By Bettina Kupsa, Germany
“In my opinion, Hamburg is the most beautiful city in the world. If I didn’t live here, the only other place where I would feel comfortable is the moon: I would spend one day on the light side and the next day on the dark side. I like living this way, on the border between opposites. Jumping from sweet to bitter, from day to night.
“This is why Hamburg is the perfect city: here, opposites continually collide. This is exactly what I wanted for my bar. An elegant cocktail bar in the middle of the Red Light District, a beautiful contrast. I wanted to be surrounded by customers who resemble me, enlivened by opposites. Now every evening when I look around, I see ties and tattoos, managers and philosophers, angels and devils kissing each other against the wall.
“The streets of Hamburg offer magical encounters that can change your life in seconds. Like what happened recently, on the night before Christmas eve. At 5 in the afternoon, while I was raising the shutter at the front of my bar, I saw these two young musicians playing on the corner of the street. In spite of the freezing cold, they were dressed in thin layers and seemed very relaxed. She sang with a sugar-sweet voice and beat out the rhythm on a drum that had seen better days. He accompanied her on the guitar.
“The song had a slow, captivating rhythm – there was something South American about it. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand the words, but I was completely captivated by its melancholy sound: hearing that music was like reflecting about the past while walking barefoot on grass. I imagined the smell of an extinguished bonfire, the morning after a wild beach party.
“When I got to my bar, it occurred to me that they should play there. I wanted my customers to experience what I had felt listening to their music. I made two cups of tea, but when I went back out to invite them in, there was nobody there. The music stayed in my head and my hands began to whirl into action, even though there was no longer anything to listen to. I grabbed a shaker and started to mix ingredients that would recreate that bittersweet harmony in my head.
“It took a while and I had to work with all five senses. I began with Campari and blended it with Cherry & Tonka Infused Tequila, followed by lemon and sugar, adding Orange Foam as the final touch. I haven’t seen those two musicians since, but if I ever do, I will definitely make them Chepari, the cocktail that they inspired.”