Kings of Mixology with Alex Kratena and Simone Caporale

17 Aug 2015
2 min read
The Artesian bar in the Langham hotel, London, was named as the World’s best international cocktail bar for the third time at the 2015, Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. FOUR catches up with the award-winning mixologists to find out what makes them so successful…

Where did you grow up?

Alex |I grew up in Brno, eastern part of the Czech Republic.

Simone |In a small village called Mezzegra in Lake Como, Italy.

What did you aspire to be when you grew up?

Alex |I always wanted to be a traveller, thief, or millionaire, nothing else seemed adventurous enough. I ended up travelling as a bartender!

Simone |Well I originally wanted to be Batman, but when I realised it was not going to be possible in real life, I wanted to be an Archeologist or explorer.

How did you find your way into wine and spirits?

Alex |I never really thought: “hey, I want to be a bartender”… all I wanted to do was to travel and hospitality came with that naturally.The rest is history!

Simone |I was pretty naughty when I was 15 and got into quite a bit of trouble.I was forced to take a summer job as part of my punishment so started working as a glass collector in a discotheque by the lake shore…I loved it from the minute I started.

Where do you find inspiration for your drink recipes?

Both |We find inspiration in everything which surrounds us, but the truth is that lately a lot of inspiration has been coming from other disciplines rather than food and drink.We often tend to think about combinations first, then we work towards a recipe.

How do you feel about the success of this year’s British bars and bartenders in the Spirited Awards?

Both |It is incredible to be recognised as an industry for all the hard work everyone has been putting into their work and we are extremely proud to be part of this success.

Name your FOUR favourite cocktails from your bar menu:

Both |We love ‘Chameleon Crystals’ (Tanqueray No.Ten, pisco, lime, perilla, chilli, soy)for it’s presentation and crisp, bright flavours. ‘Death of a hipster‘(Workshop coffee, jasmine, tonic, oak smoke, elderflower) because it was such a pleasure to collaborate with the amazing team at Worskhop Coffee. ‘Spring drifting into summer’(Ketel One vodka, shochu, artichoke, coffee, yuzu, passion fruit, coriander) for it’s amazing flavour combination – it took us ages to develop the vessel – a bespoke silver landscape that holds the liquid, and finally ‘Mezcal Paparazzi‘,(Martini Rosso, white rhino rye, mezcal, leather aromas, bitters).

What interesting trends / themes are going on in the spirits world? What is on your radar at the moment?

Both |We think many people look at improving sustainability of their venues.Also we are seeing more and more bespoke vessels used as glassware.There have also never been so many collaborations between different experts in their categories – coffee / brewers / bartenders / perfumiers etc – which is fantastic as it’s resulting in incredible new flavour experiences.

What is your mostindispensablecocktail ingredient?

Alex |Citrus, because it’s delicious!

Simone |The one I haven’t tried yet as its indispensable to stay curious!I’m very excited about a trip we have planned for next year.Alex and I are heading to Peru in Feb 2016 to the Amazonian rainforest with a group of influential chefs to get inspired and discover new flavours.

What is another of your favourite tipples?

Alex |Negroni and small beer on the side makes me always happy!

Simone |Tommy’s margarita and a glass of water, it’s my love potion!


The Langham

Portland Place




+44 20 7636 1000