Behind The Bar: Michael Kuhnhen of La Bocca

A Valley staple and local fave, La Bocca Urban Pizzeria + Wine Bar brings the best Mediterranean and Italian flavors together to create a mouthwatering menu of items like truffled mushroom pizza, smoked prosciutto Alfredo and charcuterie plates. And with such delicious eats, it’s no surprise that the bar is pouring up top notch drinks to wash it all down with. Not only does La Bocca have an extensive wine list, it also pours up house-made sangrias, house-made seasonal cellos and handcrafted cocktails that are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate. We had a chance to jump behind the bar at La Bocca North at High Street to meet the three seasoned bartenders/mixologists who are amping up the cocktail program in North Phoenix.

Keep reading to meet the first bartender, Michael Kuhnhen, as he shares his top recommendation, his favorite drink and a tasty recipe for anyone who’s a fan of rum.

Name: Michael Kuhnhen

Favorite drink to mix: Paper Plane. Mostly because no one ever orders them so when they do I get excited. It’s a great cocktail.

I’d most like to mix a drink for… Justo Thomas, Head Butcher at La Bernardin in New York City. I have a background as a butcher and he is a huge idol to me.

If I could have one superpower while working, it’d be… Telekinesis. I’d never have to worry about filling up water for my guests and polishing glassware would be a breeze.

If I were a flavor, I’d be… Lemon. It’s a versatile flavor and can be used with anything.

My top recommendation at La Bocca is… Truffled mushroom pizza and La Bocca Daiquiri.

When I’m not working, I enjoy sipping on… Beaujolais. I’m a big wine drinker outside of work. It’s a versatile red even in the summer. It’s the red grape that should have been white.

Honey Say – Honydew

  • 1.5 oz. Aviation Gin
  • 1 oz. Honeydew simple syrup
  • .75 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • .25 oz. Green Chartreuse Sorrel

Directions: Muddle 1/3 loose tin of sorrel and lime juice in shaker. Add rest of ingredients and ice. Shake, and then double strain into coupe glass. Garnish with a dehydrated lime slice.

For more information, visit:

Left to Right: TJ, Tony, Michael
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