Words by: Ashley Pini
“When it comes to bartenders, you often can divide them into two teams: The ones who hunt down flavours and love the idea of putting many of them in a glass, and the ones who love the idea of using as few ingredients as possible. Both ways can create awesome drinks. It is more a question of personal style,” explained Joerg Meyer.
“Next to some basil affairs, I am more the second type of bartender,” Joerg continued.
“I love classic cocktails, and for me a truly perfect drink has as few ingredients as possible. If you ask someone for a drink, and he or she serves you a two ingredients drink, this person has courage.”
Examples of such drinks are The Rusty Nail: “a famous two-part drink, often terribly sweet, sometimes executed by a master as a perfect drink,” Joerg continued.
The Padovani is the modern version of this idea, a drink that Joerg mixes a lot of in his Cinchona Bar in Zurich. He also enjoys playing around with dozens of versions of Gin & Tonics: “I have fallen in love with this kind of strong, two ingredients player.”
“You learn over time that in a two ingredients drinks, there is no place to hide cheap or weak ingredients. Two ingredient drinks are very honest; they tell you everything about the bartender and the ingredients.”
Regaling a story from a few years ago, Joerg recounts that he invited Hidetsuego Ueno to attend as a guest at Le Lion Bar de Paris, a masterclass on Japanese ice handling: “I talked to him about my love for simple drinks, and I knew that he agreed with me.”
Joerg continued: “I will never forget the first time I met him on the Cocktail & Spirit Stage in Paris, where he served us all the Bamboo Cocktail. His White Ladies are legendary. From then I knew, this was the right person to talk to about perfect and simple drinks.”
It was during an afternoon playing around behind Le Lion Bar with Ueno that Joerg was introduced to Cherry Heering: “He introduced me to a simple yet difficult Cherry Heering drink, the Hunter Cocktail.”
“He mixed me about two parts of a strong Noah’s Mill Bourbon with one part of Cherry Heering, and served it with his well-known smile. BOOM. I loved it. Bourbon and Cherry Heering. That’s it. You do not need anything more to create the perfect drink.”
Following this encounter, Joerg began to practice mixing to perfect the ratio: “After that first perfect sip of a Hunter mixed by Ueno, I started to search my library for this drink and I found a few old recipes. The oldest I could find was from 1914.”
“Jacques Straub calls in his book Drinks, for a one to two ratio with Rye Whiskey. Ueno explained to me that he had changed it because Bourbon was a perfect match, and I agreed.”
On this note, Joerg started to play around with “different, younger and elegant Ryes,” finally settling on Vulson Old Rye for the perfect Hunter, with a modern twist.
Method: Fill a stirring glass with extra cold ice, stir and strain
50ml / 1 2/3oz Vulson Old Rye Whisky
20ml / 2/3oz Cherry Heering