Going 10 Rounds with Top Bartender Onofrio Raimondi
The head bartender at Fiola in Washington, D.C., tackles our speed round of questions.
What do you like to drink after a shift? “As much as I love cocktails, I also enjoy relaxing with a glass of wine while I’m reading a cook book or anything food related. In my free time, I’m interested in learning more about wine and all different types of cuisines.”
What is the all-time best dive bar jukebox song? “I much prefer the hits from ’60s, ’70s and ’80s than the music of these days, so I would say “Surfin’ USA” from one of the best bands of all time, The Beach Boys.”
What drink should be banished and why? “I would really appreciate it if the Porn Star Martini could be banished, because in my personal opinion it’s super sugary, far too sweet and not a balanced drink at all.”
Name the first good drink you ever drank and where you had it. “It’s been many years at this point, but I can easily say that one of my first good drinks was an Americano.”
What book on cocktails or spirits is your go-to resource? “The Flavor Thesaurus by Niki Segnit. It’s the book that I use to check the flavor profile of my ingredients, but the one that I consider my bible is Liquid Intelligence by Dave Arnold.”
What’s your favorite bottle of booze that costs less than $25? “Gordon’s Gin.”
What’s your favorite bottle of booze that costs more than $100? “Pio Cesare Barolo Chinato.”
What’s your favorite cocktail and food pairing? “At Fiola, we have cocktail and food pairings, and one of my favorites is a twist on a French 75 that has rosé Champagne, and is paired with lobster ravioli. The brightness of the rosé Champagne and the acid of the lemon juice matches perfectly with the mineral and salty lobster notes.”
What’s your favorite shot-and-a-beer combination? “Patron Silver Tequila and Corona.”
What is the one tool that you always make sure to pack when you’re traveling for business? “My personal squeezer, Japanese mixing glass, muddler, bar spoon, jigger and shakers. I rely on these tools everywhere I go.”
Onofrio Raimondi is the head bartender at Fiola in Washington, D.C.
Interview has been condensed and edited.