Business travel tips from an expert traveler

Camila Lafratta

Bruno Marçal, Getty Images, Anna Carolina Negri

Mike Simko went from strategy consultant to gin producer – and, in the meantime, he visited many countries



The story of the European man who fell in love with Latin America is not new. But few gringos have immersed themselves in the new culture like Mike Simko. So much so that when it was time to start a business in Brazil, he created a product filled with local elements: Arapuru, the first Brazilian London Dry Gin.


Born in Bratislava, Slovakia, Mike acquired the habit of traveling at an early age. He studied in Vienna, learned languages (he can speak seven), and moved to London. Because of his work in the corporate market, he lived between airports. “For five years, I visited up to three countries each week,” he says.


In 2013, he moved to São Paulo to start a business and was introduced to Brazilian elements that inspired his gin. “I looked for ingredients that could translate into a Brazilian recipe, like the Amazonian puxuri, to replace the nutmeg,” he says. The result, according to him, is “a combination of Macunaíma and The Great Gatsby.” Currently planning to expand to other markets, Mike may have settled down in São Paulo, but nothing is forever. “I’m enjoying my trip,” he affirms. “Currently, this is my trip.”


Two tips for the airport

“Always ask if you have access to a VIP Lounge. Sometimes your credit card gives you access and you don’t even know.”


“Acquiring habits, like always keeping your passport in the same pocket or your laptop accessible to go through security. This way you’ll speed up the process and won’t lose anything along the way.”



The best place you lived

“Salamanca in Spain. I spent the best summer of my life there while learning Spanish. It’s a city full of history and incredible people.”



A dream destination

“The Amazon. Arapuru has ingredients from Brazil’s five regions, and I’ve been to many of them. But I’ve never been to the Amazon.”



Next trip

“To Jalapão, for the feast of the harvest of golden grass.”