Bar am Steinplatz – 10 Drinks 1 Look
Bar am Steinplatz always has a surprise up its sleeve. It has won the Mixology Bar Award for best Hotelbar in Germany twice, it banished Gin from its shelves and replaced it with juniper distillate, it launched a lovingly illustrated menu with no names for the cocktails, and now Christian Gentemann and his team have gone one step further.
Ten new cocktails. All colourless and clear. All served in the same glassware. Only the decoration or the food-pairing gives information about the drink in front of you.
“We do not understand this as a statement of new purism,” says Christian Gentemann “It is rather a game in which we confuse accustomed interaction of the senses. The visual impression is no longer indicative of what the guest expects. This gives the sense of smell and taste more space and autonomy,”
Now for the new menu! I was invited to enjoy the new drinks for an exclusive pre-tasting before they launched the menu last Friday. The first drink was a light mixture of vermouth, tarragon, caraway and tonic. A perfect aperitif: herbal, bitter with a slightly stimulating tonic. The discreet colouring of the surface is caused by the addition of a few drops of Peychaud’s Bitters. Apart from that, the drink was clear, transparent and delicious. The bitterness was pleasantly balanced and the remaining flavours bathed harmoniously in their Nick & Nora Glass. For me, this is one of the most beautiful cocktail glasses: classic, elegant and it matches the concept perfectly. The next drink was a libation of juniper, beetroot eau de vie, pineapple and mint. A creation that has been adapted from the previous menu, but again absolutely clear. The flavour components can be easily identified and are perfectly coordinated to suit the taste, one of my favourites on the new menu.
Batched and Bottled
The fact that for the development of the drinks only clear liquids have been used, was a particular challenge. Handcrafted spirits from small distilleries that already have intense flavours provide the necessary complexity in the cocktails. By using only transparent and colourless spirits the usage of clarification techniques has been avoided. One thing in this innovative approach was crystal clear: to simplify and ease the work processes. The cordials are pre-batched and will be “stirred, not shaken” with the main spirits when ordered. This leaves the bar team more time for the guests.
Simplicity is the complexity.
Basically, the 10 drinks hardly differ visually from each other, but a few come with small treats like a homemade toffee, a piece of cheese or an oyster leaf. This floated on the surface of my Meteoro Mezcal, with its smoky and fruity touch refined by Mandarin, lime water and agave. I had never tried oyster leaves before and was surprised by the salty and oyster-reminiscent taste. A perfect match.
“After all, a cocktail should be a visual treat,” said my neighbour at the table, apparently having missed their common appearance. The imagination is stimulated and conversations too.
The eye drinks first, but in this case it is the inner eyes: taste and smell. A picture comes to mind, colour and shape are created.
The new menu has been available since Friday. No flipping through pages. It had to be simple and solid. A black unobtrusive din A3 large flat plastic board lay in front of me on the table. The format is easy, the presentation of the drinks comprehensible. Gentermann was inspired by the aroma wheels, just as Freimeisterkollektiv uses them to describe the flavour profile of their products. The Freimeisterkollektiv is an alliance of independent craft distillers and leading bartenders whose products are also found in the cocktails. Every drink costs 14 euros. If you turn the board around, you will find a large selection of craft beers. The food has become more hearty and I look forward to a kebab with brisket next time.
A successful new menu, which makes the Bar am Steinplatz even more one of my favourite bars in Berlin. Thank you for the enchanting evening with you.
Pictures of the drinks were provided to me by Alle Vögel fliegen hoch.
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