I met Maria in a totally different setting, at an event called ‘Pink Dinner’ that was held at one of those fancier restaurants in Berlin district Mitte. Maria introduced herself as a ‘Drinks Expert’, which got me interested, since I introduce myself as a coffee expert, too.
She was creating cocktails with a certain type of Gin that night, adding all sorts of herbs, fruits and other ingredients to the booze and supporting the guests to find their favorite combo. I was more than impressed and had to talk to that lady!
After the event I lost touch with Maria, though, since I only gave her my business card…
BUT, I’ve been clever enough to ask the hosts of that very event a couple weeks later for Maria’s E-Mail address. Why? Because I’ve felt, we’d had some more interesting stuff to come – cocktail wise…
A few months later I met Maria again, at ‘Green Door’ Bar in Berlin, where she’s managing the Bar!
I’ve had a very inspiring conversation with Maria and try-tasted several tea & coffee cocktails that are on their menu and that Maria is co-creating.
I’ve never ever met such an inspiring woman who is spitting out new cocktail creations like a volcano is belching out lava. She knows her Bar and all the drinks like no other, at least, I think she does! ;-)
Just now I decided to have her for my ‘Drinks’ section on Mel’s Coffee Travels and asked her for 3 cocktail recipes that also have coffee AND tea in it!
But back to Maria!
Maria says about herself that she’s a Foodie, a cosmopolitan and a nerd in her private life and the Manager of Green Door Bar as well as a Product Designer in business. But same as for me with coffee, bar stuff and cocktails are part of her whole life.
How did you get into bartending and why?
“I’ve always liked to work with aromas during my studies and loved to cook and make Drinks. Working in bars next to my studies helped me not only to finance my studies, but also to develop more into that direction. I’m motivated by the fact that the possibilities of combining flavors or read about production and history of products seems almost endless.”
Especially as a Drinks Expert today she needs to dive into new topics almost on a daily basis, which is a never-ending project, she tells me.
“My claim is, for years, to deepen and expand my knowledge. Bartending combines chemistry, physics, History, sensory, culture and technology. You can spend a lot of time with each of these areas.” (laughs)
As the Bar Manager at Green Door Bar she wants to build a successful and sustainable business and to improve all the processes in a Bar step by step:
“It’s about much more than just drinks. I typeset, bind and illustrate, e.g. our cocktail menu, organize tastings and Workshops for employees or I am sometimes a craftsman if there is a water damage.”
Maria not only teaches her staff how to improve the workflow behind the bar, but also how to work with special ingredients such as tea and coffee and does tasting sessions of new cocktail creations:
“When studying Design, you build an extremely large number of models to approach a form and an idea. This is also a good for working at the bar. Bartenders have less well-founded, traditionally accurate knowledge than, for example, cooks. The more I deal with it, the more I realize how important it is to question sciolism and to experimentally develop techniques and recipes with the team in tasting session.”
Great that she mentions it, because that’s what I asked her, too, to create three recipes for Mel’s Coffee Travels, two with coffee and one with tea.
But before we dive into the recipes, I’d like to know from her, how she is creating all the recipes for the Bar and beyond:
“I usually take a product and associate freely which flavors would harmonize with it. The drink then results from this and the occasion, to which it is to be drunk. A fresh drink for hot summer days is e.g. less powerful than a recipe for cold autumn evenings.”
Lastly I wanted to know, what inspires her for her cocktail creations and for life in general:
Art, travel, movies and books. I read a lot. In books I find both relaxation and inspiration. I love classic Literature. Currently it is Marcel Proust’s ‘In search of Lost Time’. Maybe I’ll create a drink to his famous Madeleine with tea one day… Who knows. ;-)
40 ml Aged Rum (Santa Teresa 1796 or Ron Abuelo 7)
30 ml cold Espresso
18 ml PX Sherry (Lustau)
10 ml Zuidam Chocolat Liqueur
7 ml Giffard Banana Liqueur
Shake all ingredients well and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with flambéed Pandan leaves.
60 ml Blended Rum (white blended Rum such as Veritas or Banks 5)
20 ml fig leaf sirup*
25 ml fresh lime juice
50 ml cold Shincha – first flush – tea (strong infusion, but max. 2 min at 60°)
*Put 15 fig leaves, 600 grams of sugar and 400 ml of water to a plastic pouch and simmer in a water bath on medium heat (60°C) for about 2,5 hours.
Shake ingredients very well in a chilled Punch glass. Finish with freshly grated nutmeg.
The Rose’s Thorn
50 ml Noilly Prat Dry
20 ml Mahembe Coffee Spirit
1 bsp Ancho Reyes Original Chili Liqueur
5 ml Cherry Brandy
Stir ingredients on ice and strain into a chilled Cocktail glass.