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Exploring the Spirit World with Federico Manganaro: A Senior Bartender's Perspective

Explore Federico Manganaro's journey at The OWO's Guard's Bar, from Italy to London. Crafting drinks and judging at the London Spirits Competition, he showcases dedication and expertise.

In the heart of the iconic Raffles Hotels & Resorts at The OWO, Federico Manganaro serves as the Senior Bartender at Raffles London at The OWO, offering a sanctuary where spirits come to life. With a lineage connected to the world of wine through his father, Federico's journey in the spirits industry began in the vibrant hospitality landscape of Italy. His teenage years in a local bar in Varese marked the genesis of his love affair with the bar counter, with spirits at the epicenter of his craft.

Image Source: Abbey of Sant'antimo with vineyards

For Federico, evaluating spirits is an art, not bound by a rigid framework. Each spirit, with its unique attributes, contributes to a holistic tasting experience. The key, according to him, lies in achieving harmony throughout the entire journey, aligning with the spirit's ideal characteristics.

Having participated in the London Competitions for multiple editions, Federico emphasizes the unparalleled professionalism exhibited by the judging panel. Renowned industry personalities bring their expertise to the table, creating an environment conducive to passionate and informed evaluations. Reflecting on past experiences, Federico was struck by the shared ardor displayed during the judging sessions, fostering an atmosphere that magnified the competition's significance.

Image Source: London Spirits Competition 2023

Addressing the promotion of medal wins, Federico suggests that consumer impressions can be significantly enhanced by showcasing awards on product labels. For the trade sector, a strategic approach involves not only communicating the win but also delving into the specifics, leveraging judge comments to underline the spirit's unique merits.

Image Source: Larrikin Gin Sunburnt Country

Looking ahead to 2024, Federico anticipates a surge in the popularity of agave-based spirits, emphasizing the growing importance of sustainability and storytelling in the industry. The London Spirits Competition's celebration of its 7th edition excites Federico, presenting an opportunity to explore new products and reassess previously encountered spirits.

Image Features: Agave Based

Beyond the professional realm, Federico's curiosity extends to the inner workings of distilleries. Distillery visits captivate him, offering insights into the intricate processes and decisions that shape each spirit. In his leisure moments, Federico finds solace in an americano or a well-crafted glass of cognac, each enjoyed in a manner befitting the occasion.


As a testament to his London preferences, Federico shares a curated list of favorite bars, including The Donovan Bar, The Vesper at The Dorchester, and The American Bar at The Stafford Hotel. For bottle shops, Hedonism takes the crown as the unrivaled destination in London.

Image Source: The American Bar

In conclusion, Federico Manganaro's journey through the spirit world not only reflects his expertise but also unveils a genuine passion for the craft that extends beyond the bar counter, making him a distinctive presence in the realm of spirits.

Interview with Ankita Okate, CGO at Beverage Trade Network

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