The first lady bartender who I wanted to introduce to you is Grazia Di Franco. I’ve met this talented lady for the first time while I was in the south of Italy, in a place called Marina di Ravenna.
Jimmy Bertazzoli invited Timo Janse and myself to do a guestbartending shift at Mo.Wa, his caipirinha-loving cocktailbar. Grazia showed us where we could find all the ingredients, Timo and me were just playing around behind the bar while making some of our signature drinks, and Jimmy drank them all. It was a weekend full of fun (and shots), as you can see in the video below.
Grazia Di Franco at Chorus bar
When I was in Rome last month, I was kindly surprised to learn that Grazia had left Marina di Ravenna and was tending bar at Chorus. I went to visit her and was rewarded with a very good and spicy cocktail.
In my opinion, Grazia is a very passionate and motivated bartender and I felt the urge to introduce her to you guys. Or better yet, let her do it herself 😉
Could you introduce yourself?
I’m Grazia Di Franco, I’m 26, I come from Italy, and now I’m working in Rome at Chorus. I’m a bartender from the age of 21 years.
Where or how did you learn the tricks of the trade? Do you have a mentor or someone you look up to in the industry?
I started working in Sicily, then I took courses at the planet one bartender school of Catania and Milan, but a year ago I met Jimmy Bertazzoli and I can say that he is my mentor in this business, he taught me techniques, knowledge and passion.
What was your first job ever?
My first job was lifeguard assistant in Sicily.
Oke, this had to be done… 😀
What is your educational background and have you ever done something completely different than bartending?
I never started college, finished high school where I studied economics and foreign languages, I realized that I would never have taken that job, and I started to work as a waitress and then moved to the bar.
Do you see yourself tending bar for the rest of your life?
Yeah I do, but my desire is to become a bartender very prepared and able to travel the world for starting up new bars.
Any things you’d like to see changed in the wonderful world of bartending? Come on, we know it’s fantastic but I’m sure there is something..
Perhaps at this moment people are thinking too much to their look, they all do the same things, wear the same clothes, criticize each other, speak the same way. I think that bartending is of course knowledge, but first of all, passion, to feel at home the customers, entertain them, smile, and do not bore them with the history and technique of each drink and bottle, no one will want to know how 🙂
Do you have a theory about why there are less women working in the industry then there are men?
No, I do not have a real theory. I just think that maybe a lot of girls do not want to do a job in which you go to bed at 5 am every day, you can not go out on the weekends, you do not have time to go to the hairdresser, beautician, and shopping, you do not have time to build a family. But believe me, I will gladly give up everything for one night behind my bar.
What do you prefer to drink on your day off?
It’s depends on how I feel. But I love Daiquiri, or every drinks makes with tequila or mezcal like a margarita.
What’s your signature drink?
I create new drink every day, one of the most recent, made for a competition of sweet drink with Martini, is a twist on a classic flip, just the opposite of what I drink, the recipe is: dark rum, china martini, cream, simple syrup (1:1), fresh squeezed orange and lemon, a whole egg and at the end a sprinkling of cinnamon.
Do you have some advice for girls who would like to start working as a bartender?
Yay. Be prepared to see less and less of your childhood friends, your families and the sunshine. but be also ready to start the best job ever, where your personality will be the center of yourself, where your creativity will come out and you will know a lot of friends all over the world. So studied, and traveling more as you can.
Which lady bartender would you like to nominate to take part in this interview?
Yes, I want to appoint Valeria Lanzoni. I’m sure you do not know her, she is from Milan, and she’s very unlucky not to find the right place for her. But she’s totally in love with this work, crying for it, wants to learn more and more. She is a true friend and one of the best bartender with I have worked with.