In Jurgen’s own words, “I started bartending during my studies at the university in a nightclub where I later became bar manager. The same owner started a small bistro/bar and the place had an espresso machine. This triggered me to learn more about coffee and tea and I slowly became a barista. We also served some cocktails but because of the versatility I saw in coffee and the combinations that were possible I started to get interested in flavor and all the possibilities with the products available behind every bar.
“I decided to spend all my time and effort learning more about the beautiful craft of tending bar and making mixed drinks. Until the point I very consciously decided to quit school and make my career in bartending. I still haven’t regretted that choice for one second in my life.
“After working in the bistro I went to work in the Michelin Star restaurant Pure C in Holland. Later I moved to Ghent to work at Old Fashioned and my current position at Uncle Babe’s Burger Bar. This year I competed in the Diageo World Class global finals in Cape Town and made it to 10th place and I won the Speed Round Challenge, which was a highlight of my year. But in the first place I want to be a humble bartender with only one focus. The guest in front of me.”
Garnish: Lemon zest twist
Method: Shake first 6 ingredients with ice and strain into ice-filled glass.
• 45 ml Zwarte Man jenever
• 10 ml Cherry Heering
• 10 ml Dry curaçao
• 1 spoon Bénédictine D.O.M.
• 1 dash Angostura Aromatic Bitters
• 10 ml Lemon juice
• Top with Vanderghinste Oud Bruin
“I wanted to make a Belgian twist on the Singapore Sling using a Belgian jenever and off course Belgian beer. The name is a reference to Robert Vermeire, the first Belgian bartender who wrote a bartender’s guide, Cocktails: How to mix them. Published in 1922 this is also the first time the Singapore Sling appeared in a cocktail book.