A few weeks ago I was able to return to Bar Convent Berlin for the third time. For this trip I was not a speaker or an official blogger, but a media guest of Disaronno. It's not hard work, but someone's gotta do it anyway.
It has been a couple years since I last attended BCB, and the show again has about doubled in size. With 317 exhibitors from 28 countries, 11,000 attendees from the bar trade, and all the booths using real glassware to serve cocktails, I can't fathom the logistics of throwing it, but it's great to be an attendee. The crowd is really well-behaved (at least they seemed so when I was there), the brands spend a lot of time and budget on their booths, and things flow pretty smoothly.
In the parts of two days I was there, I spent nearly the entire time walking around the booths, speaking and visiting with industry friends, and tasting new products. I didn't manage to catch any of the seminars- my bad on that- as the days were full and it takes more than one day just to see the whole floor.
At night I managed to check out a few of Berlin's top bars that I hadn't previously seen: Buck and Breck, Becketts Kopf, and Bar Immertreu, with Jacopo Rosito from 54 Mint in SF my host with the most, West Coast Disaronno brand ambassador Alex Room.
Doing It with Disaronno
Disaronno had a large central booth at Bar Convent Berlin where they were not only serving cocktails but also debuting Tia Maria's new bottle and showing off the new higher-proof Zucca to the European market. (We've had the new Zucca for a little bit in the US.)
Disaronno brought bartenders from eight countries to BCB this year to demonstrate cocktails developed as part of this year's Mixing Star. Rather than a contest final, this was billed as the Global Get Together. The bartenders made their cocktails on the BCB bar floor, as well as at an evening event at a top-floor nightclub venue.
Simon Difford debuted a book The Mixing Star Guide just for the event, with his top 45 recipes of all those submitted in this year's Mixing Star. The drinks had to be original interpretations of one of five bartending styles (Classic, Tiki, Batched, Molecular and Fun/Contemporary); the goal being to demonstrate that Disaronno plays well with all.
After sampling all the drinks submitted, Difford chose the best, and he and his team took the photos and produced the rather attractive book. This was gifted just to Disaronno's guests at the event and won't be available for sale.
Rosito made his cocktail from the "batched" category. The recipe is below.
The Magic Oak
By Jacopo Rosito
45ml Rutte Old Simon
15ml Del Maguery Vida Mezcal
2 drop Bitter Truth Chocolate Bitters
Combine all ingredients and pour into oak cask. Age for one month and then strain through a cheesecloth into a glass bottle and leave for a week to rest. Stir 90ml of the aged mixture with ice and strain into ice-filled rocks glass, preferably over one large cube of block ice.
My job was to watch and to drink them, and that's what I did. Thanks to the brand for a great trip to a great bar show. Hopefully I'll get there next year as well.