A hearty believer that life should be filled with fun and whimsy, Sam weaves together a colorful journey through her delicious creations. Follow along with her recipe tutorials, get sneak peeks into exclusive brand photo shoots, and have a great time along the way. No judgement here, just scrumptious fun!
Some people in life shine bright like a beam of light on a misty, dark day. Micaela Piccolo is one of those people. A warm, happy presence, she lights up the room and instantly commands the attention of all those around. She is a rising star in the mixology world with a positive attitude and classic sensibility that comes across in her inventive drinks. Micaela is one to watch and thus, the first subject of our new Mixologist Spotlight series. After moving to New York City 6 years ago and signing with a modeling agency, Micaela became disheartened by the harsh realities of the fashion world. Looking for something more, she decided to pursue a side job bartending. Slowly working her way from the lounge and club atmosphere into the world of craft cocktails, she honed her skills and fell in love with the simple concept of serving others. And with the growing credibility and innovation of mixologists being lauded in the food and beverage industry, a very promising and respected career path lay at her feet. A path that has since led Micaela around the world and at the forefront of craft cocktails. From creating signature drinks for Frangelico’s ‘Live Italian’ campaign to teaming up on projects with Cointreau, she is quickly becoming a formidable force in the industry. I actually had the pleasure of meeting Micaela at a Frangelico event last year and was blown away by her talent. Like the woman herself, her cocktails were uniquely bold, refreshingly complex, and yet maintained an air of timelessness. Since then I have been following her career, which has led her to partnering with quality spirit companies throughout East Asia and training the next generation of craft bartenders in Seoul. I recently caught up with Micaela and asked her some cheeky questions guised at getting to the heart of her philosophy and style as a mixologist. Naturally, her answers were as expected: fun-loving, insightful, and commanding. So, let’s delve deeper into the core values and methods that drive this rising star: Q: What signature cocktail recipe do you want carved on your tombstone? Paper Plane: ¾ oz Bourbon, ¾ oz Amaro Nonino, ¾ oz Aperol, ¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice. This is my happy drink. Thank you Sam Ross. Q: Do you remember your first alcoholic beverage? My step-father let me try a beer once. I regretted asking to taste it almost immediately. The follow ups were in high school when I first ruined myself with Parrot Bay Rum and tons of natty ice. Q: If you could travel back to any time, what historical figure would you want to make a drink for? A Sherry Cobbler for Princess Diana. I’ve always been fascinated by her life story and would love to just have a girl talk. Watching her evolve into a leader after an intense upbringing and an ugly divorce has continuously brought inspiration into my life as I continue to grow. I have a feeling she would enjoy a sherry cobbler. Q: You are stuck on a desert island with one liquor bottle, what is it? Chartreuse. It will last long, it tastes good warm, I can light it on fire and (possibly) pour it on a wound. Oh and because it’s delicious. Q: Tool or ingredient of choice? J Rosser Lomax. Q: Least favorite tool or ingredient? A bad attitude. Smile, friends! Q: If you are going to throw a drink in the face of a lover that has spurned you, what is in the glass? Only a fool wastes perfectly good alcohol on someone that doesn’t value them. Q: The difference between failing and failure is? Failure, for me, is accepting a negative state of mind. It means giving up entirely. Failing is temporary. You can continue to fail time and time again without giving up. It is something I am constantly reminding myself of. You only fail when you stop and accept your current state. Never stop fighting for you and what you want. “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” -Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture Q: Favorite boozy destination? Miami! Q: How many times have you cut yourself on a broken glass? (Extra points for stitches!) Allow me to preface this by saying I am very clumsy person. I have cut myself with broken glass so many times, it started to annoy my mother. Funny thing is I haven’t had any serious injuries from a bar shift. I think I have injured myself more on the opening of a bottle with aluminum foil or with a speed pourer. Shaker tins are also dangerous in the right circumstances. Q: What is the one question you would ask your mixology idol? Are you hiring? Q: On death row, your final cocktail request is… Something tiki, boozy, probably frozen, in a extravagant vessel with an overwhelming amount of garnishes and a crazy straw. (Preferably with two crazy straws to share with my awesome husband). I would prefer to remember how fun everything is before I go! A lot of people are taking life, work and their jobs almost too seriously nowadays. I want to smile big one last time and have a nice buzz on my way out. Q: Best reaction to taking a sip from a drink you created? After watching me build, shake and serve the drink. Guest takes a sip, looks at me and says, “You made this?” Micaela can currently be found traveling throughout East Asia as she works with Cointreau and Beckaly Franks of The Pontiac in Hong Kong to promote the “Cointreau Queens” competition. The competition is quite unique: a female bartender is the core Queen Contestant, meanwhile, she recruits 2 other bartenders to form a team and participate. The idea is to not focus solely on cocktail mixing but to show their dedication and excellence in teamwork behind bar, music editing for their events, outfit selections, and their composure during their performance. Micaela is helping Cointreau to build a platform to showcase the bartenders throughout East Asia. The aim is to not only celebrate bar technique, but to inspire confidence both behind the bar and in everyday life. Along the way, Micaela is continuing to innovate and stake her claim to fame in the craft cocktail world. So, join me as we whip up her latest creation, ‘Aperitif Royale’, and cheers the woman blazing a fierce trail for others to follow.