Honorable Hospitality

At Semma in New York City, Lucia Corichi celebrates the people and culture of India.

Originally from Mexico, Lucia Corichi cares deeply about honoring cultures through food and beverage. “Hospitality, in the sense of large communal dinner tables, big families, and storytelling, has been with me since birth,” she says. “That cemented my drive to go to culinary school after graduating high school in the U.S.” While attending the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in New York City, Corichi interned at The Modern, the Michelin-starred restaurant at the Museum of Modern Art, and upon graduating she planned to start a job there in the kitchen. “But while at CIA, my front-of-house professor planted a seed in me that just couldn’t be stopped, so I asked if there was a front-of-house position open and there was—as a bar back,” she says. “I took it, not really knowing what the role entailed, and it turned out to be one of the most life-changing decisions I’ve made yet, instilling an unending passion for bartending within me.”

In the five years since she worked at The Modern, Corichi has bartended at various venues throughout New York City, and now finds herself serving as head bartender for Southern Indian restaurant Semma in Manhattan’s West Village. Corichi joined the staff in February and was immediately drawn to the concept and its owners and chef. “Their whole ethos as a restaurant group is to be unapologetically true to their Indian roots, so I knew they would be understanding and supportive of people of color like me,” she explains. “They speak openly about being rebels, outliers, passionate about their roots, and unafraid to challenge conventional norms—I love that.”

At Semma, Corichi is tasked with honoring the venue’s overall goal of being unapologetically Indian, including using as many Indian spirits and products in her cocktail program as possible (drinks are $18-$22). Her Bangalore Days ($18) comprises cardamom-infused Old Monk rum, coconut milk, house-made jaggery syrup, pineapple purée, lemon juice, and condensed milk, while her Coffee Over Tea ($22) blends Amrut single malt whisky, Carpana Antica Formula sweet vermouth, Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee liqueur, filtered coffee, and Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters. “It’s my job to learn about Indian culture and embrace Chef Vijay Kumar’s story and approach to food, and pass that knowledge and love onto guests,” Corichi adds. “Food and beverage are the cornerstones of life and culture, yet they can be so easily taken for granted. It’s a core part of who I am, to celebrate the everyday and give thanks.”

Lucia Corichi’s Recipes

Bangalore Days


2 ounces cardamom-infused Old Monk rum¹;

2 ounces coconut milk;

1 ounce jaggery syrup²;

¾ ounce The Perfect Purée pineapple purée; 

¼ ounce lemon juice; 

1 bar spoon condensed milk;

Toasted unsweetened coconut flakes;

Pineapple wedge.


In an ice-filled cocktail shaker, combine rum, milks, syrup, purée, and juice. Shake and strain into a tall glass rimmed with the coconut flakes. Add half the remaining ice from the cocktail shaker, plus fresh ice. Garnish with a pineapple wedge.

¹Add one cup whole green cardamom to one 750-ml. of rum. Let sit at room temperature overnight, then strain.

²On the stovetop, bring 2 cups jaggery, 2 cups water, and 1 cup loose-leaf chai tea to a simmer and let reduce until a maple syrup-like consistency is achieved. Let cool, then strain.

Coffee Over Tea


1½ ounces Amrut single malt whisky;

½ ounce Carpana Antica Formula sweet vermouth;

½ ounce Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee liqueur;

¼ ounce filtered coffee;

Dash Angostura bitters;

Dash Peychaud’s bitters;

Lemon peel;

Several coffee beans.


In an ice-filled rocks glass, combine whisky, vermouth, liqueur, coffee, and bitters, then stir. Express a lemon peel over the drink, then discard, and garnish with coffee beans.