Cocktails

Ejo #63 – Drunk In….. Tokyo (Bars Tram & Trench)

DRUNK IN….. TOKYO
BAR TRAM & BAR TRENCH

These two incredible bars are run by the Small Axe group, and if you are serious about your cocktails, you will most definitely want to make a stop at either (or both) bars. We, of course, in the name of research, went to both. The focus in both places is on absinthe (and they have an incredible range of the spirit) but the geniuses behind the bar (and they are a true pleasure to watch when concocting their masterpieces) are cocktail experts across the board. Try one of their complex, but balanced, monthly recommendations, like we did. And then try one of their signature absinthe cocktails, like we did. If we had been spending more time in Tokyo I would have tried their entire drink menu. Best thing? They’re within walking distance of each other and serve different drinks.

Bar Tram does double duty during the day as a serious coffee shop. I have never seen drip coffee being made with such intense concentration and focus – one drop at a time. It’s lovely to watch someone so passionate about his art – and then even better to reap the reward by drinking the result. Highly recommended.

Shhhhh!!  The perfect coffee takes crazy concentration.

Shhhhh!! The perfect coffee takes crazy concentration.

Bar Tram - absinthe in the background

Bar Tram – absinthe in the background

David had this beetroot based cocktail in a pewter mug sprinkled with gold leaf stars.  AMAZE!!!!!

David had this beetroot based cocktail in a pewter mug sprinkled with gold leaf stars. AMAZE!!!!!

Mine was one of the most delicious cocktails I've ever had.  But guess what?  I was drunk (in Tokyo) so I can't remember what was in it.  Raspberries and pink peppercorn by the look of it.

Mine was one of the most delicious cocktails I’ve ever had. But guess what? I was drunk (in Tokyo) so I can’t remember what was in it. Raspberries and pink peppercorn by the look of it.

They hand chip the ice with the flick of a knife into an emerald cut shape.  It's all in the details.

They hand chip the ice with the flick of a knife into an emerald cut shape. It’s all in the details.

When we got to Bar Trench they were full so we sat outside in the drizzle.  They brought us out warm towels, took our drink order and served us on a nearby bench.  Hospitality in Japan is second to none.

When we got to Bar Trench they were full so we sat outside in the drizzle. They brought us out warm towels, took our drink order and served us on a nearby bench. Hospitality in Japan is second to none.

BAR TRAM INFO:
1-7-13 Ebisunishi Shibuya Tokyo
(Address in Japanese: 渋谷区恵比寿西1-7-13−2F)
+81 3 5489 5514
Coffee: 1000-1900 (Closed Mondays)
Bar: 1900-0200 (later on weekends)

 
 
BAR TRENCH INFO:
1-5-8 Ebisunishi Shibuya Tokyo
(Address in Japanese: 渋谷区恵比寿西1-5-8)
+81 3 3780 5291
Open 1900-0200 (Closed Sundays)

Return to Drunk In….. Tokyo

Ejo #34 – TEEC: Day 16 (The House Of Bols)

The Van Gogh Museum houses (the largest collection of) the artist’s drawings and paintings. The Rijksmuseum (translation: Statemuseum) exhibits historical artifacts owned by… you guessed it, the City of Amsterdam. So what would you expect to find in The House Of Bols? I’ll tell you. An amazing, informative, interactive and pretty damn fun way to spend a rainy afternoon! So, I’m sure you’ve heard of Bols liqueurs. Or at least sampled them. Here is their distinctive bottle (apparently designed to be 33% more “efficient” for the bartender)!

That isn’t YOGHURT liqueur now, is it? Why yes, it is indeed!!!

So, the tour involves moving through a number of different rooms, each designed to teach you about Bols. In the first room we learned that The House Of Bols was founded in 1575!!! That’s 200 years BEFORE Cook discovered Australia!!! In the second room we saw the complete collection of mini-Delft Dutch houses (filled with Genever – more on that later) that KLM have been giving out to their First (and more recently Business) Class passengers since 1957. Each house is a replica of an actual Amsterdam dwelling!!

The full collection of tiny replica Dutch houses filled with Genever. They even have one of Anne Frank’s house!

The next room contained a row of atomiser bottles, each containing a sample of the 36 flavours of Bols liqueur. You sprayed the atomiser, sniffed what came out and tried to guess what flavour it was. We got to about 12 of the 36 before we started feeling a little lightheaded and decided to sample only the ones that we liked the sound of. It was here that we were also to note down our two favourite essences.

Each Bols flavour is available to sniff and identify! TRY to get through all 36! We couldn’t.

The next room was dedicated to Genever, the signature Bols tipple. The one they’ve been making since 1575. Genever is actually the pre-cursor to Gin (the Brits invented Gin when they got jealous of Genever’s wild success in the 17th century). The room had several Genever atomisers along with boxes full of some of the ingredients used to make it. What I really liked is that these ingredients weren’t behind a glass barrier. You could stick your head right into it, if that’s what you wanted. We satisfied ourselves by grabbing handfuls of the stuff.

Maltwine, made from these grains, is the foundation of Genever. That is the main difference between it and Gin.

Several different botanicals and spices are added during the distillation process.

It was fun to grab handfuls of the Juniper berries and sniff them. Yummy!!!

Also in the Genever room was the actual notebook that Lucas Bols used to write down his notes and formulae way back in the 1600’s. This actually was behind a glass barrier. Fair enough.

Lucas Bols’ Notebook – filled with notes and formulae on how to make the perfect Genever.

The final part of the tour was the least informative but the most fun. A computer helped us choose a cocktail (check out some of the recipes here) which two lovely bartenders made up for us to drink at the bar!! In addition to this, we got two shot glasses full of our favourite liqueurs (remember way back at the beginning of the tour when we had to choose?). I had elderflower and butterscotch. David had coconut and Kirsch cherry. Yum!! Oh, and when we asked the bartender how the shape of the bottle increased his efficiency by 33% he simply held up two bottles in one hand and smiled.

Bols Bar – an awesome way to end a fantastic tour!!!

Now so far, this was one of the best tours I’ve ever done. But then, just to put the cherry on top, David noticed a little room to the side of the bar. Inside the room were four colourful, plastic, Bols Flairbottles, four padded walls and a video camera. What is a Flairbottle? Ever seen the movie Cocktail? I shall leave it at that.

Photo Series: House Of Bols Cocktails, In Amsterdam

The Snow Owl & Aged Mai Tai

THE SNOW OWL
* 30ml Bols Natural Yoghurt Liqueur
* 30ml Bols Lychee Liqueur
* Fresh lemon juice
* Bols Maraschino Liqueur

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into glass filled with crushed ice.

AGED MAI TAI
* 37.5ml Bols Barrel Aged Genever
* 22.5ml Bols Dry Orange Liqueur
* 7.5ml Sugar syrup
* 7.5ml Almond syrup
* 30ml Fresh lime juice

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into glass filled with crushed ice.

The Monarch

THE MONARCH
* Fresh mint leaves
* 30ml Bols Genever
* 30ml Bols Lychee Liqueur
* 22.5ml Bols Triple Sec
* 7.5ml Fresh lemon juice
* 7.5ml Sugar syrup

Muddle the mint leaves in the glass. Fill with crushed ice. Shake the rest of the ingredients with ice and strain into the glass.

Adam’s Apple

ADAM’S APPLE
* 45ml Bols Jonge Genever
* 15ml Bols Sour Apple Liqueue
* 60ml Cloudy apple juice
* 7.5ml Fresh lime juice
* 7.5ml Bols Grenadine

Squeeze and drop a lime wedge into a shaker. Add the other ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a glass filled with ice.