From their homeland in Italy, MrG and Terry have travelled the world gaining experience at legendary bars such as The Reform, Panacea and The Sugar Lounge in Manchester. They were key members in staff-training launch operations such as LCI’s multiple casino roll out, and being mentored by industry experts such as Antonio Alexandre Da Silva Cardoso and Paulo Ramos from the Cocktail Academy, Portugal. They’ve worked with major leading international hotel chains to deliver everything from innovative projects for new bars, to event operations and effective staff training. G&T used their shared passion for hospitality, good food, the finest drinks and living life to the fullest as a catalyst to set up their own cocktail bar in a small town in Italy. The charisma of the duo and a genius marketing strategy built the business rapidly which enabled them to sell. Since moving to Dubai in 2008, G&T have been a cornerstone of the UAE drinks industry through the MMI Bar Academy, Tonique Consultancy and their involvement in key major events and extensive training. Alembic was founded in 2016 to bring drinks brands and consumers closer together through innovative liquid-ideas education.
CREATIVE BEVERAGE AGENCY
First steps up the ladder: Leaving Italy
G&T met 17 years ago in Malcesine on Lake Garda, one of the world’s most romantic settings. MrG was a gelataio and Mrs T was a waitress. Since then they’ve travelled and worked together sharing a dual passion for hospitality, good food, the finest drinks and living life to the fullest.
MrG convinced T to move to Manchester, UK in 1998 to live with their friends Andrea and Rosaria, and this was the start of their big adventure and future business. They soon realised that the business idea behind every restaurant and bar in the UK was very different to Italy where, with rare exceptions, everything is still run as a family business.
Like everyone else who couldn’t speak a word of English but wanted to work behind a super-trendy bar, MrG got his start washing dishes in the morning and bar backing at night. Meanwhile, MrsT joined the leading Italian restaurant of the time, bringing a touch of authentic Italian hospitality to the table.
After a rainy winter in Manchester, they took time out in Italy for the summer to plan their next career move. G&T’s next big step was to join The Reform by Bernard Carroll. This restaurant and bar was a pioneer in the changing perception of Manchester’s F&B industry, putting it in line with London standards. Here they met two important mentors: Antonio Alexandre Da Silva Cardoso and Paulo Ramos from the Cocktail Academy, Portugal.
This was the launch pad that led to valuable experience, taking the couple to Spain and Miami where they honed their skills and built their market intelligence and acumen. An exciting phone call brought them back to Manchester to bring these skills to the newly opened Sugar Lounge, with MrG as Bar Manager and MrsT leading the expert bar and floor team. Their dedication to the bar’s excellence helped it earn the accolade “Best Bar in the North West” by Theme magazine.
The Liquid Lounge Café and a genius marketing idea
In 2004 they moved to Italy to realise their dream of opening their own bar, The Liquid Lounge Café, a 35-seat venue in the old town of Giovinazzo in Apulia.
Their key innovation was a beach-delivery cocktail service called the “Liquid Lounge Express” which took advantage of the newly launched cycle lane. The cycle lane was being heavily promoted as environmentally friendly, so they positioned their service as a green operation. Their cocktail delivery man on a bike soon become known as “Flash” due to the speed of service. The idea was a roaring success and helped the bar become known for its signature evening cocktails made of fresh fruit and other natural ingredients. MrG as the promotional marketing face of the business and T, the creator of all the delicious concoctions, attracted a following and transformed the business into a highly lucrative revenue generator from day into night.
Liquid Lounge Café set a new benchmark for bar standards in execution and marketing, especially within a small town, and still causes ripples. Today, it remains a standard-bearer as a beautiful place with fresh seafood, great people and lovely sunsets.
Launches and training – lots of it
After two successful years G&T decided to sell the business and get back into the international market, returning to Manchester to open Bernard Carroll’s newest venture, Panacea. The bar went on to be named “Best Bar in the UK 2005” by Theme Magazine Awards.
In 2007 they were appointed by LCI (London Club International), a casino company expanding after a recent merger, to be part of the core team for the relaunch across UK. They took on the task of preparing F&B staff for the opening of three new casinos in Manchester, Leeds and London’s Leicester Square, training more than 120 staff.
Their first move to Dubai was as part of the setup team for Starwood’s Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi. G&T managed the beverage department plus their signature venue, Senyar Bar, hosting a number of international events including the UAE Grand Final for the World Class Program 2008, part of the International Diageo Bartender Awards.
Building on their expertise in launching new concepts and hotels, G&T set up the signature bespoke London bar, Eclipse, in the W Barcelona hotel (a flagship Starwood property). They then moved with Hilton to the Maldives where MrG was responsible for opening, training and rebranding of three key bars and handling other beverage-consultancy work for the group. Meanwhile, MrsT’s passion for events organization was gaining ground.
Mixology in the UAE: Making a mark
In 2010 they returned to Dubai and MrG began working with the MMI Bar Academy in bar consultancy, staff and management training, creating bespoke beverage menus and cocktail competitions for the On Trade market. T helped operate bars at major events across the UAE, including the Abu Dhabi F1 concerts, Golf Championship, Emirates Airline Rugby Sevens and the beverage theatre at Taste of Dubai.
G&T took their dynamism as a duo to the grand opening of the 2012 “Tales of Cocktail” in New Orleans where Absolut put together different bar concepts led by top bartenders from around the world for its 10th anniversary.
MrG’s next move was Head of Training and Education at Tonique Consultancy Company, specialising in bespoke events. While he managed beverage provision at significant events such as the F1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi, ran activations on yachts and lounges, and trained bartenders across the region, T shared her passion for healthy food and drinks within the spa that she was running at the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah.
Alembic – Liquid Education Experience Consultancy
The culmination of all this experience lead to the launch of G&T’s own business in 2016. Alembic – Liquid Education Experience is a creative beverage agency that is positioned between brands, consumers and the on-trade F&B to facilitate learning and development through running workshops and courses.
At Alembic, G&T have brought their sparkle and expertise to exclusive projects such as managing the Aboslut Elyx Martini classes, the launch of Chivas Ultis and collaborating with notable talents such as chef Jozef Yousef from Kitchen Theory, London.
They develop and run intensive training programs such as Maison by Pernod Ricard, a platform bringing together 12 bartenders for a journey of tasting, fun and challenges, leading to the L’Ecole Hotelier du Lausanne certification. Alembic is also the creator and executor of the bartender development program for Atlantis, The Palm in collaboration with Pernod Ricard Gulf. G&T have launched ongoing video tutorials for a mixologist program for the Iranian market in collaboration with Sunich, and the Lab Bar project with Red Bull creating exclusive recipes and video.
MrG’s attitude, charisma and knowledge make him one of the most respected and well-known trainers in the MENA region, and he continues to conduct exclusive mentoring tasting experiences for consumer and bartender workshops. This combined with T’s phenomenal passion for event management, delivery and attention to detail, makes them a combination that is as successful and long-lasting as the classic G&T.
In 2005 G&T was heavily involved in the MTV Awards in Lisbon running a full team of 50 bartenders for the big party at the Pavilion hosting 4,000 guests.
In 2006 G&T took on projects across Europe including the Lez Embiez party by Pernod Ricard for the annual sales and marketing convention in France which involved a bar setup for 1,500 guests; and Poland for the ICE (International Cocktail Experience) program run by the World Wide Cocktail Club in London, where they trained over 250 bartenders from the UK, Italy and other parts of the EU.
MrG has trained more than 1,500 F&B staff from various hotel groups and bars across the Gulf region, Africa and Asia. To name just a few, these include Atlantis The Palm, Hilton, Jumeirah Group, Fairmont, Starwood, Marriott, Melia, Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah and Jas Hospitality.
For the third-consecutive year MrG organised the bars and the beverages workshops for the Hilton GM conferences and F&B master conferences in Dubai – Istanbul, and Starwood Division Conference for the MENA region in Doha 2016.
MrG holds various certifications, the ones he is most proud of are:
QLF (Qualify Learner Facilitator) Learning Facilitator Program certification from L’Ecole Hotelier Du Lausanne