The definitive guide to the finest drinking experiences

The World Class 50: The Definitive Drinking Guide features 50 of the most innovative and talented bartenders from across the globe. Each bartender showcases the perfect location, the most inventive cocktail and the finest of ingredients and spirits that define the 'must have' fine drinking experience in their city.

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Diego Barcellos De Carvalho’s Moorea Volcano

Diego Barcellos de Carvalho represented Brazil at the World Class Bartender of the Year final, 2013

Mr Lam is a smart Chinese restaurant that sits behind huge windows in the affluent residential neighbourhood of Lagoa. The eponymous Mr Lam had worked for decades at Mr Chow, first in London and then heading up the kitchen at the New York City restaurant (described by Givenchy, as highlighted on the restaurant’s own website, as a ‘precious jewel box’) when it opened in 1979. Coaxed to Brazil by a keen fan and seduced by Rio’s charms, Mr Lam put aside thoughts of retirement and opened his own restaurant seven years ago, offering exquisite Chinese food, enriched with a hint of Brazilian flavour.

Enjoy the low-tempo soundtrack of MPB (Música Popular Brasileira) and bookend your dinner with delicious cocktails. The melding of cultures behind the huge windows of this modern space is unparalleled and refreshing. ‘The techniques and rituals that the Chinese have to create their food inspire me,’ explains Diego, ‘and I do use a lot of tea’.

The Bartender

Cocktail making has not always run smoothly for Diego Barcellos de Carvalho. ‘When I was starting out I prepared a dry Martini for a guest, he rejected it saying that it was the worst cocktail he’d ever had and that I should be fired,’ recalls Diego, ‘but I didn’t get fired and I didn’t give up.’ Having worked previously in the graphics industry, Diego, 27, changed career four years ago and hasn’t looked back since (not after that first Martini at least). ‘My first step is to look at the flavours of the base spirit, then whether I need something citrusy, spicy, bitter, etc, – and then I start creating.’

The Drink

‘The cocktail was inspired by the island of Moorea, Tahiti’s next-door neighbour, and the hospitality Diego received in French Polynesia. It uses local dragon fruit and papaya and a homemade syrup infused with coriander seed. To make the homemade coriander seed syrup Diego macerates 100g of coriander seeds in 500ml of hot water for 5 minutes, filters the mixture to eliminate any solid residues and then adds 250g of sugar, mixing well to dissolve.

The drink balances the sweet and citrus notes of the Don Julio, with the fresh lemon juice and cane molasses found in the syrup.


The Technique

Don Julio Blanco • 50ml
Dragon fruit and papaya purée• 50ml
Coriander seed syrup • 30ml
Lemon juice • 20ml
Angostura bitters • 3 dashes
Contains 20 grams of alcohol per serve

Mix all the ingredients in a shaker. Serve over ice in a tall glass.

Accompany with dragon fruit and papaya pieces drizzled with coriander seed syrup.

Take a table on the terrace and drink in the view over Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon and the mountains beyond, or reserve the circular table built around a Lamborghini engine for first-rate Chinese food and a fun night with friends Rio-style: think classy Copacabana with gilded chop sticks.

Diego’s Insider’s Guide to Rio de Janeiro

Place to stay

Place to eat
Forneria São Sebastião

Place to relax
Meza Bar

Place to lounge
Bar Urca

Place to Dance
Lapa 40º

Place to shop
Shopping Leblon

Place to visit
Botanical Gardens

Place to see
Recreio Beach

Images by Aline Massuca