German Bar Tour

Darcy O'Neil :: May 23, 2009 8:53 PM

If you are looking for a properly made classic cocktail then Germany is the place to go. When touring around some of the bars in Germany the cocktails are a striking collection of properly crafted classic cocktails. Obviously, this doesn't apply to all the bars in Germany, but classic cocktails seem to be a specialty here. Even better, the cocktails are created with the typical German precision and attention to detail.

Interestingly, you can get a better Sazerac in many German bars than you can in New Orleans. The folks who put together Tales of the Cocktail are working on this, because if you order a Sazerac in the Crescent City, it's usually syrupy sweet. But that is just an example of the execution of classic cocktails in Germany.

Having a guided tour always slants one's view, but it was nice to be able to go to a bar and order a unique drink, that was made properly. In many places ordering these drinks could result in great disappointment and a fall back to beer.

Speaking of beer, I'm a big fan of it, so I had to intersperse beer into my drink selection. German beer is a fine drink to behold, especially after talking non-stop all day, with the Bols Bar Coaching sessions. Even though some people will say that's normal for me, I still find beer to be a great soother for tired vocal cords and quenching one's thirst. 

Here is a quick list of the some of the bars I visited. There are a couple missing, because I forgot to grab a business card or bar napkin. But I'll remember shortly.

Reingold (Berlin) - Sazerac (Rye)

Very nice bar with a warm, inviting ambiance. It has a classic look to it, without being dated. The drinks are excellent and the cocktail menu is extensive.

Vis a Vis (Berlin) - Pegu Club

A smaller bar in a restaurant. Still very nice and Thorsten Pannek, the bartender, creates fine cocktails. The menu is smaller than Reingold's, but still contains enough to keep any cocktail aficionado happy.

Shochu Bar (Berlin) - Good Beer

Very interesting bar with impressive eastern influenced decor. I decided to intersperse a beer at this point, on a recommendation from the manager. Very good beer.

Rum Trader (Berlin) - Gin & Tonic

A trip to Berlin without a stop at Rum Trader wouldn't be right. As expected, a very small bar, full to capacity. A huge variety of rum, but my voice was starting to go so a Gin & Tonic was called for to keep things together until I went to bed.

Al-Salam (Cologne) - Sazerac with XO Cognac

An excellent bar and even better food. Very knowledgeable staff and a good selection of spirits and a classic cocktail menu.

Schumann's Bar (Munich) - Yellow Chartreuse Smash

The place to be in Munich. Every drink that was made looked perfect. The bartenders do take great care with their cocktails. The bar has an interesting appeal, with a relatively plain interior, but an exceptional cocktail menu. This is one of those places you could probably order anything and they'd be able to make it, or get really close.

Honourable Mention

While I had some time off between presentations, I made my way to Amsterdam to visit the fine folks at Door 74. As expected the cocktails were beautifully created, and with out pretence. I still like bartenders who are friendly and professional.

The drinks of choice were Manhattan's, a Frisco, and a new creation by head bartender Timo that I forget the name (not on the menu), but was pleasant, with a mildly fruity side.

Because I spent most of the time in Germany working inside and then going out to bars and restaurants I took very few pictures. I did get one at the first coaching session in Hamburg and then I had some time to snap a few outside of the Cologne Cathedral, which you really can't miss when you go to the train station.

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