Formerly founder and managing partner of MR. COCO, a visionary cocktail lounge located at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Under Francesco’s leadership, MR. COCO provided guests with a modern luxury experience, with consummate classic and signature cocktails, well-paired dishes, intimate world-class musical performances, and unmatched levels of service, raising the bar for cocktail culture in Las Vegas and beyond.
Francesco previously to MR. COCO served as Executive Director of Mixology and Spirits Educator for Southern Glazer Wine and Spirits.
His extensive knowledge and passion for his craft have made him a hit with his A-list celebrity clientele, world-class corporate clients, world renowned Michelin star chefs, national restaurant chains, international hotel companies and the thousands of people who’ve attended his seminars and live events around the world.
His distinguished career also includes tenures at the helm of some of the world’s leading hotel bars — The Gleneagles in Scotland; The Palace Hotel in Gstaadt, Switzerland; The Intercontinental Hotel in Cologne, Germany; and Harry’s Bar and Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Italy.
He has also won some of the world’s most prestigious cocktail competitions, including the Bacardi-Martini Grand Prix World Final and John White Course in Singapore (both involving the I.B.A.), Bartender Hall of Fame Award from Bartender’s Magazine, the Raising the Bar Award from Cheers Magazine, Mixologist of the Year Award from Nightclub and Bar Magazine, Spirit Professional of the Year from Santé Magazine, Tales Of The Cocktail’s Golden Spirit Award and Best In Show at the Iron Mixologist Competition sponsored by Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Of America.
He also contributes his mixology expertise to national publications, like the Robb Report Magazine’s Host Guide.
His proudest achievement is founding the Academy of Spirits and Fine Service in 2000. The 12-week education program has trained over 1,000 beverage professionals and imbued them with the same enthusiasm he brings to every cocktail. He is also the proud inventor of the bar work-station known as The Racetrack, which is poised to revolutionize the beverage industry.
Francesco is an honorary member of The United States Bartenders Guild, and a National Ambassador and Founding Member of the US Bartenders Guild Master Accreditation Program. Since 2010, Francesco has been a member of the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. He owns the Level 1 Sake Certification by the Japanese Sake Council and he is also an international Cognac Ambassador appointed with Gold Diploma by the B.N.I.C. (Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac). In March 2015, he also graduated from the Luis Ayala’s Rum University.
As a consummate connoisseur and industry ambassador who is passionate about sharing his knowledge with everyone he meets, Francesco is known worldwide for his catchphrase, “We’re not drinking, we’re learning.” ®
Entries have closed for 2022.
MEET ALL OUR JUDGES
Get to know the team of international experts that are the backbone of the competition.