The cat’s out of the bag! We announced the Short List nominees for 2015’s Mixology Bar Awards here a little over a month ago. Now on Monday, October 6th, on the evening before the kick-off of this year’s Bar Convent Berlin fair, the MIXOLOGY BAR AWARDS ceremony honoring the latest winners was held at Berlin’s elegant Grand Hyatt Hotel.
The suspense was truly electric at the award ceremony, which welcomed prominent guests and bar scene celebs from Germany, Austria and Switzerland (the countries with teams competing for the awards) and around the world.
The awards ceremony was hosted with ease and charm by the team of Irish cocktail and bar expert Phil Duff and Bettina Kupsa from Hamburg’s award-winning Bar Le Lion.
A feast for bar scene pros and fans alike
Prior to the start of the festivities, guests were treated to a fantastic meal and a selection of exquisite drinks served up by the event’s sponsors.
In addition to the guests on hand at the Hyatt for the event, over 1,000 others attending the debut of the MIXOLOGY MARKET at Station Berlin were also able to tune in and enjoy the proceedings via live stream.
Familiar faces and new categories
After dinner things got down to business, with Stefan Gabányi’s jury of experts consecutively announcing each of the winners it selected in secret voting from the 2015 Short List.
The 14 different categories honored at this year’s ceremony included two newcomers: the new Brand Ambassador and Sales Representative of the Year awards. These two new award categories bring the beverage industry closer to the Mixology Bar Awards.
A round of applause, please!
Over the next two days visitors attending Bar Convent Berlin will have the opportunity to get a close-up look at some of the award winners and maybe even a chance to toast them on their win! And now, ladies and gentlemen, a round of applause please for the winners of the MIXOLOGY BAR AWARDS 2015!
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: Marian Krause, Spirits, Cologne
Hotel management graduate Marian is a celebrated bartender at Spirits in Cologne. His unique take on the “Bobby Burns” cocktail is already legendary. Marian is a professional bartender through and through who earned his stripes early on as a show bartender. He has demonstrated his bar prowess in international competitions, and together with his soul mate he schools other bartenders in sous-vide cooking, carbonization, flavoring and new training methods.
BARTEAM OF THE YEAR: Booze Bar, Berlin
Björn Severin, Lutz Rau, Roman Lewandowski, Manuel Wagner, Andreas Schröder, Nico Astor, Gunja Lilienthal, Seven Vetter, Jacob Steudel
The team at Booze Bar has its own irresistibly charming interpretation of bar culture and hospitality with the right balance between “classic” and Rock ’n’ Roll ideally suited for Berlin’s Friedrichshain district.
HOST OF THE YEAR & MIXOLOGIST OF THE YEAR: Mario Kappes, Le Lion, Hamburg
The bar is his stage and his role as host is his passion. As the bar manager at Le Lion in Hamburg, Mario Kappes is a mainstay of elegance, agility and precision with a creative approach to drink ingredients and a natural, professional ease in the service he provides. He balances the at times gritty surreality of Hamburg’s nightlife with his other role as a dedicated family man and practitioner of the Filipino martial art of Eskrima.
BAR MENU OF THE YEAR: Zephyr Bar, Munich
The menu at Munich’s Zephyr Bar is a black-&-white icon integrating typography, illustrations and tastefully depicted logos of the house’s spirits into an overall work of art that lures readers in to explore and discover more. Imagine a tantalizing comic book for adults.
BAR OF THE YEAR (GERMANY): Buck & Breck, Berlin
Berlin’s Buck & Breck is inconspicuously concealed behind a simple shop window and the adjacent doorbell. A large table with seating for up to 12 guests takes up most of the small room, allowing host Goncalo de Sousa Monteiro to pay personal attention to every single one while serving the finest short drinks available anywhere.
BAR OF THE YEAR (SWITZERLAND): Les Trois Rois, Basel
The 5-star Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois on the banks of the Rhine River in Basel, Switzerland is home to a bar exemplifying the elegance and sophistication one expects to find in such grandiose surroundings. The warm colors, magnificent chandeliers and plush furnishings entice guests to relax in the atmosphere of a bygone regal era with excellent drinks and outstanding service.
BAR OF THE YEAR (AUSTRIA): The Sign Lounge, Vienna
Vienna’s Sign Lounge features contemporary furnishings, warm colors and cool drinks. Located near the University of Vienna’s Economics Department, the quality and exactitude of The Sign’s drinks combined with the hospitality shown by bar manager Kan Zuo and his team have rapidly made this bar a top tip in Vienna and beyond.
HOTEL BAR OF THE YEAR: Curtain Club, The Ritz Carlton, Berlin
The eloquently British ambience at Berlin’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel at Potsdamer Platz is invigorated every evening by the hospitality of Arnd H. Heissen and his bar team. The Curtain Club is home to perfume-inspired drinks, infused spirits and an enticing bar menu uniting established classics with current trends and an eclectic array of the bar’s own creations.
FILLER OF THE YEAR: Fever Tree Tonic Water
The Filler of the Year is selected as the top soft drink to mix with other ingredients behind the bar. Bartenders and restaurants favor this product for its outstanding quality and diversity for mixed drinks. Its popularity makes it a must-have at every bar. This year is the debut for the Filler of the Year award, and the jury and its supervisory board have chosen a gangbuster product appreciated by more than just gin & tonic fans. Pop the bottle, listen for the fizz and enjoy the anticipation: Ladies and gentlemen, Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water.
SPIRIT OF THE YEAR: Bulleit Rye
To be eligible for the Spirit of the Year award a product cannot have been on the Germany-Austria-Switzerland market for longer than 18 months. With rye whiskey currently trending for sophisticated mixed drinks, Diageo heard the cry of many bartenders calling for greater diversity among the range of ryes on the shelves. In the 19th century Augustus Bulleit recognized the opportunities rye could present for his whiskeys. However, on a business trip from Kentucky to New Orleans Bulleit mysteriously disappeared. His products were subsequently faced with gradual extinction. Diageo has now introduced its own rye whiskey with a product maintaining a perfect balance between price, taste and mixing compatibility. This combination unanimously persuaded the jury to single out Bulleit Rye for the Spirit of the Year award.
SALES REPRESENTATIVE OF THE YEAR: Adrian Baldino, Diageo, Germany
Adrian has been “The Man” for all your beverage needs in Germany’s greater Frankfurt area for over six years now, and he’s not too precious to hop behind the bar himself and do an occasional guest shift to keep up his bartending chops. This gives him a unique insight from both sides of the bar that makes him the ideal link between the bar supply and retail sectors.
BRAND AMBASSADOR OF THE YEAR: Sven Sudeck, Sierra Tequila/Borco, Germany
Over the course of his bar scene career Sven Sudeck has filled so many roles that he’s become as integral a part of that scene as the spirits he represents. Since starting off with his first brand, Sierra Tequila, four years ago Sven has grown into the brands point-man at Borco where he now assembles new teams and trains them for the position of »Brand Ambassador«.
BARTENDERS’ CHOICE: Chicago Williams BBQ, Berlin
The »Bartenders’ Choice« award is reserved for products or places which are acknowledged to be useful, are greatly appreciated and that simply do a body good! They don’t necessarily even need to have a direct connection to the bar scene. Not many a bartender visiting Berlin will pass up a chance for a hearty plate loaded up with the finest bratwurst, delicious ribs and mouthwatering smoked meat. Add in excellent beers and the noisy hospitality of Nawid Samawat and Holger Groll and you’ve got Chicago Williams BBQ in Berlin. The Bartenders’ Choice 2015 is authentic, delicious and unmistakable.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Bill Deck
40 years as the cradle of modern bar culture in the world’s beer capital: The Mixology Bar Awards jury deems an accomplishment of this magnitude worthy of its esteemed Lifetime Achievement Award. Bill Deck was born in Pennsylvania. In 1974 he was posted by the US Air Force to Bavaria and the GI radio station AFN, and he promptly opened his very own »Harry’s New York Bar« in Munich. Back then the concept of an American bar was unprecedented in Germany. Over the years the bar set new standards and inspired generations of young bartenders, many of whom had their first exposure to contemporary cocktail culture at Harry’s at Munich’s Falkenturmstrasse 9.
The bar changed its name in 1993 to »Pusser’s New York Bar« and has since placed a special focus on classics made with the famous rum rooted in Britain’s Caribbean colonial past. With bartending in the blood, today Bill’s son David runs the bar’s affairs with the same enthusiasm he inherited from his father. Bill Deck’s legacy is a lifetime dedicated to bar culture as a host, visionary, bartender and more. While we honor his achievement with this award, let us also drink a toast to the man. Preferably with an original Pusser’s Painkiller!
Original article by Nils Wrage. Translated by Jeff Collier.