Michele Mariotti is Bar Manager of MO Bar in Singapore. He makes us two cocktails, one with Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur and Campari and the second with Kafir Lime infused Gin and 3 Limes Cordial.
Michele introduce yourself
I am Michele Mariotti, the bar manager of MO Bar in Singapore. I am originally from a small village in the North of Italy and while I studied I was working in a hotel along the sea, something which is quite common in my region. I felt in the office there was a lot of negative energy, but whenever I worked in the bar it was way more positive and I am sensitive to the energy around me. I decided to make my career in the bar industry and moved to London to progress. My first job was in an ice cream bar, that had a small dining menu for the evening. The guy presumed because I was Italian I could cook (I had no clue how to cook) and gave me the job. I moved to a club and started as a barback, then moved to bars, but working at the American Bar is where I fell in love with the hotel world where you create strong bonds with the guests. I spent four years at the Savoy with Erik and it really improved my techniques. London is amazing, but it takes a lot of energy because you need to travel far to get a large flat or you live near the center and you have a tiny space. When I turned 30 I thought I needed to try something else and Asia was on the list. Then a year ago EC Proof offered me the opportunity to come and open MO Bar based on the concept of nomadic tribes from South East Asia. Here, it’s just like a living room for people who love to travel in Asia.
The other project I work on with my colleagues, Alex Murphy and Adrian Besa is called Unjiggered. It’s a podcast that features people from around the world in our industry and allows local bartenders to learn from them. Because I can see when I was a young bartender at the Savoy, I could have learnt more from people like Erik, but I thought he was untouchable, when in fact he is very open and humble, but I was too shy. So the idea of this podcast is to ask questions to people of his experience and level and create a bridge for the younger generation.
The classic you want to show us
25 ml of Paper Lantern Gin
25ml of Campari
25ml of Cocchi Vermouth Amaro
5ml of Mr Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
The bar you dream of
In Italy, I love Lake Como, so it would be there because you have an international population. On top of that, Lake Como has an incredible amount of herbs, spices and biodiversity to work with. So I would like a bar on one of the villas above the lake, with an incredible view for only ten people and drinks based on what I can forage around the lake. It would include food and even pairing but food pairing with cocktails, not the other way around.
What do you do in your time off
Travelling is a way for me to unplug. I like to combine my few days off by staying in a city and then trekking in nature. Otherwise, I am a bit of a geek, so spend my time on the computer or gaming.
The spirit you like the most
I am a big fan of low abv cocktails, so I love to use vermouth in a drink. Italian vermouth is great for sweeter profiles and french are better for dry varieties. I put vermouth in everything.
What makes a good cocktail
I think the thing is accessibility. Guests want to know what they having. My friend Jessy from Atlas makes a great twist on a French 75. It’s simple, but they add a little bit of saline solution so it’s savoury and great and you understand why.
What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
Anything sparkling. I had the chance to work with Scout and Matt in Sydney and we also visited PS40 and what they do is incredible regarding carbonation. It turns down the sweetness of a drink and makes it easier to drink.
The signature cocktail you want to show us
45ml of Widges Gin infused with Kafir Lime
25ml of 3 Limes Cordial (Makrut Lime Leaf, Calamansi and Regular Lime)
3 dashes of Lime Bitters
Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
When I was in Japan, I visited Star Bar in Ginza where Kishi San is the bar master. He is very famous in Japan and when you are there everything is just perfect. I have never seen that level of perfection anywhere else. Otherwise, Alessandro Palazzi from Dukes Bar is someone you must interview too.