Francesco is a bartender at Backdoor 43 in Milan, the smallest bar in the world. He makes two cocktails for us, one with Whisky and Cocchi Torino and the second with Whisky and Umeshu.
Francesco introduce yourself
My name is Francesco Bonazzi and I am from Torino in Italy. I originally studied to be a lawyer, but my parents wisely told me: “You will work all your life and if you don’t love what you do, it may not be such a wonderful life”. So, four years ago I changed my career and became a bartender. My first job was actually at the bar where my brother worked. He had left to travel, so I approached his boss for a job. He told me he’d just lost a Bonazzi, so he’d like a new Bonazzi. A year later I moved to Milan and joined Mag Cafè and Backdoor 43, where I’ve been working for the past three years. Here at Backdoor 43 (the smallest bar in the world) the concept is a private bar that is an escape from everything. The bar holds no more than four people and guests have their own personal bartender. Reservations are taken two weeks in advance, for two hour slots. The guests fill out a form of preferred alcohol, flavours and styles of drinks. They choose their own glassware and even what music is played in the tiny bar. When the bartender is not serving the guests, he wears an Anonymous mask and opens a tiny window to serve takeaway cocktails to the people queuing outside in the street.
The classic you want to show us
45ml of Oban Little Bay whisky
22.5ml of Cocchi Torino vermouth
1 dash of Orange Bitter
The bar you dream of
I like to travel, so I would open a Backdoor 43 in cities around the world. The concept would be the same (a tiny, calm, personalised escape from the city), but the interiors would differ slightly to feel like they belong in that country.
What do you do in your time off
I love Torino, so every chance I get I return to visit family and friends. Otherwise, I explore my new home by foot to discover the real Milano.
The spirit you like the most
As I’m from Torino, I’d have to say vermouth as we have a strong connection to this drink. Vermouth is gentle and spicy and connects a cocktail to other ingredients.
What makes a good cocktail and which product do you want to highlight at this moment
The whole experience behind the cocktail. A drink is better when it’s served with a smile in an agreeable ambiance and then finally the taste of the drink.
For me it’s spice. I love many different spices, but at the moment I’m using a lot of sichuan pepper in drinks. Spices just twist a cocktail nicely.
The signature cocktail you want to show us
45ml of Talisker Storm Whisky
20ml of Umeshu Shiso Extra
10ml of Cocchi Torino Vermouth
2.5ml of Demera molasses
1 dash of Teapot bitter
Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender?
Go to Berlin and visit Tausend. I also think there are so many magical Italian bars, but you must visit The Jerry Thomas Project in Rome.