Laura Hernández Espinosa : Colombia’s top sommelier promoting ancestral knowledge



  • LEO | La Sala de Laura in Bogota
  • #80 in the 50 World’s Best Bars list
  • Professional Sommelier valueing cultural heritage

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Laura Hernández Espinosa is an active partner of The Grupo LEO Project in the areas of beverage design, strategy and sustainability. Professional sommelier, along with a Master’s Degree in Development Studies, and an Executive Master’s in Business Administration, she is always searching for answers and actions oriented towards the development of a food culture that values the potential of Colombia’s natural and cultural heritage.

At LEO | La Sala de Laura, she stands out for her creativity and innovation offering a liquid proposal based on traditional drinks along with distillates of her own authorship inspired by Colombian ecosystems.

From 2009 to 2020, Laura Hernández Espinosa directed Funleo a non-profit organization focused on working to  vindicate the gastronomic traditions of Colombian communities, based on their biological and intangible heritage. She is currently President of the organization and consultant in the areas of entrepreneurship. Her work is based on the collection of promising biological species for beverage design purposes, and on the promotion of a food culture that celebrates national identities and values the potential of Colombia’s biodiversity. Passionate about sustainability as a lever to innovate and improve the well-being of the population, Laura Hernández Espinosa has worked as a consultant for international organizations and government entities, in which she has led various projects aimed at strengthening food and nutritional security in communities, especially with Afro-descendant, indigenous and peasant women.

La Sala de Laura, one of the two spaces in LEO. In its quest to exalt the beverage scene in Colombia, in 2022 enters for the first time achieving the position No. 70 within the “50 World’s Best Bars” list, thanks to the beverage proposal created by sommelier Laura Hernández Espinosa in which ingredients from different ecosystems such as foothills, mountain, desert, forest, paramo and humid forest, among others, to give way to five distillates of his own authorship with which she elaborates an innovative avant-garde Colombian cocktail proposal.

In addition, Laura and her team extols some other distillates made by artisans from indigenous communities such as a Contra, an medicinal drink from the Zenúes, and the essential Viche from the Afro-Pacific region. Also fermented drinks from honey mead, coca leaves, jagua, borojó, naidí, corozo, guava and gulupa. All of these are inspiration for a unique, creative mixology, linked to the Colombian territory. Along with the liquid proposal of this space located on the second floor of the restaurant, La Sala de Laura offers a menu different from the Sala de Leo and also inspired by the use of bioculturality and the flavors of multicultural Colombia: “The difference between the two spaces of the restaurant lies in the fact that in La Sala de Laura the bar is the epicenter, and the music and the decoration mark a different style” says Laura Hernández Espinosa.



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