The next finalist in our series is Michael Braun, a bartender at Bibis Italianissimo, an Italian Restaurant and Cocktail Bar in Leeds. I’ve a real urge to try this one and with the fact that win or lose, this cocktail is going to feature on the Bibis menu anyway – it kinda shows a commitment and conviction in the quality of the drink. So… Ladies and Gentlemen we present the Fichi Selvaggi!
60ml Bacardi Superior Rum
25ml Cloudy Apple juice
5ml Maraschino Mix
0.7ml Aged Balsamico
2 Bar spoons Homemade Fig Compot
Method: Add all ingredients into a cobbler shaker, stir to liven up the fig, add ice and shake hard. Double strain over ice into a double old fashioned.
Michael tells us about the inspiration behind his cocktail:
From the Apennine Mountains in the north to the lush green fields of the south, ‘Fichi Selvaggi’ translates from Italian as ‘wild figs’ grow wild and free across Italy, ever ready to be picked and tasted.
As a young South African, I decided to make the big move to England to further my bartending career. Although not quite the same, I found refuge and a little taste of home working in Italian restaurants, with the warmth of the pizza oven blasting out and the welcoming cries of ‘Buongiorno’ as soon as you walk through the door. It wasn’t quite Africa, but it became home.
I began to realise that bartending and cookery are not that different and tried to broaden my experience of flavours by taking an interest in the kitchen. The one dish I have never forgotten is a simple Caprese salad with a fig and balsamic reduction. It was the simplicity and fresh flavours of this style of Italian cooking that I wanted to capture in my drink. Italian food is so delicious because it balances flavours and each ingredient compliments the others to perfection, so I chose the ingredients for this cocktail to work together with the Bacardi Superior to reveal its distinctive palate. The floral aroma of the figs and the hint of sweetness to the Balsamico bring out something unique from the Bacardi Superior to make this drink just a little bit special.
The most important thing that I have learnt from my experience of Italian hospitality is that even the simplest of ingredients, mixed with passion, can make a great combination.
So, with my South African roots, a little taste of Italy, and the heart of Puerto Rico, I believe we can start a new legacy.
Please take a moment to check out Michael’s page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MichaelBraunsFichiSalvaggi and if you like to Twitter, then Michael can be found @michaeldbraun
Thanks to Michael for letting us use these amazing photos
Rum Databank: Bacardi