Carlo Splendorini Mixes Up Gin Magic
It's hard to say Carlo Splendorini's last name and not conjure up images of a magician, dazzling an audience with feats of the impossible--especially when he's behind the bar summoning up enchantments in liquid form. Hyperbole aside, the kid can make a drink.
Lou Bustamante Carlo Splendorini behind the bar at Michael Mina
The soft-spoken Spelndorini, also one of this year's Bar Stars, at a mere 26 year-old is lead bartender for Michael Mina. While he may seem young, he's already a veteran with almost ten years experience working in bars. Getting his start in Europe, encouraged by his father who is also in the hospitality business, Spelndorini got his chops working in London and Italy before ending up in San Francisco at Gitane and then making the move to Michael Mina.
SFoodie helped judge a Nolet Gin cocktail contest recently that pitted all of the Michael Mina properties against each other, and by unanimous vote, Carlo Splendorini's drink won. A subtle and carefully balanced combination of Nolet's Silver Gin, sake, an interesting fennel-galangal house made cordial, egg whites, and a kaffir lime leaf garnish, the Sheidam Blossom ($11) impressed. Plenty of gin flavor shining through, but with a silky texture from the combination of sake and egg whites gave it an elegance and drinkability. After tasting 31 different drinks that afternoon, we could have finished his as a 32nd.
Lou Bustamante Splendorini making his Sheidam Blossom
To celebrate the win, the drink will be available at the bar off-menu for this week only.
Michael Mina, 252 California (at Battery), 415-397-9222