Words by: Jane Ryan
Luca Missaglia is well known for being one of the most hospitable people to be found behind a bar in London. Currently mixing drinks at Quo Vadis, a Soho institute for great cocktails, Luca travelled over to London from his home country of Italy to perfect his skills of cocktails and hospitality. Now he's in the UK final for Bacardi Legacy, with dreams of sharing his cocktail philosophy with the world.
"I'm an Italian and I like to cook, I like to travel and I love tasting new things but, aside from hospitality and when I'm not at home cooking or making drinks at bars or traveling, I like to snowboard during the winter.
I grew up in Vimercate, a city near to Milan. As a teenager and my early 20s I spent most of my time in Milan, working and partying. I started working in a restaurant at the age of 14 and at some point I realised I wanted to be out of the kitchen and on the floor talking to the customers, and the best way to do that was to be a bartender.
The reason I came to London was because I read an article about Georgio Locatelli and how he came here, and recreated something great from Italy. I've met him now and he really is a fantastic guy, very inspirational. In terms of being inspired by fellow bartenders and their drinks, well there are many names I could list but at I always remember the early days here at Quo Vadis with Zdenek Kastanek.
Entering Legacy was important for me because it's a great competition and it gives bartenders the opportunity to share their own "cocktail philosophy" with the world. For me hospitality is definitely the most important aspect of bartending. It's fundamental to the profession. All of my drinks are based around that ethos. 'Mi Casa Es Su Casa' I believe is the holy grail of the hospitality industry.
My personal favourite drink is coffee, when it comes to cocktails I will say that there is favourite one for each moment in time. I really like any spirit which has history and heritage behind, like Bacardi for rum, Del Maguey for mezcal, Chateau de Laquy for armagnac.
In then end I would like to open my own place, but I guess that's obvious. For now I'm happy entertaining and serving the members at Quo Vadis, it makes me feel good."
My top ten London bars are as follows:
Portobello Star (at the Alternative Awards)
The Connaught Bar - Ago and the team are amazing
Artesian Bar - the hospitality is great
Hawksmoor - with Ali Reynolds in the mix
LAB Bar - takes me back to origin
Bar Italia - make me feel at home
Beaufort Bar and American Bar at The Savoy - magical atmosphere
Cafe Pacifico - tequila for everyone
White Lyan - my favorite east choice
The Punch Room at Edition Hotel - Best Milk Punch I ever tried