Wouter Bosch: The Philosophy bartender. LOB series.
Photography by Ming Chao
Ten tough ones for....
In this Legends Of the Bar series we will look into some of the great names in Dutch bartending and ask them ten tough questions.
Next, The bartending Philosopher; Wouter Bosch.
What is the nicest moment behind the bar you can remember?
"It's hard to describe the best moment behind the bar. So many moments have their own unique memories. Although if I have to name one, it was just an average rainy evening in amsterdam and I only had three tables in and one couple sitting at the bar. Outside it turned to dusk and the rain poured. I was making Martini's for the couple in front of me and the entire bar felt at peace and it felt right. It was a perfect moment."
What is the worst?
" We tend to forget our worst moments, I think. Although that one time the bar was completely empty, we had one hour till last call and I was so incredibly sick I was dry heaving into a bucket, but my manager insisted I stayed because no one else could make drinks.. That night was rough. I ended up calling a friend to cover the last hour for me, while he had been out drinking and having fun. That was a bad moment."
Who are the two Gurus you look up to the most in our industry?
" I still look up to the man who made me sign up for my first competition, Maarten van der Pluijm. If he hadn't pushed me, I might not have ended up in the best industry in the world.
There are a lot of people I look up to. I still consider myself a rookie bartender, I have long way to go. But I think Andrew Nicholls is an inspiration. His sincerity and the way he carries himself is not only something to aspire as a bartender, but just as a human being."
Which book on bartending is a must-read?
"My absolute must read book is called "The Perfect Martini" by Takayuki Suzuki. This might change in time, however, this book I feel captures what bartending should be about. You won't find a lot of recipes in this book, or techniques and science facts about the dilution of ice (although that is very useful to know!). This book tells stories about bartending and his most precious moments. It is mesmerizing to read."
What is the cocktail you have created you are most proud of and why?
" I'm proud of a lot of drinks I've made and then there are some I used to be proud of. At the moment I take a lot of pride in my drink called "Home". It's a dreadfully simple old fashioned style cocktail where the bitter element is replaced with instant coffee. Then a garnish served on the side, which is just a glass of Fino Sherry. The combinations of flavours are insane. This drink got me in the world finals of Chivas Masters 2017 and I love that it's simple in preparation yet complex in flavours."
What is the biggest challenge facing our industry in the Netherlands today?
"I think our industry faces a consumer problem. The bar industry and the bartenders are ready to go further and catch up to the big boys. The dutch consumer isn't even familiar with the classics. Which is not a judgement regarding our guests, but it puts a strain on the relationship between bartender and guest."
What is your guilty pleasure drink?
"I love most things mixed with coca cola. My most guiltiest pleasure would be a sherry and coke."
If you could teach new bartenders one thing, what would it be?
" I don't believe I'm in the right spot to teach new bartenders, as I feel I'm still learning a lot myself. But if anything, new bartenders can learn to understand that bartending is above anything else a social art. It's theatre."
What do i have to do as a bartender to piss you off when visiting a bar?
"When you come into a bar and when you act like you can do whatever you want because you happen to have money, that's when you piss me off. Just be a guest and enjoy what this bar has to offer. Just because you can buy anything you want, doesn't mean you can get everything you want."
If you want to be remembered by any quote, what would it be?
"Drink anything you like to drink and enjoy. Don't take it too seriously."