Feeling the benefits of a relatively early previous night, my last full day in Berlin got off to a much better start and I made it to Glashaus in time to see “Around the world in eleven cocktails”, a session from the Traveling Mixologists. Featuring fantastic cocktails, high-proof gin and a comparisson of the dilution rates between stirring and shaking, it was at once both fun and informative. It was also great to see the Traveling Mixologists mixing up drinks again after their fine work at Reingold, and thankfully the mixture of English and German only slightly hindered my comprehension of the session.
Shortly afterwards Jeffrey Morgenthaler took to the stage for a presentation on blogging and the online cocktail world. Despite his nerves beforehand he did a great job, but I won’t spoil any of the presentation as Jeff has put it up online for anyone that didn’t get a chance to see it in person. After Jeff’s session I had the pleasure of finally meeting Christian of Cocktailwelten as well as plenty of Oh Gosh! readers – thanks to everyone that said hi!
Unfortunately the next session on Sake was largely in German, so I milled around the building wishing I had paid more attention to my German classes at school and checking out some of the other tasting bars and demo areas. Before long it was time for “Why The Mixed Drink Is European”, a panel hosted by Henry Besant, Nick Strangeway and Charles Vexenat that featured some great drinks from the Café Royal Cocktail Book including the wonderful Clubland Cocktail.
That evening I headed for Wintergarten Varieté, a beautiful if quirky theatre that hosted the Mixology Bar Awards 2008. Featuring a bizarre local comedian, a cocktail-themed fashion show, as well as the awards themselves, it made for a fun end to the official BCB events. A big congratulations must go out to Stephan and Alex for winning Spirit of the Year for their wonderful Celery bitters – a well deserved accolade indeed.
After the awards ceremony I hooked up with Jeffery Morgenthaler, Emma Davies of Miller’s Gin, and Traveling Mixologist Gonçalo de Sousa Monteiro, and headed for the conveniently located Victoria Bar which was just down the road from the Wintergarten. Given its close location to an event filled with bartenders Victoria Bar was understandably busy, but this problem was soon solved when Gonçalo, who formerly worked there, jumped behind the bar and starting making us drinks.
The cocktails I sampled at Victoria Bar included the Smokers Delight, a wonderful mix of Laphroaig, chocolate liqueur and bitters, a rum-based Manhattan variation called the Guyana Manhattan, and the Juniper Club, a Peychaud’s heavy version of the Pegu Club that I will be featuring here in more detail soon. These were some of the most balanced, delicious cocktails I’ve ever had and my hat comes off to Gonçalo for jumping behind the bar and making them for us. Cheers!
After Victoria Bar we headed back to Rum Trader to experience it one last time, and I enjoyed a tasty Corn and Oil as well as a drink served in a beautiful metal cocktail glass that was brought for me by a very kind reader of this site. Our final stop was a bar hidden behind an unmarked door beneath a railway bridge that John Gakuru had suggested earlier that evening. Jeff made the great suggestion of Negronis all-round, which made for a tasty end to a wonderful few days in Berlin.
Which pretty much brings me to the end of my time in Berlin. It is a city that had a big impact on me, and I will definitely be back as soon as I can to experience more of the fantastic bar scene they have there. A big thank you to Helmut and the rest of the Mixology Magazine team for laying on such a great show in BCB, and for making me feel so welcome. Thanks also to all the readers of Oh Gosh! that introduced themselves to me whilst I was out there, and all the other people I met both at BCB and in the bars afterwards. It was a pleasure to meet you all – prost!
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