In Carnival Corp's new television series “Good Spirits,” cocktail chef Matthew Biancaniello sails the globe in search of extraordinary everyday people, stories of spirits, and one-of-a-kind cocktail creations.
Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe of The Harold & Maudecast sit down with Matthew in an upcoming episode "Setting Sail with Pure Imagination" to talk about his new show and the incredible people, places and fresh new ingredients he discovered for his legendary cocktails.
If you haven’t yet met Matthew Biancaniello, Cocktail Chef formerly of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel’s Library Bar, think Willy Wonka and Leonardo Da Vinci creating unrivaled specialties unlike anything ever experienced in Los Angeles before. One of the freshest and most unique talents to appear on the bartending scene, Biancaniello has found his niche by crafting cocktails based on farm-fresh organic foods, such as the Heirloom Tomato Mojito, the 25 year aged balsamic vinegar and strawberry libation named the Last Tango in Modena, and the fresh arugula inspired Roquette. After his departure he started broadening his horizons by popping up all around town creating alcoholic ice creams and oysters with sea urchin and squid ink.
Impressively, Biancaniello only started bartending seven years ago when he transitioned out of a sales position with Time Out New York and began working for a catering company in Los Angeles. Self-taught, he read cocktail books to learn the basics such as Dale DeGroff’s “The Essential Cocktail”, which allowed him to start viewing mixing cocktails as an art. His first official and only bartending job came at the Library Bar about seven years ago. He used his own time and money to revamp the bar from sour mixes to homemade syrups with fresh, local produce inspired by his farmer’s market finds, visiting four different markets weekly. He also has formed his own bee colony to produce wild honey specifically for his cocktails. He was introduced to foraging by Pascal Baudar and began discovering unique aromatics in the Santa Monica mountains and began growing Cuban oregano and passion fruit in The Cooks Garden by HGEL in Venice.
Biancaniello has been featured in the issues of Playboy, Instyle, Imbibe, Saveur, Bon Appetit and both The Los Angeles and New York Times. In addition to his new show "Good Spirits" for Carnival Corp, his television credits include Best Bars in America for Esquire TV, CNN, Unique Eats and Extra Virgin for the Cooking Channel and Giada at Home for the Food Network.
Matthew won Best Bartender in LA from both Table 20 and Eater LA in 2010 and in 2013 and won Best Cocktails from LA WEEKLY and Best Mocktails from LA MAGAZINE. He has consulted for the Chef Roy Choi, Sunkist, The California Almond Board, Luxe Hotels, Sofitel, and also creates unforgettable private parties, weddings and corporate events for clients such as TBS. His first book, EAT YOUR DRINK, was released in March 2016 by Harper Collins and Dey Street Books.