Mihai Ostafi is the brand new head bartender of Oriole bar in London, one of the 50 world's best bars since its opening. Mihai is also the Roots brand ambassador in London and the UK. His own roots are in Romania and his bartender career began back home almost 8 years ago in his hometown Arad.
- Mihai, tell us about your roots in Romania and how you found yourself in London.
I consider myself lucky to have my roots in the city of Arad in Romania, a border town between Romania, Hungary and Serbia, a meeting point of different nationalities and cultures. This element helped me broaden my horizons and made me want to discover other countries, meet new people and expose myself to challenging professional experiences.
London was a spontaneous choice, an experience that I was planning to last just one year. Now in October it will be 4 years already and it still feels new. Like many, I consider it the “Mecca” of bartending, and this is why I stayed here. It is a place you never stop learning and of course the place I had the opportunity to join the team of one of the best bars in the world, Oriole.
- What do you think about the new trend of simpler, low abv, drinks, and the reintroduction of liqueurs in London bars ?
The trend of simple drinks has been slowly coming back in the last couple of years and I believe it will become stronger in the next years. I always like to say that simplicity is beauty. Sometimes the toughest to invent are the ones that have balance with just a few ingredients, which is not easy at all. Imagine most of the classic cocktails, which have become timeless.
Simple, and lower abv, serves are getting more popular and premium quality liqueurs are a tool in a bar which is extremely useful for such serves. Bars in London are setting international trends, and have set the highest quality standards internationally, leaving behind all other traditional cocktail capitals. One can say that right now London is the leading world’s cocktail capital and this means that the world is closely looking at what London bars are doing at his moment.
- Roots is a range of craft liqueurs from Greece. How did you embrace their philosophy, the heritage & the flavours ?
Roots liqueurs take us in a way “back to the Roots”. They have a rich heritage, really unique ingredients, and represent old recipes with “roots” in the past.
All the Roots flavours like e.g. Roots Rakomelo with mountain honey, Roots Kanela with cinnamon or Roots Mastic with Chios Mastic immediately hook you up and you can somehow discover your own roots through them. This is also how I embraced the philosophy of Roots: they took me back to simple, natural flavours through their wonderful history.
Oriole is a place where the various flavours create an experience. This is how Roots matched our pattern. As special products, with unique ingredients and heritage, Roots help us create memorable experiences for our guests, simple, with a wonderful story they can always remember.
You can give Mihai a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org