinks session with the great Giovanni Ceccarelli. He went on to become one of the up-and-coming mixologists ranking 6th in the 30 Best Bartenders Under 30 in Italy.
Today, Marco considers himself as a “travel bartender”. He is currently in Australia, working on a beautiful rooftop bar where he makes a drink menu of his own conception. Soon he will travel to Bali to be a guest bartender in a local bar in Seminyak. After that, he will leave for a coast-to-coast journey in the US and Canada where he is already scheduled to appear in various venues.
You can follow more of Marco’s mixology odyssey on his Facebook page.
5. Tiger Chang
Tiger Chang @tigerchang_ is a master bartender at the luxury 5-star Mandarin Oriental Hotel Bar in Taipei, Taiwan. He’s everything you can imagine from a bartender named “Tiger” — a bar frontliner with jaw-dropping flair and showmanship.
In a short span, Tiger has built his mixology reputation in Asia. Just earlier in 2020, he was invited to perform at the Vietnam Cocktail Festival as their special guest. In 2019, he visited the famous Savoy Hotel Bar in London and spent time with other renowned mixologists.
Tiger Chang’s most recent passion is creating abstract menus and turning them into theme-based drinks. A few months ago, he started the Fragrance series, which features olfactory-themed cocktails presented as reinterpretations of classic fragrance-related novels, such as references from Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls and the Jean-Baptiste Grenouille character from Patrick Süskind’s Perfume.
You can check more of Tiger’s projects and events on his Facebook page.
6. Silvia Daniela Istrate
Silvia Daniela Istrate @silviadanielaistrate is from Rome and is one of the strongest and most gifted bartenders at the national and international level. In the past few years, she has been kicking butt in more than 30 international competitions and has won the best female prize several times, among others is the Best Female Bartender at the Roadhouse World Final in 2018.
She is known for her grace but also for her energy that characterizes her unique style. After working for two years as a trainer in two bartending schools in Rome, she started collaborating with the famous Tivoli Hotel chain as a guest bartender. Today, Silvia is an in-demand performer and competitor. She also organizes Flair and Bartending MasterClasses.
In addition to competitions, training schools, events, and trips, Silvia has also appeared in several television shows. Her most recent TV appearance was on Romania’s Got Talent. You can follow her Facebook page for more updates on her journey.
7. Mario Farulla
Mario Farulla @mariofarulla is the bar manager at Baccano in Rome. When he was 19 years old, he left Italy to travel the world and worked in England, Azerbaijan, and the Middle East. He gained his mixology experience from working in five-star hotels and bars, such as the Four Seasons, the Marriott group, and Galvin Brothers (a Michelin Star restaurant group).
He then came back to Rome to work in his home city. The bar he now manages has been named the 3rd Best Cocktail Bar in Italy and he was dubbed as the Best Bar Manager. On top of that, Baccano also ranked 70th amongst the Top 100 Bars In the World in 2019, all thanks to their hardworking bar manager and his team.
His mission is to always incorporate his personal touch in the cocktails he creates, typically mixing Calvados and Cognacs with classic Italian cocktails. Mario loves to maintain perfection in what he does, and his attainments no matter how great, never satisfy him. He maintains a philosophy that a good cocktail can be complicated or easy, as long as it’s the right drink for the customer.
8. Agostino Perrone
Agostino Perrone @agodragos is a Master Mixologist and Director for Mixology at The Connaught Bar in Mayfair, London. His mixology chronicles began somewhere on the shores of Lake Como in Italy, where as a teenager who loved photography, he was looking for an outlet for his creativity and found it in a local bar.
Agostino then embarked on a journey that brought him to Sardinia and on to Soho, Battersea, and Notting Hill, all the time experimenting, learning, and growing as a mixologist.
His reputation grew among his peers. It was during his stay in Notting Hill that he won his first big accolade: 2006 CLASS Bartender of the Year. This gave him international exposure and eventually brought him across Europe and Scandinavia and to the US.
Agostino went on to win other big recognitions, including back-to-back European Mixologist of the Year awards in 2016 and 2017. The Connaught was also named European Bar of the Year back-to-back.
Check out his YouTube channel with his fellow mixologist, Giorgio Bargiani.
9. Thomas Henry
Thomas Henry @thomashenryofficial is a refreshment and cocktails company in Berlin, Germany. It is named after 18th-century pharmacist and alcohol connoisseur, Thomas Henry, who revolutionized the industry when he invented a way to keep water non-perishable by creating soft drinks with carbonation. Today, the 10-year old company has grown to be one of the biggest mixology players in Europe.
Mixologists at Thomas Henry aim to carry on the legacy of their namesake by creating premium mixers and bold, innovative drinking inspirations. They believe that trying new things creates new enjoyment, and daring mixtures lead to an exciting and inspiring atmosphere.
Since 2010, the company hasn't stopped reinventing itself with original and category driving products such as Cherry Blossom Tonic, Elderflower Tonic, and Coffee Tonic. They also organize Mixologist Academies with internationally renowned bartenders and hold their Food & Drinks Transformation Workshops. They take pride in calling themselves “a brand from bartenders for bartenders”.
10. Moe Aljaff
Moe Aljaff @schmuckordie worked in hospitality for 6 years before he went full-mixologist in 2016. It was thanks to a documentary called Hey Bartender that Moe felt inspired to become a part of the drink industry. He began traveling the world and went as far as India and Thailand – where he worked barefoot behind a beach bar at a diver’s resort and was nearly arrested for overstaying his visa.
But it was when he competed in Bacardi Legacy and won Norway’s national title with his cocktail, Carousel, that Moe’s mixology journey has taken a wild turn for the best and the rest was history.
He had lived briefly in Barcelona where he’d always intended to come back and open a bar which he did. He is now Co-Founder & Owner at Two Schmucks in the city. The bar is described as an easygoing dive bar of sorts. The speakers play hip-hop and the bartenders wear flip-flops, but they still serve amazing cocktails and a lot more.
That’s a wrap for this year! If 2020’s best mixologists are any indication, we’re in for a lot more mixology pioneers and showstoppers in 2021. We’re definitely not going to run out of inspiration anytime soon.
Do you know an awesome bartender or mixologist who can kick off our list for the new year? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our marketing specialist will respond within 48 hours to send you details on how to join.