5 minutes with… Giannis Apostolopoulos

Giannis Apostolopoulos, talented mixologist and head of bars at Amazónico, on his experience of working in the hospitality industry and his love of cocktails

Food and Drink 10 Nov 2023

5 minutes with Giannis Apostolopoulos

What can diners expect from Amazónico?

Expect a diverse and unforgettable experience that takes you on a journey through a blend of flavours, aromas, music, vibes and ambiance. Begin your adventure from the main bar, so close to Berkeley Square but also deep in the jungle. Start with a tropical sangria or a refreshing guaivo! Continue the culinary journey with a sharing-style dinner in the restaurant and the rhythm of one of our bands and finally, dive into the underwater world of Octo for a nightcap. It’s nothing short of a unique experience!

What inspired you to work at Amazónico?

Latin America has always been a captivating source of ingredients and inspiration for me, but I hadn’t explored it to its full potential. Working in a restaurant such as Amazónico was a unique opportunity for me to expand my knowledge and the potential of my inspiration for new flavours. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the concept and the people behind it.

In 2022, your team at Amazónico Dubai was recognised for The Caterers The Bar Team of the Year” award and was listed as being on the 50 Best Bars List as a Destination Bar  for both 2022 and 2023. What do you think contributed to this level of success?

It’s all about the exceptional team behind the scenes. I consider myself fortunate to have worked with people who were there from the inception of this project and are still with me in both Dubai and London venues. In 2022, we structured a very strong team behind the bar which we are considering as more than just a team, its a family – something quite difficult to say for a group of 30 individuals. Then passion and patience contributed to a unique destination bar with amazing energy, serving up to 1,200 cocktails daily.

Giannis Apostolopoulos, talented mixologist and head of bars at Amazónico
Giannis Apostolopoulos, talented mixologist and head of bars at Amazónico

What inspires your cocktail menu?

Latin America, as mentioned earlier, is one of my biggest sources of inspiration for flavour creation. If you dig slightly into every nations culinary history around the Amazon, youll find that the glass is your canvas, and the options for colours and creativity are endless.

Do you have a favourite cocktail? If so, what is it?

Choosing a favourite from our team creations and menus is a tough call for me. However, I often become obsessed with that one cocktail that doesnt reach the menu because there is still ‘’something’’ missing.

What are the most important traits of a bartender to you?

Passion, energy, motivation, consistency, patience. 

In general, in every hospitality profession, these qualities are essential, and we need individuals who can inspire and guide young, passionate talent. We need people to share knowledge and motivate. Bartenders nowadays are missing the patience needed for personal growth and the passion for continuous learning!

Who is your role model and how have they influenced your work?

Throughout different phases of my life, I’ve had various mentors and sources of inspiration, making it challenging to pinpoint a single role model. However, I can mention two individuals who have significantly shaped my career in the bar industry. My first head bartender at Luna Lounge, Fotis Begetis, with his passion for classic cocktails, their twists, and his rule of no purées in the bar. Then Vincent Pastorello, my director, who Ive worked with for the past three years, coming from a fine dining background, has a genuine passion for spirits and cocktails and hes been introducing me to different aspects of bar management.

Latin America is one of the biggest sources of inspiration for flavour creation at Amazónico
Latin America is one of the biggest sources of inspiration for flavour creation at Amazónico

What single ingredient could you never live without?

Lime! Nowadays, we invent new ingredients through many different techniques. Sours, for example, can literally come from everything. But for me, nothing beats freshly squeezed lime juice.

What do you think of the London cocktail bar and restaurant scene?

Although I only relocated to London a few months ago, I’ve been following the market for years. London, in my view, has always been, and will continue to be, the cocktail capital. Despite the challenges posed by Covid and a shortage of passionate bartenders, I see a slow but steady increase in the scene’s vibrancy. I expect to see many exciting new concepts in the bar and restaurant scene in the coming months.

Whats next for Giannis Apostolopoulos?

Amazónico Monte Carlo in April! A lot more to follow…