Chan Chan, by Mike Shum

Chan Chan, by Mike Shum

The Canadian finale of the prestigious Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition has taken place, and bartender Mike Shum will be travelling to Sydney to represent Canada. Mike, who mixes drinks at the iconic waterfront Fairmont Pacific Rim, lives and breathes hospitality, having worked in food and beverages his whole life. Growing up in Abbotsford, he made his début in the industry when he landed his first summer job: picking blueberries at some of the Fraser Valley’s many berry farms. He began serving in high school, which carried on throughout university. A UBC Kinesiology graduate, he found himself captivated with bartending after beginning his career at Pac Rim in 2010, and brought his unique flair and swagger to his classically inspired drinks under the watchful eye of head bartender Grant Sceney.

Bartender Mike Shum at the Fairmont Pacific Rim

Mike Shum has already quite a few bartending victories under his belt, including two home wins in the Made With Love Vancouver cocktail competition as well as the 2014 Made With Love Finale in Montreal and the 2014 Disaronno Mixing Star. His Bacardi Legacy victories in Vancouver, and Toronto, secured him a seat for the finale, yet the scope and challenges of Bacardi Legacy make this tournament a major league competition that gathers every year some of the best talent in the bartending world to compete on a global stage: last year’s winner was Tom Walker, bartender at the legendary American Bar at the Savoy, with his ‘Maid in Cuba‘.

Bacardi amps up the difficulty one extra notch by demanding bartenders to create classic and timeless cocktails that will be able to be recreated around the globe by many types and skill levels of bartenders, as opposed to a labour-intensive cocktail that likely won’t move past the confinements of a usual cocktail competition.

Mike’s answer to the challenge, the Chan Chan, is a approachable drink that showcases three products from Bacardi’s portfolio found behind most bars, with fresh lime juice, sugar, and Peychaud’s bitters. As Mike explained to justcocktails, “The Chan Chan is a drink representative of Cuban culture. When developing it I looked first at the marquee ingredient, Bacardi Superior, which is a classic Cuban-style rum. I then created a refreshing cocktail, destined to become a classic, which has the backbone of a Daiquiri, and the colour palette of a Bacardi Cocktail. Something, for short, that will withstand the test of time.”

The Chan Chan is named after the famous song from Cuba’s most iconic band, Buena Vista Social Club. It evokes the very feeling of Cuba, its music and salsa dance, embraces its origins yet with an inherent global appeal. “It perfectly suits my Bacardi Legacy Cocktail.”

Lately Mike has been busy introducing his drink to bartenders across the country; the Chan Chan already showed up on some other cocktail bars’ menus, notably Notturno. You can keep up with Mike’s endeavor to share the Chan Chan globally with the hashtag #chanchanaroundtown. He will compete in Sydney along with justcocktails friend, Greece’s Xaris Darras.

Chan Chan

Chan Chan, by Mike Shum

45 ml Bacardi Superior Rum
10 ml Martini Dry Vermouth
10 ml St. Germain Elderflower liqueur
15 ml fresh squeezed lime juice
10 ml simple syrup (1:1)
3 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters

Shake and strain into a chilled coupé glass. Garnish with an edible flower.

The Chan Chan is delicate and floral on the nose as the Bacardi Superior lifts the St. Germain’s elderflower notes. On the palate, Martini vermouth dries out the sip and adds further complexity with the Peychaud’s bitters and Bacardi providing warmth and spice on the finish. The finish is perfectly balanced, with a refreshing citrusy bite that makes you want to take another sip.

 

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