London bartender inspired by flamenco to create winning Italicus cocktail

Italicus winners Mélissa Coutant Dario Doimo Selia Bugallo

Italian aperitif Italicus was combined with rich flavours including coffee, sake and sherry to create the winning flamenco-inspired cocktail in the brand’s global bartender competition.

Selia Bugallo of Kwãnt in Mayfair in London won The Global Art of Italicus Aperitivo Challenge with her drink, The Three of Us. She faced 11 other national winners from around the world at the global final at Barcelona bar Paradiso.

She created a long drink that mixes Italicus with coffee-infused sake and oloroso sherry, topped with rosemary and grapefruit tonic and garnished with a basil leaf.

Inspired by Italy’s historic rosolio di bergamotto aperitivo spirit, Italicus combines Calabrian bergamot with other botanicals including Cedro lemons, camomile, lavender, gentian, yellow roses and melissa balm.

Selia said: “In creating this aperitivo, I was inspired by my experience as a professional flamenco dancer and its beauty and simplicity. The path to success in dance is to connect your mind, body and soul – which is where the title The Three of Us came from. I used this to put together a simple yet beautiful drink, just like the art of flamenco.”

As part of her prize, Selia will fly to New York for a unique experience behind the bar at The NoMad Bar – ranked in fourth place in the World’s 50 Best Bars 2019.

The 12 finalists faced a panel of expert judges and were marked on their inspiration and connection with any form of art, presentation, interaction and knowledge of the brand.

Giuseppe Gallo, who launched Italicus three years ago, said: “I’m very proud of all our finalists, and we have seen some exceptional art expressions this year connecting with the essence of the aperitivo and Italicus.

“Selia’s drink and inspiration captured the art and soul of Italicus in the most delectable and creative way, reflecting her own soul and personality and truly championed the aperitivo-style cocktail with a simple and yet modern twist.”

Dario Doimo of Mr Coco in Las Vegas and Mélissa Coutant from Cafe Moderne in Paris took second and third place in the competition respectively.

The other national winners at the global final were: Constantinos Kazelis of Lost + Found Drinkery in Nicosia in Cyprus; Peggy Knuth of Fragrances at The Ritz-Carlton in Berlin; Artem Talalay of Sakhalin in Moscow; Lucas Kelm of Amo in Venice; Giuseppe Lilliu of Bar Feijoa in Amsterdam; Walker Wong of Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong; Carmine Di Marino of Svanen in Oslo (representing Scandinavia); Dominik Csuti of Black Swan in Budapest; and Silvia Dorninger of Creps al Born in Barcelona.

All national finalists have also been given the opportunity to promote their cocktail through a guest bartending experience.

Three of Us by Selia Bugallo
45ml Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
15ml Coffee-infused sake
25ml Oloroso sherry
Topped with rosemary and grapefruit tonic over ice.
Garnish with a basil leaf.

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