Joe here, reporting from Berlin.
I had just left the Berlin Congress Center, where I'd snagged a ticket to this year's Chaos
Communication Congress, and I didn't quite feel like heading
straight back to my hotel. So with the help of my Blackberry, a few
reviews from online, and Google Maps, I walked in to Reingold.
It was a Friday night at about 10:30 on the Thursday after Christmas. As you's expect, the bar wasn't exactly hopping. But the bartender, Jakob Etzold, and the others at the bar were welcoming, and I took a seat.
(Those last two photos are from the Reingold website; it wasn't quite that dead.) I started with a Martinez, which Jakob carefully executed into a vintage crystal glass.
Soon after, the bar's owner, David Wiedemann, introduced himself, along with his friend who had done the bar's lighting design. We shared a taste of a 50-year-old bottle of German plum liqueur, which smelled just beautiful and tasted like slightly tastier slivovitz.
I moved on to a "Jalisco Manhattan," which featured a very chocolatey reposado tequila along with Carpano Antica, Peychaud's bitters, Angostura bitters, and a slice of orange peel. The chocolate notes were amazingly strong at first, then faded into the background, with the bitters bringing together the spikiness of the tequila with the roundness of the vermouth.
Jakob wanted to show off their homemade juniper syrup, so he made me a gin sour -- gin, egg white, lemon juice, Bitter Truth lemon bitters, and juniper syrup. The drink was delicious, but it wasn't clear what the juniper syrup was bringing to the party that one wouldn't get just by using a fruitier gin.
I finished out the evening with a Manhattan made with Thomas H. Handy rye, Carpano Antica, and one drop each of Angostura orange bitters and Bitter Truth orange bitters. It was an outstanding end to a lovely evening spent with David and Jakob.
So next time you're in Berlin, Reingold is a must.