A Chat with Ann Tuennerman and Lucas Groglio
In honor of Tales of the Cocktail's 15th anniversary, Tales founder Ann Tuennerman is highlighting 15 bartenders whose lives and careers have been impacted by attending the event, and whose work has elevated the industry as a whole. In the eighth entry in this series, Ann shines a spotlight on bartender and entrepreneur, Lucas Groglio.
Where were you born and raised?
Buenos Aires, Argentina.
What attracted you to becoming a bartender in the first place?
Hospitality. How you can share love, connect and serve others with just a cocktail and a smile.
Was it planned or was it a temporary gig that evolved into a career?
Temporary gig of course! I think we all started that way, right?
What and where was your first bartending job?
A dive bar called ¨El Arbol¨(The Tree) in San Isidro, Buenos Aires. That's where I learned to make Caipirinhas and performed my first bar tricks.
Was there a moment when you decided that bartending would be your career?
Not really. I always saw it as something temporary to gain experience and get to know the industry so I could eventually build my own platform, which I did with LO HACEMOS BIEN. Today in my role as CEO, I don´t have the chance to bartend that much, but I´m really passionate about bartending. I love to jump behind the bar, whether it's to make great cocktails, or to enjoy how the best bartenders in the world do it and learn from them.
Was your family supportive of your decision to pursue bartending?
Yes. Always! They always believed in me and had my back. I will be forever grateful to them.
For someone who wants to pursue bartending as a career, what top 3 tips would you offer?
- Do it now!
- Learn all you can from your colleagues, books, seminars, and ask all you can from everyone.
- Travel as much as you can; it is very important to get to know other cultures and different people.
How did you first learn about Tales of the Cocktail?
From my great friend and mentor, Federico Cuco.
Where there any challenges you had to overcome to attend Tales the first time (financial, logistical, etc.)?
Yes. Flying to New Orleans from Argentina in July is the most expensive time of the year to travel.
Describe your first Tales experience and what it meant to you.
Best time of my life ever. There are no words to describe it. All I ever expected from the industry and beyond.
What was it like to be immersed in the community of bartenders and
cocktail luminaries from all over the world? Did it confirm bartending
as your calling?
Game-changing. It did confirm bartending and the cocktail industry as my true calling. Having the opportunity to share great moments, such as seminars, events, parties or just a simple conversation with the community of great bartenders and cocktail luminaries really made me understand what this industry is all about: creating and sharing great moments with people who see the world through your same eyes.
Describe your top 3 favorite moments from Tales.
- Having the opportunity to be part of the Cocktail Apprentice Program in Buenos Aires and work side by side with Mike Ryan, Leo Robitschek and Don Lee.
- When TOTC On Tour Buenos Aires finished and Ann & Paul ask me to join them in July to become part of the Tales Staff at New Orleans.
- My first Tales of The Cocktail in New Orleans, I couldn´t believe my eyes. It was an epic experience.
Tell us about any awards or recognition you received at Tales.
- Cocktail Awesomeness at the Cocktail Apprentice Program TOTC On Tour Buenos Aires 2014
- Best Beard TOTC NOLA 2016
Describe your top behind the bar experience where you impacted or inspired a guest?
Every time someone stares while I make a cocktail, I ask him or her if they make cocktails at home. Most of them have a shy "no" for an answer and that´s where I make them come behind the bar and show them everybody can mix good cocktails. If I can inspire you to believe in yourself and do something new that you didn´t dare do before, my work is done.
How has Tales energized your career overall and what opportunities have flowed from your experience?
This one is really easy and really difficult at the same time. Tales of the Cocktail changed my life for ever. I haven't missed a TOTC event since 2013, and every Tales is my favorite time of the year. Just to gather with colleges and friends from all around the world is truly inspiring. My career has really kicked off since my first Tales, and I don´t think this is ever going to stop.
Describe any key professional relationships that were forged at Tales through networking with fellow bartenders, spirits luminaries and brand managers.
I really can´t count all the new friends and professional relationships forged at Tales, they are so many! But, I can tell you about this one guy who has my same nationality but we met in New Orleans, became really good friends, traveled together to Edinburgh, and now we are working together in Buenos Aires: my dearest friend and business partner Martin Tummino.
How would you sum up Tales to an aspiring bartender who is new to the profession?
The Biggest, Most Important and Greatest Cocktail Festival in the World! You should at least visit TOTC once in your life.
What is your go-to cocktail when you go out?
Gin & Tonic.
What is your favorite cocktail to make for friends and family?
Gin & Tonic. It´s always a winner. Super easy to play with different
fruits, herbs, bitters and other flavor changes. And everyone loves it!