November 2012 Bartender of the Month: Victoria D’Amato-Moran
Name: Victoria D’Amato-Moran
Establishment Name: Pizans Italian Seafood Room and Cent'Anni Cocktails
The daughter of a San Francisco bartender, and directly related to the historical fishing industry at the Fishermen’s Wharf, Victoria D’amato-Moran’s family was always cooking, making wine, grappa, liqueurs and vinegars. Destined to follow in her father’s footsteps, D’Amato-Moran, started in the restaurant business working under Jeremiah Tower, at his 4-star restaurant, Stars.
Finding herself managing a bar for her cousin in North Beach, in 2000, she knew bartending and inventing new drinks would be her art. Soon after, Victoria entered and won her first drink competition in 2003, and in 2005 was voted the Best “Side Car Cocktail” by San Francisco Magazine. Now, with 20 successful competitions under her belt D’amato-Moran is a decorated and respected mixologist. Her most recent awards include Southern, Wine & Spirits, “Battle of the Mixologists”, for the Nightclub & Bar Show held in Las Vegas, 2012 and 4 Orange Vodka Cocktail Competition, held in Miami during the Food Networks, Food & Wine Show, The New York Bar Show Le Cognac, Suntory Cocktail Competition, and “Battle Of The Mixologists”, all which awarded her 1st & 2nd places honors in 2011 and 2010.
In addition, D’amato-Moran, is a Cocktail Developer who has created portfolios for several high profile brands, including Iconic Brands, Skyy Spirits LLC, Suntory, Arta Tequila, Pur Spirits, websites, and full consulting for Gaston Acurios’ La Mar San Francisco, Michael Chiarello’s Bottega/ Napa, Ca., La Costanara Peruvian Cuisine/Montara, Ca. , Joe DiMaggios Chop House/San Francisco, and most recently paired her talent with a South East Asian Restaurant in San Francisco.
Victoria continues her home based business as Cent’ Anni Cocktails, and is creating her line of “Spirit Syrups“, which are also award winning mixers used in cocktails and with food, during the Viva Sangrita Competition, proved her Cocktail Sangrita Spheres should now also be marketed.
Considered to be the Martha Stewart of cocktails, she now has extended her business to Cocktail Styling for Brand Portfolios, such as Square One Organic Spirits. Victoria uses the freshest ingredients available from her local farmers, and her own garden, where she makes ingredients from scratch, such as fruit juices, herbal tinctures, and her line of Spirit Syrups as well as her cocktail garnishes, proven in the Best Garnish Award in the Las Vegas Nightclub & Bar “Battle of the Mixologists”.
Victoria has been recognized for her work in Nightclub & Bar Magazine, Sante' Magazine, Wine Enthusiast, SanFrancisco Magazine, 7x7 Magazine, Tasting Panel Magazine, Imbibe, The San Francisco Chronicle, Gary Regans 2011 Bartenders Guide, Gary Regans 2012 Bartenders Guide and The Don Julio Recipe Book. Her cocktail video can be seen on You Tube under Cent’Anni Cocktails.
What’s in the mixing glass or shaker?
"Cent'Anni Cocktails Lemon Spice Spirit Syrup", High West Rendezvous, Fresh Unfiltered Apple Juice, Apple Bitters.
My Apple Brandy and spice soaked Cherry, (2 years) & Lemon Zest. Home Made Brandied Cranberry to the recipe as Garnish
The Spirit Syrups (tm) are complex and bold. 3 ingredient cocktails, a dash of bitters..Ba-zing!
What are you sipping and why?
Foraged Manhattan made with my Candy Cap Mushroom Syrup, Four Roses Bourbon, Cinzano Sweet Vermouth.
As soon as I discovered the Candy Caps, the first thing I thought, was how to make a syrup and use it in my cocktails. I've been making the syrup for 2 years now. Candy Caps taste and smell like maple syrup, with an earthy tone. Gorgeous!
I use it in Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, bourbon cocktails and desserts. It’s simply divine. All of my syrups are used for cocktails and culinary. My Grandparents were incredible chefs, hunters and foragers. Everything I make is inspired from them.
What are you dancing to while mixing?
Funny you should ask. My father, was well known bartender in our neighborhood of North Beach, ran a bar called "The Intrigue". The day I started bartending, against my father’s wishes, many many moons ago, Judge Cantelli was my first customer. It was the hottest day of the year at 103 degrees! He said, Hey kid'! I hear you are a D'Amato! Are you Dancing Danny’s daughter?" I said, "You gotta be kidding, who is Dancing Danny?" Judge said, "Hah! Your eyes...the way you move behind the bar! You ARE your father’s daughter…Danny D'Amato! Dancing Danny! "
So...you see...dancing is the way you move behind the bar, interact with guests, watch the door, answer the phone, make the cocktail, play the floor, sing(talk) to your guests…but my Father did it on the bar top too. I opted out of that one!
A little Sinatra, a little hard rock, Salsa any time. That’s a bartender...
What are some quirks or quotes that you are known for?
“Keep your ears and eyes open, your mouth shut” - that’s from my father!
“Assai ben balla a chi Fortuna suona” – He dances well to whom Fortune pipes
In July of this year, I built from the ground up, an Italian Pop Up concept for my husband and I called Pizans Italian Seafood Room. Currently located inside a bar where we cook three nights a week. We are now looking for our own spot! Everything under one roof, the Spirit Syrups, the cocktails, the food, the family. Everything handcrafted with the love and spirit. All of our dishes are made from scratch, all plates come back licked clean! Customers are saying that our home style Italian is the best in San Francisco. This is very exciting as I have always wanted my very own place!