Tag Archives: Jigger’s

Jigger’s launches Belle Fleur Apple Eau De Vie!

And you know what they say, an apple a day... Olivier Jacobs from Jigger's (Ghent) wanted to make a spirit that is honest and responsibly made. A product which he followed from apple to bottle. Distilled by Biercée this results in an eau de vie that is an absolute jewel and there's only 2000 bottles...

Olivier really loves apples and right he is, I mean apples are a big deal. Catholics have built their entire faith around it, Newton discovered gravity, the Greeks went to war for more than ten years because of one apple, we have named cities after it and stuff that takes pictures of you! Apples are good!

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The beautiful bottle. Take a note of the label, designed and drawn by Olivier himself.

After all it is not so surprising that at one moment some people are going to stand up and say: “everybody’s making gin, well to hell with that, I’m going to make an apple eau de vie!”. So one year ago some 40 people started to pluck apples from an orchard in Namur and they did an incredible job, because after some calculation Olivier deduced that they must have used around 40.000 apples to make 1000 litres of apple eau de vie! When he said that, I tried to picture that mount of apples and 40 very tiered people.

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Bart Capoen from Jigger’s, working on one of the beauties.

The apples are from different varieties, but mostly Belle Fleurs, whence the name. They thought of calling it iApple or Eye Apple, but quickly abandoned the – rather cheesy – idea. So Belle Fleur it is and it’s lovely! We’ve always loved apple schnapps, it reminds of winter, snow and après ski get togethers. And God know’s I have left a rib on every piste in Austria that I visited. Speaking of ribs, Eve in the Garden Of Eden shouldn’t have bit the apple, she should have distilled it and probably ended up with Belle Fleur.

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Delicious Belle Fleur cocktails

It is neat as well as in cocktails and we tasted two examples of it: a wonderful sour with liquorice syrup and a brilliant thirst quenching long drink with ginger and cider.

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The crew from Jigger’s and Biercée. It’s a crazy, happy bunch and they certainly know how to make a good drink!

So, if you like apples – and who doesn’t- you should definitely try to lay your hands on one of those bottles. Cheers!

 

 

 

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Trends and tipular fixings for 2016

To augur the cocktail and spirit trends for 2016 is more like horoscopes, tarot and disembowelling lamb to check their livers for strange spots. It’s not hard science. So instead we take a look at what we saw in 2015 and what we would like to see in 2016, mixed together with what we could possibly see in the future. Also we’re talking mostly about Belgium here and not the UK or USA.

Cocktail bars are slowly shedding their retro vibe

So less bowties and suspenders walking around in 1930’s speakeasies or 1920’s flapper parties, chique American Bars or Café de Paris. I still love those bars, most of them are great. In my opinion it is exactly the same thing as the old Tiki bars, where they wanted to transport you to a Polynesian island and experience a tropical vacation without leaving town. The speakeasies and retro bars want to transport you back into time and serve you 19th century cocktails in a 1930’s bar. And we enjoy that very much.

It is logical that we took a few steps back into time to relearn what cocktails, hospitality and bartending are, considering the republishing of Jerry Thomas’ recipes and the beginning of the cocktail renaissance. But after these few steps back, we’re ready to lunge forward and actually interesting times are ahead of us to see and observe the new concepts of cocktail bars that are coming. The signs were already there for a while, like for instance the influence of star restaurants which introduced new techniques, products, textures, etc… or pre batched cocktails on tap or the “highballisation” of drinking culture. You name it. One thing remains definite: the future brings new things. Sometimes so fast that we start to wonder whether the greater public will be capable in keeping up. Or will it be reserved for the few who always remain hip & trendy? The question brings us to our next observing.

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So, less of this, although these people rock!!!

Less classy, more dive bars

Don’t get me wrong, classy is fun too. It doesn’t necessarily equals stiff and boring. I can really enjoy a classy bar with waiters and bartenders dressed in starched white bowing to you in humble servitude fixing your drink with ice-cold perfection like they were performing a hart surgery. On the other hand I also love the more upbeat bars, where everything is pleasantly chaotic and the bartender looks like a tattooed hermit covered in locusts, preparing your cocktail like an Italian chef would make his personal pasta recipe. As long as the drinks, the service, the atmosphere and the company are good, people will normally enjoy themselves. All the rest depends on moods and preferences.

Interesting to notice is the fact that three of the last bars that opened here in 2015-16 are a distinct move away from the “classy” ones. You got the Dirty Rabbit – former (classy) Josephine’s – a rock n roll cocktailbar, then there are the two side projects of Jigger’s: Pony’s and Ganzerik. Pony’s is a ‘no brand’ cocktailbar with about 8 cocktails on the menu – if I remember correctly – all of them 10€. And Ganzerik is more like a local pub with beer, local food and simple cocktails. It’s on my top to visit list. All three have one thing in common: they scream “cocktails are for everybody”! And they’re absolutely right.

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The Ganzerik, cocktails for everybody (and craft beer and food and good service and happiness and …).

Considering the cocktail renaissance it’s a logical step in my opinion. Before that cocktails were nothing more than spiked lemonades and we needed to convince ourselves and the public that there was more to it than that. That a bartender was more than an underpaid school dropout, but somebody with a particular set of skills and knowledge who can do more than just fix you sickly sweet shit. That bartending is about serving people and making a visit to a bar an entire experience. Actually an entire drinking-culture became reinvented and we brought back from America and the UK: Speakeasies, pre-prohibition bars, bowties, suspenders, tattoos and awesome drinks. Amazing concepts and experiences were created, we still love them all. (cf the first observing above)

Actually the bartenders and cocktailians did their best so hard that it scared some people away (apparently) who thought it was too classy for them or misunderstanding that most of those “bar rules” are written in great fun and mostly mere suggestions. (The bartender is not going to flip a shotgun from under the counter and shoot your head off when you start talking into your cell phone. He might do that in his mind, you see but he’s not going to spit in your drink. If the conversation is a hindrance to other customers he will ask you to continue your phone call on the terrace or something.) Some people got scared that they would misbehave in some way or another. Or think it’s just for the rich people, it’s too expensive (those people prefer to sip on their Malibus, Pisangs and Safaris somewhere else).

I actually remember one person who asked the oft repeated question: “where can I get a good cocktail?”, I answered by naming and describing a well known Belgian cocktail bar whereupon she interrupted me, gasping: “Oh, no! That’s the bar where you have to ring the door and then they put you in the cellar!” I replied: “Well you make it sound horrible, but it’s actually quite enjoyable. They’re the nicest people with the best drinks you can imagine!” Large hazel eyes stared at me in doubt and disbelief. “Am I not underdressed for the place?”, she squeaked. My turn to blink in disbelief at the late twenty-something lady, my eyes snapped 160cm down and back up again. “Look, you don’t have to worry about that at all, nobody has to, actually. You can walk in there sporting a mohawk, 21 different face piercings and a stench-core punk shirt and they will still serve you!”.

And I heard more comments like that on cocktail bars in general. These people are mistaking obviously, but it doesn’t stop the bartender/owner – creative as he/she is – to think about some solution. And the “solution” is simple: create a “normal” dive, beer, people, music bar and serve cocktails too, apply everything you’ve learned about hospitality and tada! I think Attaboy in New York was the first to come up with the idea one or two years ago and now it’s here. Here end the two most important observings, what follows are just a few points you should remember.

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The “future” and cocktails beautiful pictures, featuring Pony’s by Jiggers Ghent.

Low alcohol cocktails will continue

Yes they will. We’re practically forced to. Considering insane taxations on spirits and the delusional political opinion that when you’ve had 2 ounces of navy strength rum you’ll step into your four-wheeled killing machine and mow down an entire village. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against low alcohol cocktails, I love them, but I just hate the reason why people tremble in fear at high or even normal proof spirits. It’s not their fault though… money is. Anyways, there’s a lot of creative and exquisite low alc cocktails around now, so you can safely drink two or three.

Not another gin

I’m sorry, but I’m good with what’s on the market and frankly there’s so much derivative work that they’re almost making categories for it. Remember how we f***ed up genever?

In regards to gin, I don’t want a vodka that smells like bath salts or potpourri. I don’t want a miscreant distilled from the garbage they even wouldn’t dare to give to cattle mixed up with a dozen disgusting aromatic oils to – literally – cloud the bad base product in the first place. “Here’s shit covered in flowers, thank you for your 40€!”. I want juniper berries and a few other botanicals in a smooth distilled product made from quality grain. But that’s just my opinion… you know, Gin! Not something else. I love the few beer distillations that are going round, but please, stop calling them gin! It’s not. Invent another name, another kind of spirit, maybe?

Ginger ale

They call it the new tonic, well f*** you, it isn’t. It’s ginger ale. And it’s good. And more and more companies are creating their own, which is good. But if somebody starts to add flowers or whatever to it to create “that very distinct and unique ginger ale” then please reconsider. Ginger ale is a fantastic product and you can make great cocktails with it.

Agave drinks

Mezcal and tequila will keep their steady, slowly rise. There’s a recent book by Kobe Desmet and Isabelle Boons that introduces you to this spirit if you want to know more about it. Mezcal is amazing and a bartenders favourite for over two years now.

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Easy written and complete information on your favourite agave spirits

Single serves

This is something I’d like to see in bars in the future. Just a single spirit, a little tweaked up regarding the taste of the customer. I started doing this with genever, stirred a few seconds over ice and served straight up with a lemon twist and a scrape of nutmeg. It’s amazing and you can think of thousands of variations using any spirit you have. It’s well worth a try.

Jigger’s will be jamming with the best of the world!

Belgium's best cocktailbar Jigger's has invited 4 worldstar bartenders - each belonging to a bar from amongst the top 50 best bars in the world - for a two day guestbartending. This is your chance to meet the best of the best in the world and compare cocktail culture from Italy, Moscow, Chicago and Amsterdam with Ghent, Belgium.

Jigger’s (in The Cocktail Nation currently known as: “The Black Panther Club” and their bartenders as “The Bagheera Boyz” 😉 ) has a special program for you on Wednesday the 1st and Thursday the 2nd of July 2015. And if you like cocktails (even modestly) you should grab this chance to meet the best of Milan, Amsterdam, Chicago and Moscow’s bartenders.

The Bagheera Boyz
The Bagheera Boyz from Jigger’s. Left to right: Jesse, Olivier, Benji and Robin.

Wednesday 1st of July

Massimo Stronati, The Doping Club, Milano

This fine gentleman will do the “Italian Job” at Jigger’s and that doesn’t mean running away with your paintings in a Mini Cooper… it will be a Ferrari at least. Massimo will show you how Milan, a city with hundreds of years of fine drinking experience, stands tall amongst the greatest in the world.

The Doping Club will fix you up at Jigger's
The Doping Club will fix you up at Jigger’s

Danil Nevsky, Tales & Spirits, Amsterdam

Daddies don’t bring your daughter to the slaughter! This Scottish raised Russian gentleman has a reputation to be the honey to your bumblebees. This man tickles all your senses with the fantastic drinks he makes at Tales & Spirits in Amsterdam, voted one of the best 50 bars in the world. Don’t miss him at jigger’s.

Nevsky pouring his magic.
Nevsky pouring his magic.

Thursday 2nd of July

Julia Momose, The Office, Chicago

This passionate lady can make hurricanes disappear by just smiling at them. She recently worked in The office, a speakeasy hidden inside of the famous Aviary in Chicago. I don’t know about you, but I am very excited to meet her and taste one of her drinks.

Julia Momose will represent Chicago at Jigger's. Photo by Hanna Lee Communications
Julia Momose will represent Chicago at Jigger’s. Photo by Hanna Lee Communications

Roman Milostivy, Chainaya, Moscow

Moscow’s China Town is a very special place and this wizard of tea and cocktails know why. This charming bartender like no other knows how to mix two worlds in a glass.

Roman mixes equal parts of Russia and China.
Roman mixes equal parts of Russia and China.

 

 

See you at Bagheera’s… I mean Jigger’s!

Bar Convent Berlin 2014 – Too soon for the next trend in cocktails and spirits?

BCB or Bar Convent Berlin, is easily the biggest cocktail and spirits convention of Europe. Now having successfully closed it’s 8th edition and welcomed more than 9000 visitors it should call itself EBC – Berlin (European Bar Convent – Berlin). Because – and we quote a female bartender standing in the waiting line – “Holy smoke! Everybody’s here! Really everybody!”
A wild, but fashionable legion of bartenders eager to learn, explore, taste and meet new stuff @ BCB 2014
A wild, but fashionable legion of bartenders eager to learn, explore, taste and meet new stuff @ BCB 2014

A Bartender’s Christmas

And she was not incorrect, I mean 2 days, 9000 visitors, 3 taste forums, 1 big mixology stage, 27 workshops (!), 72 speakers and 3 halls filled with 300 brands later, you really got a good cross section of who’s who in the European Bartending and Hospitality Industry. You also get a weird craving to become a multi-headed octopoid, outfitted with jet engines and the biggest shopping cart on earth. There’s too much to see, hear and taste in two afternoons. Like Ian Burrell – Global Rum Ambassador – said: “it’s a Bartender’s Christmas.” Yet the jingling you hear, is not bells, it’s literally thousands of ice cubes.

Very fashionable, as you can see they easily match their cocktails to their baseball caps
Very fashionable, as you can see they easily match their cocktails to their baseball caps

Trend Spotter’s Heaven

All this makes BCB a trend spotter’s heaven. Some dare say that it was the huge launching platform for the G&T invasion of our country (Belgium). I don’t know if that is entirely correct, but I do understand that if you spot something new and in abundance on BCB, you know that it will hit your deck too, sooner or later. Whence we were drooling with anticipation and excitement. What was going to be the next hit? Who will take over the crown from Gin and his buddy Tonic?

Alas, the ‘big revelation’ did not occur. We forgot that trends rarely follow a Julian calendar. And that they are fed by the consumer public, not even the best and most creative bartender can change that. That is because the best bartender serves people and they don’t force-pour drinks in somebody’s mouth screaming: “this is better, drink this!”

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One thing is for certain Jigger's is really amongst the 10 most influential bars of Europe. Also fox hunting is on the rise, foxes unfortunately not.
One thing is for certain Jigger’s is really amongst the 10 most influential bars of Europe. Also fox hunting is on the rise, foxes unfortunately not.

Rise & Fall?

A few things didn’t go unnoticed though. First: Gin is still wearing the crown (about 50 different brands that we saw). Second: there’s a lot of rum to explore (we stopped counting at roughly 42 brands). Thirdly: Tequila and Mezcal (27 brands) are rising, but will it break through? Fourth: no less than 12 different Vermouth brands ( most people only know one or two, without even knowing that it is a vermouth). Something’s definitely moving here, but it is still yawning and groggy. Then again, if we think of the country that has a rising number of ‘vermouterias‘ and vermouths, realising that it is the same country that restyled the G&T… Does that prove anything, no, of course not. Then again, it isn’t exact science also. We especially loved the Belsazar Vermut (German, yes).

A cracking Belsazar Dry Martini.
A cracking Belsazar Dry Martini.

Apart from that we had the rest of the usual suspects, like whiskey, cognac, sherry, vodka, pisco, grappa, sake, absinth, … you name it. A lot of Bourbon and Rye, but that could have something to do with the USA being the guest country for this year. Michter’s was new for me and a bloody delightful surprise it was!

Mr. Matthew T. Magliocco of Michter's, a dedicated man, very passionate about his product.
Mr. Matthew T. Magliocco of Michter’s, a dedicated man, very passionate about his product.

Lot’s of tonic too, of course. Thomas Henry, for instance, came up with some new mixers, namely: mango, grapefruit and a new cherry blossom tonic. Nice for home bars and garden parties, club scene maybe, but not something you will find soon in any high-end cocktailbar, I think.

Thomas Henry and the new pretty and colourful lemonades
Thomas Henry and the new pretty and colourful lemonades

Also, a funny thing to observe was the large, revolving, circular bar with Campari, Wild Turkey, Appleton and Hendrick’s amongst others. At first you don’t realise it is turning and you feel a bit weird, but then you know it and you happily keep on walking after your drink. A comical sight… and damn good Negronis.

A sartorially stirred Negroni, sir? Certainly, sir.
A sartorially stirred Negroni, sir? Certainly, sir. Please, try to keep up, while I prepare it for you.

Belgium in Berlin

We were also very happy to see more than a few famous Belgian bartenders participating in the fair:

Ben Belmans, who shared the stage with famous Jeffrey Morgenthaler. Jeffrey gave us an amazing workshop on cocktail technique. Question everything, was the big message!

Mr. Ben Belmans introducing Jeffrey Morgenthaler and one of the greatest workshops of the Convent.
Mr. Ben Belmans introducing Jeffrey Morgenthaler and one of the greatest workshops of the Convent.

Hannah Van Ongevalle who (wo)manned the World Class Bar at the fair for a good couple of hours to show her signature cocktails to the public. And they were appreciated a lot.

Hannah working her magic at the World Class bar.
Hannah working her magic at the World Class bar.

Her brother Ran Van Ongevalle who became an ambassador for Belsazar Vermut and made us a wicked Dry Martiny.

Ran Van Ongevalle, our own Belgian Belsazar Ambassador
Ran Van Ongevalle, our own Belgian Belsazar Ambassador

Bart Neirynck proprietor of the famous Bar Herman in Berlin, specialising in – yes of course – Belgian beers.

Bart Neirynck, a Belgian beer ambassador in Berlin. Photo by Jan Zappner
Bart Neirynck, a Belgian beer ambassador in Berlin. Photo by Jan Zappner

Conclusions

BCB is big, maybe too big to see in only two days. Plan who and what you want to see very carefully.

Trends? Difficult and too early to say, but we personally will keep an eye out for rum (especially if ACR keeps on going like this), agave based spirits (if they get a foothold in the bars and I don’t mean only for the bartenders 😉 ), vermouth (but it will take some more time to reach the larger Belgian public). And we will keep a fourth eye on amaro’s (just kidding…or not?). As I said, very difficult to say, while we are sipping our second – excellent – Bourbon Highballer. 😉

Cheers! Enjoy some more photos:

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Hannah Van Ongevalle wins Diageo World Class Belgium 2014

For the first time in years there was girlpower on the stage of the Diago World Class Belgian Finals, Hannah Van Ongevalle and Sofie Ketels have definitely proven that the Belgian bartenderscene is no longer a male monopoly.
Hannah Van Ongevalle - Belgium's Best Bartender 2014
Hannah Van Ongevalle – Belgium’s Best Bartender 2014 (all photos in this article by Johan Van Droogenbroeck)

Well, I must say, this was a very exciting competition. Eleven contenders, lots of new faces. Amongst them, very refreshingly, two women: Hannah Van Ongevalle and Sofie Ketels. Everybody was very curious and already expected a lot from the new ones.

The first challenge was themed “Stars & The Theatrical”, for which they had to design their own signature cocktail inspired by famous actors, celebrities or movies. The goal was to entertain with their creations. Great drinks, great drama! The competition started with Jef Berben who made a wonderful performance as a parody on Darth Vader with his “Singleton Porthole”, containing Singleton, Jedi Bitters and a very outlandish shaking technique: “ the Imperial shake”. Dries Botty surprised us with a miniature red carpetwalk, complete with miniature sponsor wall and a polaroid groupselfie. Dieter Van Roy used American native arrows as cocktailsticks!

Benji Bruyneel from Jigger's
Benji Bruyneel from Jigger’s

In the end it was Benjamin Bruyneel from Jigger’s (Ghent), who won the first challenge with a combination of Johnny Walker Blue Label, strawberry syrup amongst other ingredients. He hooked up his story on president Nixon and the famous Blue Moon song.

The second round was the market challenge, where each competitor received 20€ to visit the Aula, a local shop that opened especially for the Diageo World Class Competition, and where they could buy anything they wanted to make their second cocktail. Jürgen Nobels from Uncle Babe’s Burger Bar won this challenge.

Jürgen Nobels - Uncle Babe's Burger Bar
Jürgen Nobels – Uncle Babe’s Burger Bar

But to win ,of course, one must score well on both challenges together and that is exactly what Hannah did. She blew our socks off in the second challenge with a very imaginative, but daring liquid variation on the famous aperitif dish: Ganda ham (or in her specific dialect pronounced as ‘hannah ham’) and melon. Talisker whisky, melon, basil, port, Carpano antica formula and Ganda ham, everything went in the shaker without hesitation and came out beautifully. Did we mention that in the meantime she performed a card trick on one of the judges?

'Hannah ham'
‘Hannah ham’

Hannah works together with her father, Jan at The Pharmacy, their own speakeasy in Knokke at the Belgian coast. Jan Van Ongevalle said that he was proud beyond belief, even as we spoke his son Ran was attending another cocktailcompetition in London. So it runs in the family, you could say.

Proud daddy Jan Van Ongevalle
Proud daddy Jan Van Ongevalle

This girl, whose battle name is ‘Hannaconda’, has a lot more cards up her sleeve. There’s a great task upon her shoulders now. She has one month to prepare herself to beat the rest of the world – and by this I mean the best of the world – on the Diageo World Class Global Finals (taking place from 27/07 until 02/08 in the UK). A period of time which was described by former Belgian winner Carl Van Droogenbroeck’s wife, as hell on earth. Four weeks to become able to beat everybody sounds indeed like a daunting task, but Hannaconda is ready to go to war. At the table during dinner she quoted the American poetess Maya Angelou:

I have learned that people will forget what you said, will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.

 

Diageo World Class Belgian Finalists:

1st place: Hannah Van Ongevalle (The Pharmacy)

2nd place: Benjamin Bruyneel (Jigger’s)

3rd place: Didier Van Den Broeck (Dogma)

 

Didier Van Den Broeck - Dogma
Didier Van Den Broeck – Dogma

1st Challenge winner: Benjamin Bruyneel (Jigger’s)

2nd Challenge winner: Jürgen Nobels (Uncle Babe’s Burger Bar)

A huge THANK YOU! from The Cocktail Nation to all contenders, you have all shown that the Belgian Cocktailscene is getting bigger and better each time again.

Keep on raising that bar, boys…and girls!

The esteemed memebers of the jury: Dennis Tamse, Carl Van Droogenbroeck, Donald Colville, Gerty Christoffels and missing on this picture Andy De Brouwer
The esteemed members of the jury: Dennis Tamse, Carl Van Droogenbroeck, Donald Colville, Gerty Christoffels and missing on this picture Andy De Brouwer

Belgian bar amongst the top 10 most influential bars of Europe

JIGGER’S, The Noble Drugstore, a cosy cocktailbar located in Ghent, was recently voted amongst the top ten most influential bars of Europe.

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It is not easy to spot the bar. When you ask local people in the streets, they tell you to watch for a stuffed fox with an eyeglass. Honestly, you wouldn’t believe anybody who says something like that to you. And then…

Stuffed fox with eyeglass in the Jigger's window (photo by Diva in the Dark)
Stuffed fox with eyeglass in the Jigger’s window (photo by Diva in the Dark)

 

Jigger’s is easily Belgium’s best cocktailbar, a conclusion we already drew, being a judge for the VENUEZ Belgian Hospitality Awards. In my opinion it’s all about the way they communicate with the customer. The Jigger’s team’s communication is constant, even when they are not there. It starts with a personal greeting at the door, guiding you to your seat, helping you to a glass of water and handing over the menu with some explanation about this week’s specials.

Most normal bars stop there, they take your order, deliver it, there’s some barchat and that’s it. Not so at Jigger’s.

When you open the menu, you realise it is handwritten, furthermore it is a diary and they recently started to draw little pictures of their cocktails in it. Beautifully done by Olivier Jacobs, head bartender and owner of Jigger’s. You almost have the feeling that you are reading a secret and personal recipe book. You see, in this way they are still communicating to you. It doesn’t stop there. When you receive your drink, it comes on a coaster with an animal personification of one of the crewmembers. A playfull way to break the ice between guest and bartender.

Benji the Bear
Benji the Bear

Mix this with their beautifully crafted, perfectly balanced and gorgeously tasting cocktails and you end up with a pearl among cocktailbars. Proven by their other award they received a while ago, being selected to join the list of the 50 best cocktailbars of Europe. And now amongst the 10 most influential ones. Meaning their unique concept and the way they handle hospitality and cocktails serves as an inspiration for others in the business.

Cocktails and Spirits Award top 10 most influential bars of Europe
Cocktails and Spirits Award top 10 most influential bars of Europe

Jigger’s is a must visit and a star still rising. If you can’t find it, ask for a stuffed fox with an eyeglass and pray you’re not talking to a taxidermist.

Jigger’s The Noble Drugstore: Oudburg 16, 9000 Ghent, Belgium

 

 

JIGGER’S – Best Belgian Cocktailbar – starts 2014 with a Bang!

Belgium’s best cocktailbar ‘Jigger’s The Noble Drugstore’ will be invaded by a horde of national and international premium bartenders this January! Be there and surrender to their wonderful libations!

The Jigger's team: Jesse, Benji, Zaza, Ollivier and Patrick
The Jigger’s team: Jesse, Benji, Zaza, Olivier and Patrick

The ladies and gentlemen that will present you their latest creations are all from award winning bars, like for instance Sherry Butt (Paris) and DOOR 74 (Amsterdam), both nominated amongst the 50 best bars of the world. And those of you who still think that bartending is a male dominated job are wrong, JIGGER’S will present you no less than 3 lady startenders: Tess Posthumus ( DOOR 74) has earned a reputation of winning every award she lays her eyes upon and Laura Schacht from Germany – now working in HPS (Amsterdam) – made it 8th place on the Diageo World Class International Cocktail Competition. Last, but not least, we have our own upcoming talent Hannah Van Ongevalle from The Pharmacy (Knokke Belgium).

Our liver cowls in fear when we show you the JIGGER’S guest bartending program for january:

TUESDAY 21st of January: Old fashioned all the way Steve Okhuysen and Tom Neijens (Old Fashioned bar Ghent) These two dapper gents will bring you classics with a twist of their own. They are also known to summon the ‘Green Fairy’ on a regular basis, so we hope you’re a bit absinthe minded.

Old Fashioned team: Tom & Steve
Old Fashioned team: Tom & Steve

WEDNESDAY 22nd of January: Antwerp’s finest export products aka Marc Mathieux (Bar Bounce Antwerp) and Dieter Van Roy (Martini Bar Antwerp). Marco and Dieter pour you pure rock ‘n’ roll in a glass. These two masters are high on Tiki influences and will bring you spicy, exotic rum cocktails with a garnish that might bite you!

Marco & Dieter
Marco & Dieter

THURSDAY 23rd of January: Hot & Steamy, french kissing, coming in slippers on their flippers Sullivan Doh (Sherry Butt Paris) & Sichanh Christophe (Calbar Paris). These two Parisian prize bartenders will represent the sheer cocktailrevolution that is happening right now in the city of light. Lots of fun, simplicity and balance are their main ingredients.

Sullivan Doh
Sullivan Doh
Christophe Sichanh on the right
Christophe Sichanh on the right

TUESDAY 28th of January: Brothers from different mothers Dries Botty (L’Apereau Blankenberge) & Kristof Burm (Josephine’s Antwerp). Dries is a tastebud sorcerer and if he would be a cocktail, it would be named: The Ladykiller. Kristof like none other can turn simple classics into a personal experience with as much magic in looks as in taste.

Dries Botty (apparently his beard is more awesome now)
Dries Botty (apparently his beard is more awesome now)
Kristof Burm
Kristof Burm

WEDNESDAY 29th of January: Hiding in plain Sight, shots on the house! Laura Schacht & Simon Martin Alexander (HPS Amsterdam). HPS is a personal favourite of The Cocktail Nation, you have to experience this! Simon the American Scotsman from Amsterdam and Laura Schacht will rock your socks off! Prepare the Picklebacks, Simon!

Laura Schacht
Laura Schacht
Simon Martin Alexander - Simon, the garnish is trying to escape! ;)
Simon Martin Alexander – Simon, the garnish is trying to escape! 😉

THURSDAY 30th of January: Hot night with the Nipplepatch sisters Tess Posthumus (DOOR74 Amsterdam) & Hannah TP supported by ‘Daddy the Pimp’ aka Jan van Ongevalle (The Pharmacy Knokke). Hot and crazy, ‘nough said! Award winning drinks and good fun as a garnish, what more do you need!

Tess Posthumus
Tess Posthumus
Hannah and 'pimp daddy' Jan
Hannah and ‘pimp daddy’ Jan

So get over there and taste it…yes, my liver hates me too.

The Cocktail Nation goes Amster-damn! Part one

Door 74

a review of pink partying people and jungle fever

 

It was hot in the city.

You know, the kind of hot that makes desert scorpions say “f**k it”, kick back and relax in mini hammocks, while sipping rum cocktails from tiny Tiki mugs in their pincers.

The kind of hot that makes Sand Vipers spontaneously shed their skin without bothering to grow a new one. That kinda heat.

Fortunately this was Amsterdam and not the Sahara desert or the jungle.

In the mean time the jungle drums already began
But the jungle drums already called in the distance…

 

At first I thought it was a Dutch thing, having to plow your way through hordes of hysterical people in pink, partying their heads off, but apparently that is not the case (they’re just not always in pink). It seems that we had chosen the famous ‘gay pride’ weekend In Amsterdam as our vacation day. Nothing against it, except that it almost doubled the number of visitors in the city. They were everywhere: on the streets next to the canals, on the bridges above the canals and in the canals itself.

While elbowing our way through the pink mass, we were looking for a certain door in a street, “Door 74”. Amsterdam’s famous speakeasy tended by Timo-Janse and Tess Posthumus, amongst others.

team-door74
Door 74 Team

I must say the door was well hidden and the fact that it was covered in thousands of people dressed in pink, didn’t help much.

Somehow we managed to get inside, a welcome haven of peace, compared to the chaos outside. First thing I noticed was that it was very dark inside and taking off my sunglasses didn’t help much. Darkness is not necessarily a bad thing, but I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to read the menu in this light (or absence thereof). We received a warm welcome by Timo and a seat at the bar. This guy is amazing, the multi-tasking wizard of cocktail making. I mean, he was constantly making cocktails, one after the other and in the meantime talking to us, presenting the menu, explaining it, letting us taste a rum, etc… All that with at least one hand holding a barspoon revolving in a mixing glass, barely looking at it, tasting it, giving it a small nod of approval and presenting it to a customer. This guy can fix your car whilst making a Zombie or the other way around. He probably wakes up sometimes in the middle of the night looking at 3 Manhattans, 2 Martinis and a Mai Tai.

The menu design was brilliant, based on 60’s pulp comic books with a jungle theme. Every drink also had a ‘jungle fever’ rating, which I assume had something to do with the amount of alcohol in it or the complexity. Every drink in it was invented by a different staffmember, Timo told us and I wonder who came up with the “One Eyed Snake” (interesting garnish by the way).

The first one I ordered was the “ Gimme a Mejiso”, jungle fever 4/10. Nice aroma with the Shiso leaf, a refreshing drink and very welcome in the swealtering heat. A little bit too much dilution to my personal taste, but that’s probably because of the near boiling point temperatures. The moment you put an ice cube in the mixing glass it was reduced to water before it hit the bottom.

Geertrui chose the “Silver Sun” and this one was very good. Rum, ginger, Carpano and Maraschino made for an excellent combination of tastes, the Jerry Thomas bitters married it all together.

IMG_5887
The Silver Sun cocktail – Door 74

Lastly I went for the “No Surrender Mr Onoda”, jungle fever 10/10. Seaweed infused Nikka straight from the barrel, Dabada chestnut Shochu, 15 years old Drambui, sugar syrup and plum bitters. Served in a Japanese tea mug with some seaweed on top and four rocks in the mug to cool down the drink. An interesting and complex drink, not for everybody, but I enjoyed it very much. Timo, you should have told the story of Mr Onoda or put it in the menu. I had to look it up, it’s a good story and inspiration always adds to the taste, I think.

While we were sipping our drinks Timo told us about how much he enjoyed his guestbartending session in Belgium last month in Jiggers and Old Fashioned (in Ghent). He just couldn’t get enough of it and kept going in the Old Fashioned untill 7 o’ clock in the morning.

I’m beginning to suspect that Timo has four arms, but I couldn’t see it in the dark.

After a couple of hours, we took off and made our way back through the pink jungle to our hotel.

Door 74 is an amazing place, great people, good drinks and a must see when you visit Amsterdam.

Next up will be a review of HPS.

Cheers!

Stanislav Vadrna en de Nikka Perfect Serve Wedstrijd

Wel, mocht je het nog niet weten het is volop wedstrijd seizoen in cocktailland. Diageo World Class, Bols Around the World, Nikka Perfect Serve, Thomas Henry, Disaronno Mixing Star, … noem maar op. Bartenders worden volop getest op hun vaardigheden en winnen of niet; elke deelname verhoogt hun wedstrijdervaring en stressbestendigheid.

De Belgische preselectie voor de Nikka Perfect Serve heeft een verrassend speciale wedstrijdformule. Dat hoeft de kenners niet te verbazen als iemand als Stanislav Vadrna in de jury zit natuurlijk.

Nikka Whisky
Nikka Whisky

De wedstrijd werd georganiseerd door de mensen van De Nectar en had plaats in de Jigger’s. Het werd algauw gezellig krap in de Gentse speakeasy wanneer het grootste gedeelte van de Belgische Cocktailscene erin geschoenlepeld werd. De dag werd geopend door een workshop van Stanislav. Deze Slovaakse bartender-boeddhist heeft in zijn carrière al heel de wereld afgeschuimd en deelt zijn hospitality filosofie via zijn Analog Bartending Institute.

"Houtza!"
“Houtza!”

De workshop was geweldig! Het belang van lichaamstaal in een cocktailbar, zowel van bartender als van klant. En niet op een droge, saaie manier zoals je soms wel eens ziet, maar vol overtuiging, recht van het hart. Als bartender moet je een klant kunnen analyseren nog voor je er een woord mee gewisseld hebt en evenzeer moet je zelf een eerste positieve indruk maken tegenover de klant (ook al kan het soms je dagje niet zijn). Hoe kan je je charisma, kracht en passie uitdrukken zonder een woord te zeggen. Dat alles werd vakkundig uit de doeken gedaan door de meester in zijn aloha-hemd. Dit alles begeleid door veel “houtza’s” natuurlijk. Ik dacht eerst dat het een Slovaaks woord was, maar blijkbaar komt het uit Shrek. Een mens leert altijd bij.

Tijd voor de wedstrijd! De jury bestond uit: Ben Belmans, levende cocktail en spirits encyclopedie en godfather van de Belgische cocktailscene, Sayumi Ohyama, Japanse schoonheid en Nikka afgevaardigde en tenslotte ikzelf. Stanislav fungeerde als observerend jurylid. De wedstrijd was ontworpen volgens de “ichi-go, ichi-e” filosofie (one moment, one encounter), als bartender heb je maar één moment, één kans om een goede indruk te maken. In dit geval dus: een rollenspel waarbij de jury 3 verschillende types van klanten moesten spelen. Ben moest de lastige klant spelen, een rol die hem op het lijf geschreven was. De man verdient een oscar (wel opletten voor typecasting ;)) en was verantwoordelijk voor meerdere liters zweet bij de deelnemers. Hij speelde de rol van een zakenman die net een succesvolle deal had afgesloten en wou dit vieren met een ‘custom tailored’ cocktail. Dat komt erop neer dat hij smaken, geur en uitzicht of type cocktail beschreef waar hij op dat moment zin in had en de bartender moet ‘on the spot’ daarmee aan de slag om een perfecte cocktail te maken naar de wensen van de klant (en met Nikka whisky uiteraard). Sayumi speelde een whiskyliefhebster die nog nooit gehoord had van Nikka whisky en bestelde steevast enkel whisky. Aan de hand van haar beschrijving moest de bartender de juiste soort Nikka serveren en niet enkel de soort, maar ook de manier waarop, over ijs, puur of Mizuwari ( “gemengd met water” een Japanse traditionele manier om spirits te drinken, bijvoorbeeld bij de maaltijd). Ikzelf was een zakenman (uit Parijs blijkbaar) die dringend naar een vergadering moest en toch de nood zag om zich eerst wat moed in te drinken. Ik moest dus telkens de signature cocktail bestellen en ondertussen de bartender opjagen. Ik heb daarin niet overdreven, want de bartender had immers al genoeg te verduren van die andere zakenman 🙂 Het leverde alleszins enkele hilarische scenes op.

Sayumi Ohyama, myself and Ben Belmans
Sayumi Ohyama, myself and Ben Belmans

De deelnemers waren Jesse Den Dulk (Jigger’s), Tom Neijens (Old Fashioned), Ran Van Ongevalle (BAAR), Steve Okhuysen (Old Fashioned), Dries Botty (L’Apereau), Dieter Van Roy (Josephine’s), Jef Berben (El Jefé’s), Ben Wouters (Volta) en een enthousiaste bartender uit het Brusselse (ik ben zijn naam vergeten). Ik was heel erg benieuwd.

Jureren is vermoeiend en moeilijk, meer nog dan ik verwacht had. Je moet continue in je rol blijven, maar ondertussen ook op alle andere dingen letten: serveertechnieken, communicatie met de klant, juist antwoorden op de vragen, keuze van de cocktail en natuurlijk de smaak, etc, etc… Ondertussen moet je een 18-tal cocktails proeven, waardoor het palet van je tong toch redelijk verdoofd geraakt op het einde. Ik ga niet in detail treden en elke cocktail of kandidaat beschrijven, maar wel enkele hoofdconclusies.

"Huh?"
“Huh?”

Wat duidelijk naar voren kwam was een zeker gebrek aan productkennis (dat eiland heet dus Hokkaido ;)). Wanneer je aan een wedstrijd van een specifiek merk deelneemt wordt er verwacht dat je er voldoende kennis van neemt. Zenuwen spelen zeker een rol, maar dat mag geen excuus zijn. Je weet dat je zenuwen zal hebben, sowieso.

Having fun
Having fun

Het verhaal achter je signature cocktail is ook heel belangrijk. Je verkoopt een cocktail niet door enkel te vertellen wat er inzit en hoe dat smaakt. Er bestaat immers een dikke kans dat meer dan de helft van je cliënteel geen jota snapt van wat je aan het zeggen bent. Het klinkt bijvoorbeeld als volgt: “rum zelf gespiced met kwekelkruid en snorrelbezen, sap van verse skadriljoen, een tinctuur op basis van jabberwokies en drommelgras, plus enkele dashes Jackie Chan bitters”.

Het klinkt heerlijk, maar de klant kan er zich weinig bij voorstellen.

Met het verhaal achter jouw inspiratie voor de cocktail zal de klant dan hopelijk wel kunnen relateren. Het moet een beeld en sfeer oproepen waarbij de klant onbewust een smaakverwachting gaat koppelen aan de cocktail. De cocktail moet quasi het hoofdpersonage zijn in een verhaal, waar de klant zich mee kan identificeren (of profileren). Als ik bijvoorbeeld een Japanse cocktail zie staan, wil ik een verhaal horen over Godzilla, samoerai, ninjas,  geisha’s en iets raar met tentakels…maar dat kan aan mij liggen natuurlijk.

Inspiring coaster, don't you think?
Inspiring coaster, don’t you think?

Hetzelfde principe geldt in mijn ogen ook voor de “perfect serve” van iets. Het draait hier niet enkel om een perfecte, verrassende en prachtig uitgebalanceerde cocktail met een originele combinatie van ingrediënten en smaken, maar ook hoe je hem opdient. Daar had Jesse onmiddellijk in overtuigt met zijn Mizuwari en het leverde hem ook een eerste plaats op, hoewel het een bikkelharde strijd was tussen hem en Jef.

Mizuwari Perfect Serve
Mizuwari Perfect Serve

Maar hey! Uiteraard is dat niet zo vanzelfsprekend met Statler en Waldorf aan je bar, vergezelt van een charismatische Japanse dame. Ik heb zelf veel bijgeleerd en vond het een fantastische dag met een bonte verzameling aan superdrankjes! Keep on raising the bar, boys. Houtza!

Perfect Spirit
Perfect Spirit

VENUEZ13: twee dagen high-end hospitality op de meest indrukwekkende spirits en cocktailbeurs van de Benelux.

The Cocktail Nation ging naar VENUEZ13 en zag dat het goed was. Een verslag van indrukken.
 

Dag 2

Begon onmiddellijk lekker met het onderwerp ‘bier in cocktails’ gepresenteerd door onze eigen Jeroen Van Hecke en Dries Botty van de L’Apereau te Blankenberge. Inspelend op de globale cocktailtrend om meer en meer lokale ingrediënten te gebruiken zou het inderdaad gek zijn om geen gebruik te maken van onze honderden verschillende streekbieren. Zowel puur als in siroopvorm geven ze net die extra toets. Ook lekker gecombineerd met enkele lokale kazen.

Patrick The Lion King
Patrick The Lion King

Terwijl ik een vriend een rondleiding gaf op de beursvloer ontdekte ik een soort grote zwarte container die mij de eerste dag niet echt was opgevallen. De deur stond open en we besloten een kijkje te nemen. Wat ik binnen zag overtrof alle verwachtingen. Het was een soort mini speakeasy van Puresang zelf met niemand minder dan Patrick America achter de bar. Patrick werkt nu voor Jiggers te Gent en besloot op het VENUEZ13 event zich eveneens toe te spitsen op de bier-coctailtrend: Liefmans bier, Kraken spiced rum, bessen, kruiden en ananas. Al even spectaculair als het interieur. Die mensen van Puresang verstaan echt wel hun vak. Een gigantisch opgezette leeuwin leek ook eens te willen proeven. Het is het soort interieur dat je uitnodigt om neer te ploffen in één van de zetels en uren in het rond te staren, terwijl je van één van de heerlijke cocktails sipt.

De harige dame had graag een WROOAAAAARRR!
De harige dame had graag een WROOAAAAARRR!

Helaas geen tijd daarvoor; op naar de Diageo stand waar Steve “the moustache” Okhuysen een heel interessante cocktail aan het stoken was: The Suspicious Blaze. Deze cocktail is al een beetje een begrip op zichzelf geworden vind ik, kijken hoe hij klaargemaakt wordt is dan ook de moeite, zeker met de verhelderende uitleg van Steve erbij. Zacapa rum, Licor 43, Cocchi Di Torino, Absinthe, appelsienzestes en ik vergeet waarschijnlijk nog een paar ingrediënten. Alles wordt geflambeerd in een groot cognacglas, zelfs de zestes moeten eraan geloven. De Blaze is fantastisch qua aroma en smaak. Naarmate hij afkoelt, wordt de smaak wat scherper, maar dat stoort niet. Het is zeker en vast een aanrader, je moet maar eens langs gaan in de Old Fashioned in Gent om zelf te oordelen. Volgens mij maakt Steve een hele goede kans om als tweede kandidaat België te verdedigen op de Diageo World Class. We’ll see!

The secret to my moustache, is rubbing absinthe on it.
The secret to my moustache, is rubbing absinthe on it.

Tijd voor de workshop van Darcy O’Neil. We hebben het al even over hem gehad in het verslag van dag 1. Darcy gaf een workshop over water. Moet kunnen. Soda water meer bepaald, de soda fontein was immers volgens hem een heel belangrijke stap in de ontstaansgeschiedenis van cocktails.  Zonder hadden we immers nooit bitters gehad, zei hij. De man is een chemicus professor en dat merk je ook. Ik had het gevoel terug op de schoolbanken te zitten. De powerpoint presentatie was gevuld met mysterieuze formules en we leerden ons eigen mineraal water maken. Algauw kwamen er de gekste, meest creatieve waters naar boven broebelen: chocolade water, een soort cognac-water met groene peper en kamille, kruidenwater, noem maar op. Dit zouden we ook nog wel eens terug kunnen zien in enkele cocktails.

- What do you think of my new soda fountain?- It looks like a motorcycle having a violent argument with a church organ.
– What do you think of my new soda fountain?
– It looks like a motorcycle having a violent argument with a church organ.

Als je zelf geïnteresseerd bent om eens te proberen kan je op zijn blog de slides terugvinden van zijn presentatie. http://www.artofdrink.com/soda-fountain/from-soda-fountain-to-bar

Tijd voor een koffietje dacht ik zo. Op naar het Coffeelab! De hipsterden of coffeebean grinding! Als je het woord Senseo durft uitspreken percoleren ze je kapot. En terecht. Ik positioneerde mij bij één van de (b)aardige mensen van de Caffe Nation, collega’s dus als het ware. Welke koffie had ik graag gewenst? ‘Zwart met suiker alstublieft’. Eén wenkbrauw ging dreigend naar omhoog. Ik beschermde instinctief mijn eigen bonen. ‘Euhm, espresso dan maar’? De barrista begon onmiddellijk aan hendels te draaien, op knopjes te drukken en naar wijzerplaten te staren. Het leek wel een scene uit Das Boot. De koffie was geweldig. Een vertegenwoordiger van Douwe Egberts stond een beetje beteuterd naast mij. “Mmm, lekker”, deed ik. Geen reactie.

Too much coffeeeeeeeeee!!
Too much coffeeeeeeeeee!!

Achteraan de zaal stond een heus laboratorium waar een of andere mad scientist coffecocktails aan het brouwen was. Aan een ronde draaitafel zaten enkele mensen te wachten op hun stomende cocktails – het duurde even eer ik doorhad dat een ervan een opgezette baviaan was, letterlijk dan – boven hun hoofden allerlei buizen, kolven en brubbelende veelkleurige vloeistoffen. Je kon niet anders doen dan het geheel gapend aanstaren, een show op zich. En nog lekker ook. Coffeelab is een rondreizend initiatief van Nederlandse Barrista Kampioen Jeroen Veldkamp. Met zijn hypercreatieve, soms bevreemdende concepten wil hij  barrista’s en ondernemers confronteren met nieuwe denkrichtingen. Inspirerend is het wel. Mocht je Coffeelab ergens tegenkomen, ga dan zeker eens een kijkje nemen, de moeite waard.

Coffee Lab
Coffee Lab

Aaah, vol energie terug naar de Belgian Bar Show. Ian Burrell ging er de geschiedenis van rum uitleggen in 10 cocktails. Mr. Burrell is dé rumreferentie op onze planeet, mocht hij een superheld zijn dan was hij rum-man, hij is de global rum ambassador en hij is hilarisch. Heel gepassioneerd deed hij de boeiende geschiedenis van rum cocktails uit de doeken. Als ik geboeid naar iets aan het luisteren ben, heb ik de neiging om peinzend over mijn kin te wrijven. Dat moet hem blijkbaar opgevallen zijn “He’s constantly scratching his beard! Better have that looked after, you know!” Het ging net over Mojitos en scheurbuik, misschien had dat er iets mee te maken. Of teveel koffie. Zombies, Punches, El Presidentes, rum cocktails zijn lekker en hun geschiedenis onderdompelend.

You! Get that fixed, right now!
You! Get that fixed, right now!

Terug naar de Diageo stand waar Olivier Jacobs van Jiggers een waar juweeltje aan het bereiden was. Ik stond te ver achteraan om juist te zien wat er in zat, maar ik kon wel proeven. Superlekker. Wat me steeds weer opvalt in Oliviers cocktails is die perfecte balans. Het is een van de moeilijkste dingen om te verwezenlijken in een cocktail vind ik en toch slaagt hij er telkens in. En de balans is niet alleen maar goed, hij is echt perfect. Massa’s respect, echt waar.

De dag loopt op zijn einde, de laatste masterclass komt eraan. Eentje waar ik een hele tijd naar uitgezien heb: The Nightjar! Marian Beke en Luca Cinalli gaven een leerrijke cursus over het gebruik van lokale producten en heel creatieve ideeën voor de garnering van cocktails. Iets waar ze ook een absolute meester in zijn. Ik weet niet goed hoe ik dit moet beschrijven. Ik heb daar de hele tijd met open mond staan staren gewoon. Dit was fantastisch. Kijken hoe Luca een cocktail klaarmaakt is een belevenis op zich. Zijn barspoon maakt bijvoorbeeld elke keer een elegante cirkel rond één van zijn vingers voor hij roert. Klinkt kitscherig, maar het is het niet. Het lijkt wel een dans. Alles wordt ook steeds op de juiste plaats gezet op de toog met het etiket naar voren. Na elke cocktail werd het Workstation opgekuist. Uitgieten en shaken gebeurde met veel panache, maar zonder te storen. Sprezzatura ten top. Ondertussen gaf Marion ons honderden tips, de ene nog creatiever dan de andere. Voor één cocktail hadden ze bijvoorbeeld als garnituur een Japanse waaier gekozen en omdat ze gemerkt hadden dat klanten die ook vaak spelenderwijs gebruikten om hun koelte toe te wuiven, hadden ze er niet beter op gevonden dan de waaier te bewerken met kruiden en aroma’s uit de cocktail. Om de neus van de klant al te laten proeven. Strootjes werden in chocolade gedoopt voor extra smaak, een cacaoboon werd gebruikt als glas, noem maar op… Kruiden en ingrediënten waar je nog nooit van gehoord hebt, maar die telkens een connectie hebben met het concept van de cocktail. Je merkte onmiddellijk dat er echt een hele hoop research achter hun cocktails schuilt. Het resultaat zijn echte kunstwerken. Ik denk dat ik binnenkort toch nog eens naar London ga.

Marian Beke en Ben Belmans
Marian Beke en Ben Belmans

Conclusie:

VENUEZ13 is meer dan een beurs alleen. Het is een grote inspiratiesessie voor bartenders en barrista’s. De grootste uitschieters waren de Belgian Barshow en de algemene vormgeving van het event en de verschillende meeting points. Kudos naar Nine-X, Puresang en VENUEZ zelf uiteraard. Ik ben al benieuwd naar volgend jaar.