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Enjoy the true spirit of figs

Esprit de Figues - the spirit of figs - it's a lovely play on words, as this alcoholic spirit made from Violette de Bordeaux figs, manages to convey the true spirit of this luscious fruit.

Crafted from age-old French techniques, Esprit de Figues, this exquisite new French fig liqueur, showcases beautiful earthly delights of rich, fresh figs - created by artisan distillers.

To create the flavour and colour of this lovely liqueur, succulent handpicked figs have been tenderly infused for three months to release their delicate flavour, before bottling at a 150 year old distillery located in Burgundy, France.

Esprit de Figues is a rich dark purple colour in the bottle and softens to a pale mauve when poured. The nose is bright, sweet fresh figs that give way to berry jam, honey and vanilla. To taste there is fresh fig, raspberry jam with a hint of peach and honey.

Developed by Patrick Borg and his team at Australian liquor distribution company, Think Spirits, Esprit de Figues has been his labour of love for many, many years and is now being launched in Australia.

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Patrick Borg generously took time to share his passion for this product:

Patrick, thank you so much for being prepared to talk to us about Esprit de Figues. Can you please tell us what led to its creation? Was it your own idea?

I was originally inspired by my family’s Mediterranean heritage - my mother migrated from Malta to Australia in the 1960’s, and brought a small clipping of her favourite fruit – the fig. To this day, the tree she planted still produces luscious figs for only two short months each year. This limited fig season inspired my quest to create the taste of fresh figs in a liqueur that could be enjoyed all year round.

 

I believe it uses age-old methodology and ‘Pure’ techniques and that Esprit de Figues is created from the freshest Violette de Bordeaux figs, and has no artificial colours or flavours. Is this correct?

Yes that’s correct. Esprit de Figues is the world’s first true FRESH fig liqueur using only the freshest Violette de Bordeaux Figs which begin their maceration within 48-72 hours from harvest. Other fig products in the market to our knowledge claim to be made from either dried figs, fig juice or sundried figs. Esprit de Figues contains absolutely NO artificial colours or flavours.

Is it also true that the beautiful colour of the liqueur is derived from a secret technique extracted from the skin of the Violette de Bordeaux figs?

Yes that’s correct the colour is derived from a secret technique extracted from the Violette de Bordeaux fig skins by our artisan distillers.

 

As you were developing this liqueur were there any false starts or times when you almost gave up?

The Esprit project started way back in 2009. It wasn't until the 12th sample in 2012 did we sign off on the taste of the liquid -  three years! I still recall the moment before I tasted this sample telling my colleagues that I would cancel the project if the taste was not right. It just so happened this 12th batch was the one! True story...It than took an additional four years to work out how to bring the vision I had for the colour to reality. What was important, was not to use any artificial colours or flavours to derive the taste of fresh figs and the beautiful purple colour of the Violette de Bordeaux figs.

 

I believe you are based in Australia, so how are you and this product linked to France?

Let’s face it, Australians are not renowned for creating some of the worlds best tasting spirits or liqueurs. Having also travelled the world and visited many distilleries around the globe I came to the realisation that no one makes spirits and liqueurs like the French…they just have a knack of getting these things right. Esprit de Figues is no exception. The patience to create a liqueur for seven years with the  "no compromise on quality” attitude is un heard of any where else in the world.

 

I believe it is made in a 150-year-old distillery in Burgundy. Where exactly is it? How did you this locate  this distillery and why did you decide to use this particular one?

That’s correct though we do not disclose the distillery name or location as they wish to remain anonymous. One thing we can add is that they are a fifth generation liqueur producer from Burgundy and have been producing French liqueurs since the late 1800’s.

 

Is there a large team at the distillery working on making this liqueur?

Not really, our producer is a very small artisan maker of super luxury French liqueurs. There would be maximum of 20 people employed at the distillery. They are the third largest producers of Creme de Cassis in the world. By the way, only three people know the full recipe of Esprit de Figues: the owner of the distillery, the master distiller and myself!

 

What is your favourite way to drink Esprit de Figues?

My mother, who I created Esprit de Figues for, loves it neat over ice…full stop. I absolutely love it with Perrier Mineral Water. Just 45mls of Esprit in a glass filled full of ice than topped with Perrier. I squeeze a wedge of lemon and drop it into the glass but not before I rim the glass with my freshly squeezed lemon wedge – delicious !

 

Do you use it in recipes, other than cocktails, or with food at all?

Mainly in our Esprit de Figues Cocktail Collection. That said, we have been inundated with cocktail recipes form the 400+ accounts we are featured in to date (and growing). Rockpool (Neil Perry's Sydney restaurant) is currently working on a beautiful fig-inspired menu where Esprit de Figues will be the core ingredient.

 

What sort of feedback are you getting from people who have tried Esprit de Figues?

We are receiving very positive feedback from our channels and have over 400 leading bars, restaurants and resorts stocking our brand  throughout the country. Our friends at Southern Ocean Lodge, on Kangaroo Island tell us they are featuring a range of Esprit de Figues Cocktails regularly to their guests - as ‘Cocktail of the Day’.

I believe you also own THINK Spirits Distribution Co. Can you tell me about this, please?

Recognising the worldwide trend towards premium spirits and liqueurs, Think Spirits was incorporated in 2004 to distribute a very select range of contemporary brands. Today, Think Spirits is a top 10 Spirits distributor and marketer, and one of the the last remaining truly independent, family Australian spirits companies ranked in the top 10.

 

Do you have any plans to create other fig-based liqueurs or spirits? Or are there other drinks that you are eager to see made, maybe using other fruits? If so, what are they – or is it still a secret?

Funny you should ask. I have recently been inspired to create another world first! The project is still under wraps but one thing I can assure you it will not take seven years to bring to market as we hope to launch later on in this year…we will keep you posted!

 

Is there anything else you would like to have mentioned in connection with Esprit de Figues?

Keep on enjoying it!

(We will!, and thank you, Patrick Borg for this interview)

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Ways to enjoy Esprit de Figues: 

As a drink: Exclusively designed to mix well Esprit de Figues holds its bold purple/mauve colour and importantly maintains its distinctive flavour. It’s perfect to add a splash to Champagne or Prosecco and brilliant for creating cocktails such as Fig Sangria; Figtini or Fig Honey Sour. Esprit de Figues can also be added to simple mixed drinks like Esprit & Soda. 

With food: Drizzle over cut rockmelon, or macerate fresh figs in it for a few minutes before serving for a double-fig delight. Esprit de Figues is delicious over ice cream, especially Maggie beer's burnt fig ice cream. Try it as a dressing over crisped pancetta on a goat cheese, rocket and fig salad, too. Add a little to chocolate ganache for a subtle flavour change.

For the full collection of drink and cocktail recipes visit ......

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Do YOU have a good recipe for using Esprit de Figues in drinks or food that you would like to share here?

 

 

 

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