My Perfect Day
For this bartender – and cofounder of the popular Jigger, Beaker & Glass – every drink he creates is a work of art.
What about bartending inspires you?
I’m interested in creating stories through flavors. Alcohol has this property of conserving flavors, and you can play with that, from sweet to spicy to bitter, and create a story that way. In a way, being a bartender got me back into art.
What is one flavor story people can try at your bar?
I’m really into the tastes of sweet and salty. I like to work with experimental ingredients like sesame oil and peanut butter, flavors that will be surprising. I make a drink at Jigger, Beaker & Glass (Gärtnerstr. 15) called the Gomashio Pirate with sesame-oil rum, sake, stout beer syrup, wasabi, and lime.
How has Berlin’s bar scene changed in recent years?
The bar scene has changed dramatically. After Stagger Lee opened in 2010, they really started the modern mixology trend. Before that, there were a few good bars, like Würgeengel, Green Door (p. 60), and Victoria Bar (p. 60). But most started about two years ago, like Buck & Breck (p. 60), Redwood (p. 60), Schwarze Traube ( Wrangelstr. 24), and John Muir (p. Skalitzerstr. 50). Right now, Berlin is still doing classics and twists on classics. But I’m really into the experimental stuff. There’s still this idea in Berlin of having things be cheap, and that slows things down. But it’s getting there.
When you go out, which bars are your favorites?
The manager at Redwood is a friend of mine and I think he’s a really, really good host. I like TiER ( Weserstr. 42) for the atmosphere, but only when it’s really late, like 3am, because otherwise it’s too crowded. I go to Buck & Breck from time to time because there’s something about the atmosphere that’s really unique.
What about eating out?
I ate at Shiso Burger (Auguststr. 29c, www.shisoburger.de) recently and really liked the Asian twist to their burgers. But my absolute favorite restaurant is Lewy in Potsdam (Dortustr. 1). It’s the best restaurant I’ve been to since I moved to Berlin. It’s Italian with a twist, with a really good selection of cheese and wine.
Which area do you call home, and what drew you to it?
I’ve always loved Kreuzberg. It’s kind of messy and I like the chaos. It has the Turkish influence and the gay culture and this special rhythm. My favorite place would probably be the bar Roses (p. 60). You always go late and meet weird people, but the atmosphere is really special. You can do
whatever and be whatever.
What would be your perfect Berlin day?
I would start the day at the beautiful House of Small Wonder (p. 50) with a croque-madame sandwich and a really good matcha latte. If it were Sunday, I would spend the rest of the day at a club, like Sisyphos (Hauptstr. 15) or Berghain (p. 60). Otherwise I’d go to Kreuzberg – I love to walk along the canal there. I also love visiting abandoned places like Teufelsberg or the former Iraqi embassy. I’d bring a couple beers and shoot a lot of photos. That’s what I love about Berlin – the amount of possibilities. You can go to new places all the time. For dinner, I’d go to To Beef or Not to Beef (Akazienstr. 3, www.tobeefornottobeef.berlin), and after dinner, I’d go to Green Door. I always ask the bartenders what they recommend. One of the last things I had there was a plum grappa manhattan with an Angostura bitters sugared rim.
If Berlin were a drink, what would it be?
Something surprising and complex. Berlin is made for the tastes of many people.
To Beef or Not to Beef