Twinpigs. Boddinstraße 57A (U7, Rathaus Neukölln) …
Last night I met a friend in Neukölln and before we parted she told me about this nice cocktailbar around the corner and I just had to pop in before catching the train home.
I was guided to Twinpigs! A bar owned by a duo (which is part Swedish apparently) that also owns Jigger Beaker & Glass in Friedrichshain. In Twinpigs the venue is spacious and very welcoming with odd sofas in victorian style, a modern site-built bench across from the wooden bardisk, and with more robust tables and chairs in the restaurant area. The ever so trendy naked light bulbs hangs from strings in the ceiling shining with dimmed light. The walls are of rough unpolished concrete except for the first one you see when you enter the room which is of slate with their basic selection written on it in a modern font, with no prices or too much information, which means you actually need to converse a bit with the staff in order to get what you want, and that’s a positive thing! They have hooks under their bardisk which is a plus! Can’t believe there are bars who doesn’t – that’s just stupid. What I missed was some green, like plants and flowers. It adds a secure and genuine ambience to any place really.
I was immediately greeted by a bartender who was curious to what I cared for. I wanted to check their drink list before I decided. They had a good selection of classic, well known cocktails and their own innovative creations. When I was ready to order his colleague Jennie took care of me in the nicest way. Together we figured out what to start with and she made me a classic Millionaire – sloe gin, Jamaican rum, apricot brandy, grenadine and fresh lemon juice – served in a chilled cocktail glass. Super tasty!
I enjoy going to bars alone, especially since I’m writing this blog, and because I work in bars and restaurants too, I feel comfortable and ‘at home’ almost everywhere I go in my own company, as long as the staff are friendly. They all were in Twinpigs. I even got introduced to one of the managers, Paulo, when I asked if I could take some pictures for my blog, which of course increased the welcoming feeling. As soon as I went back to my seat these two Aussie guys started talking to me and they were also very nice. One of them offered me to try the Gin Tonic Jennie just served him, made with locally (Neukölln) produced tonic syrup by ’Brown – a Berlin drink company’. I’m happy to say this was really good! Being like the only bartender in the world who doesn’t generally like tonic water, I was happily surprised to the taste of theirs.
After enjoying my Millionaire me and Jennie decided on what I should drink next. This time I got a Pepper Thyme Smash. Black pepper infused gin, lemon juice, thyme syrup and their home made tonic water(!) She asked me if I like spicy drinks, which I do, but I wasn’t really prepared for how spicy this one was gonna be. Well I got what I asked for I guess. The spiciness you get used to quickly though, and the flavours of thyme and tonic was still there all along. Although I didn’t get the characteristic gin flavour due to the strong pepper infusion. But hey, this was a real Pepper Thyme Smash! Super cool! Served in a tumbler with a well fitted single ice cube. Proper!
I can highly recommend this place if you’re looking for well crafted cocktails (not too pricy, approx. €8 – 9) friendly bartenders and good vibe in a generally cozy ambience. Over all, this feels like a bar you can meet people in since the music isn’t too loud either, on weekdays anyway, so you can easily have a normal volume conversation. And I love to talk! I’ll definitely go back! Such a nice bar and crew!
It’s Tuesday and my Organic Smoothday. The sun has been shining and I feel light and optimistic. Since the colour yellow is generally connected with happiness and optimism I decided to go with a yellow smoothie this beautiful autumn day.
This one contains freshly squeezed orange, lemon and grapefruit,
ice tea made from dried chrysanthemum flowers and lemongrass, banana, pineapple, ginger, ground cardamom, turmeric powder, bourbon vanilla a tea spoon agave syrup and ice!
Now time for some studying. I’m currently reading Harry Johnson’s Bartenders’ Manual. A real classic in the bartending world. It’s very informative but many times out dated (well the first edition was published in 1882), so keeping that in mind, it’s really interesting to read about Mr Johnsons contemporary views on everything regarding the industry. From how you properly attend a bar, to manage one or even opening your own to what is needed in a bar, equipment and spirit wise, and pretty much the original recipes on classic cocktails like a tom collins or a mint julep. Since I’m currently looking for a bar job in Berlin I especially appriciate his opinion on how you should behave at a job interview: ”A bartender inquiring for a position should be clean shaved, with clothes well-brushed, and shoes blacked; and should not speak to the proprietor with a cigar in his mouth, and neither should he spit on the floor, be chewing a tooth pick, use slang or profane language, or indulge in other bad habits. All his answers should be short and in a polite tone of language.” Now well job interviews for bartenders today might not inquire this kind of well grooming and over polite behaviour. Spitting on the floor might not be a good idea though 😉 But for example he goes on and recommend that if you’re a bartender looking for a position you should leave the bar immediately after the interview in order to not occupy the managers time more than necessary or to let anyone in the bar (if the meeting is held there) know what the business was about since it may come to someone being discharged from his/her position and you to replace him/her. Now this is good advice I believe. And he also reminds you that it’s wise to decide on hours, whether by day or night, salary, privileges, if meals are included or not, what is demanded of you and the rules and regulations of this particular working place. There’s a lot more to this book, I suggest you go get you own copy if you work in the industry or just happen to be very interested in it and the history of it.
Aight, it’s Sunday – the best day of the week! Today I started with breakfast in bed.
Bio organic yoghurt with banana, raisins, almonds, pomegranate, müsli and chia seeds.
Kusmis’ Anastasia – Earl Grey (Black tea from India with bergamot – The essence extracted from the skin of a bergamot (sour) orange. It wasn’t until I lived in London, and worked in a tea house in King’s Court where we served Earl Grey with a slice of lemon on the side, I realised how nice it was with that fresh lemon in an Earl Grey. Anastasia even have lemon blossom essence in it. So, perfect!
Coconut water with lots of ice and freshly squeezed lime juice.
I stayed in bed with the smell of Nagchampa incense my breakfast and the tv series Brew Dog. ‘James Watt and Martin Dickie are the owners of famed Scottish brewery Brew Dog. They are well known for creating some of the most interesting and highest alcohol content beers in the world. On their show Brew Dogs, the native Scots travel throughout the US stopping in craft brewing hotbeds like Denver, North Carolina, Chicago, Delaware and Northern California. They sample the local brews and collaborate with brewers to create unique beers using local ingredients and flavors.’
It’s an entertaining and very informative show!
Next stop: Berghain. Later on I might finish at Kater Blau and listen to Marta van Straaten <3
Last night me and James had dinner at his. I brought a shaker so we could make cocktails too! It’s really easy to make simple but delicious drinks at home if you just have some bar tools. We bought gin, lemons, elderflower syrup, mint and ice. And voila, you have an Elderflower Southside! I served it over ice since James didn’t have any cocktail gasses (coupettes)
20ml lemon juice
10ml elderflower syrup
* 4 – 8 mint leaves
* hard shake on ice
* double strain over cocktail glass OR
* double strain over tumbler with ice
Even though I enjoy making my own syrups, sometimes it’s just nice and convenient to buy a ready made one, like this time.
So we made a couscous salad, sweet potato puré and fried tofu. Yummy and quick. Same goes for the drinks.
We had some prosecco over, so we topped our cocktails with it the second round after drinking half of it. Sparkling wine + gin + sour (lemon and sugar) = pleasure! the mint and elderflower gave it a nice fresh touch.
Shaking away in my Åska sweater by Sara Lego Kanerva
Do your self a favour and by a shaker. Or wish one for your birthday or christmas! The boys at Cask & Co really knows bar equipment so check out their website http://www.caskcompany.se
There you’ll find everything you need for a home-bar set up! If you’re in Stockholm pay them a visit at Kammakargatan 42. There is their office and they open a concept store next to it next week!! You must go there. You’ll find a really though out range of good quality bar equipment. They’re super professional, and nice!
Later on we went to Minibar in Kreuzberg. A tiny place with a capacity of maximum like 25 people. Entering the venue the bar is on the left hand side taking up approximately 60 % of the rooms’ surface. There are bar stools but no other tables so you stand if you’re not lucky enough to get a seat. Behind the bar there is another room half the size of the first room, with a sofa at the left and a low table. At the right hand side was a high table with two bar stools. All seats we’re taken so we stood by the high table sipping our well made Gimlets and in on our second round we we’re oblivious to the crowdedness and just had such a good time. The bartender was very helpful and calm. It seemed like a place where you go to enjoy good cocktails and good conversation. The atmosphere was really relaxed despite the amount of people in this small, dimmed, red-lighted place.
I will definitely go back!
I’m so happy I found out James a cocktail lover like me!
Being a bartender and working most weekends Sunday is basically my Saturday and Tuesday my Monday so to speak.. And today is Tuesday and I’m back to work. I don’t work service at the moment since the decision to move to Berlin was indeed a spontaneous one and I’m currently enjoying the city and the organisation of my stay here. But nevertheless it’s time to get some work done today and I figured I’d kick start with a healthy smoothie breakfast / lunch.
Everything here is organic <3
I went to the Bio Company on Boxhagnerstrasse to get some fresh organic ingredients and since I feel I have a cold coming up I wanted to make a healty green smoothie today. Garlic, ginger, lime, chia seeds are some super ingredients to fight a cold and I also got basil, bananas, avocado, apple and almond milk. Ice I had at home. Always have ice at home, it’s so important if you care about what you drink and the taste of it.
Everything goes in the blender, it’s up to you how much of everything according to your taste. Be careful with the garlic though, since it’s fresh it has a really stingy taste with a bitterness to it and you don’t wanna use to much. And make sure it’s not old (!) then it’ll taste horrible.
More ice !! And basil, I figured
I won’t even try to describe the relationship between a bartender and ice.. But we basically love it 😉 I’ll explain it more further in a separate post dedicated to ice.
Ready for some seriousness and important stuff …
Cool, this was really tasty and if you’re making your own health smoothies don’t forget to observe the changes in your body after drinking it. What happens? How do you react to it? It’s for me crucial to listen to how my body respond to what I eat and drink, whether it’s healthy or not 😉 in order for me to understand my needs and experience pleasure through it. …
With these words I wish you a nice week ! Hope it started as good as mine. And if not, you’ll turn it around if you want to
Alright so I’ve found somewhere to stay in Berlin for a while. I’ve really missed cooking and last night I used whatever I found in the fridge to make something nice. So much fun !! I found all these seasonal vegetables like pumpkin, purple carrot, parsnip, potatoes and onion. And garlic! I just cooked all the ingredients in a curry vegetable broth with some bay leaves and then mixed it all in a blender with sour cream and non alcoholic lager (doesn’t matter if it’s alcoholic or not, just that I wasn’t drinking last night for a change on a Saturday) ;p I seasoned the soup with salt, pepper, curry and cinnamon.
Always when I cook or make cocktails I arrange all the ingredients before I start, to keep calm ;)
These carrots are so beautiful!
Iiiiih satisfaction on high level!
I garnished the soup with some salty purple carrot crisp I made in the owen, fresh ginger and bay leaves (just for show) 😉
These are one of my favorite things to do on my own. It’s all about taste and enjoyment you know.
And yes, it was a success! I’ve still got it. It went really well with some pappadam too!
This kind of autumn / india flavored soup goes fantastically well with beer. I recommend an aromatic lager or an lPA. I went non alcoholic last night so I got Clausthaler Classic and it’s really good!
If you want to learn more about beer and the difference between lager and ale, visit http://allaboutbeer.com/article/lager-beer-vs-ale-beer—does-it-matter/
They know their beer!
Right guys, I’m off to see my friend Pablo, we’re going to a theater play with techno at Kantine am Berghain tonight. I have no idea what it will be like but I’m super excited and thrilled. This city hey..
Well after some Berlin experiencing and serious contemplation about my present and future life, I’ve decided to seriously investigate my opportunities to stay here, and to write this blog in English!
This last week has been extremely intense and interesting. Last Saturday me and my friend Chris (who is an extraordinary talented vegan raw food creator) had a pre session at his, and I made some cocktails before I headed out for the weekend. I wanted to create something with Chris’ apple/cinnamon whisky and my love for typical tastes of autumn (or fall) got me a ‘Shiny Fall’ ! You’ll find the recipe further down 😉
Voila ! The ingredients: Bacardi Carta Blanca, O’Donnell Moonshine (Berlin produced appel/cinnamon whiskey), apple juice, Brown sugar, maple syrup, cloves, fresh lemon, ginger, apple and red currant. And no, the cat is not part of the recipe ..
I looooooove making syrups, purés and reductions of any kind to use in my drinks. It’s fun, easy and delicious!
I made a fresh ginger, red currant and cloves maple syrup. How? It’s super easy. Just put the ingrediens in a pot or a pan, add some water and let it boil for a minute. Then let it rest for a while (as long as u want really, I waited 15 minutes this time, generally the longer you wait the more flavor the water soaks up from the ingredients but that also depends on what ingredients you use) and then add the brown sugar. Use approximately 3/4 sugar to the liquid, but this is also up to you (how thick you want your syrup) and heat it up again until the sugar dissolves, stir for a few minutes and boom ! Finished! You want your syrup cold though so let it set in the freezer until it has cooled down before you use it in your cocktail.
The cocktail I wanted to create required som preparation as you can tell by now, but we were thirsty of course and needed something to tickle our taste buds and senses asap, so I made a starter!
This is Bacardi Carta Blanca, fresh lime juice, brown sugar and fresh mint. Piece a’ cake !
Enjoying my starter while the syrup cools down ;)
I found a large beer glass and a kind of strainer to use as tools for the finish.
The syrup (in the glass jar on the left in the picture) was delicious !
For TWO drinks :
80 ml Bacardi Carta Blanca
30 ml O’Donnells Moonshine
20 ml Shiny fall syrup
60 ml fresh lime juice
* Preferably shake, but I’ve no shaker’s available like in this case you can stirr it.
* Serve in a tumbler with ice cubes
* Garnish with fresh apple and red currant, sprinkle a bit of cinnamon powder and black pepper
If you don’t have a cinnamon/apple whiskey just use a normal bourbon, a little apple liqueur and add cinnamon sticks to the syrup. Just play around with the measurements until you find your preferred balance.
Shiny Fall for you dears 😀 <3
After this session I had the most amazing time at Kater Blau. If you visit Berlin, check it out, I tell you!
Jag befinner mig i Berlin och har varit på Bar Convent Berlin – världens största handelsmässa för bar- och dryckesbranschen. Olika varumärken visar upp sig, seminarier hålls och människor inom branschen möts och knyter kontakter, får inspiration och testar nya produkter inom allt ifrån barredskap till spritsorter. I år förväntade sig arrangörerna över 9000 besökare på två dagar, så ni hör, det är en rätt så ‘big deal’ inom industrin. Jag fick en fribiljett av en god vän och satte mig på ett flyg ner till Berlin i tisdagskväll. Jag missade alltså tisdagen på mässan men hann med ett varv på onsdagen. Träffade mina fina vänner på Cask & Co som jag jobbade med på Öl och Wiskeymässan hemma i Stockholm, några bartenderkollegor från bland annat Kåken, Grand Escalier, Svartengrens och Nobis Hotel.
Wormwood glasses av Italess från Italien, så fiiiiina!
Robbie från Liquid Management spottade mig bakom kameran vid Italess monter
Träffade en supersöt Pablo på mässan som här jobbade för ‘Berliner Brandstifter’ men i vanliga fall hittas han i cocktailbaren på fantastiska Kater Blau. Mijau !
Jag hängde runt på mässan mest med Jesper från Lilla Ego och Christian från Kåken, här testar vi Fortaleza Tequila !
Sötisarna Patrick och Rhys från Cask & Co och mellan dem har vi Sebastian från Svartengrens
Jag hann också med en halv föreläsning om Drambuie och Southern Comfort innan det var dags att gå och hälsa på min favorit gin : Monkey 47. Den är fett god, kommer i en fett snygg flaska med snygg etikett. Och den är på 47%, alltså väldigt användbar i cocktails med juicer/likörer osv då den distinktiva smaken av enbär, lite kryddiga och blommiga toner fortfarande är genomgående. Och din cocktail behåller det där spritiga stinget som jag tycker om, vilket en gin på 40% skulle sakna (självklart beroende på mått osv men ni fattar vad jag vill förmedla) 😉 Monkey 47 hittar ni på de allra flesta barer i Stockholm med någorlunda najs utbud så varför inte fråga efter den nästa gång ni beställer en Gin Tonic så får ni säkerligen mer smak och sting i den än om bartendern använder sig av sin vanliga ‘hus-gin’. Dessutom produceras Monkey 47 i Black Forest i sydvästra Tyskland; bara det låter coolt liksom! Skulle gärna åka dit och kolla in tillverkningsprocessen.
Well, nu är det dags för mig att ta på mig dansdosorna för en natt på stan. Frikkin love this city !