Ten tough questions for: Martin Eisma

Words by Martin Eisma/ Ingmar Voerman

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In this series, we talk to some of the best bartenders in the Netherlands and ask them the same ten tough questions. In this item: World Class top 4 finalist 2018 and Bluespoon-ist, Martin Eisma!

What is the nicest moment behind the bar you can remember?

"To be honest there are quite a few to choose from, but I think my proudest moment definitely was: getting my first creation on the menu here at Bluespoon and finding out it was the most sold cocktail on that menu."

What is your worst?

"I think most bad ones i can't remember ;) but I believe there was an event where guests were just really rude and tried to steal bottles of liquor. In the end we become bartenders to make people happy, but at this particular event our guests just came to cause trouble."

Who are the two guru’s you look up to the most in our industry?

"For me two people i look up to are: Frankie Solarik from Barchef in Toronto and Chef Grant Achatz from restaurant Alinea in Chicago, USA. People that believe in creating not just tasty goods, but above all focus on telling a story and creating a lasting experience/memory."

Which book on bartending is a must-read?

"Liquid Intelligence by Dave Arnold"

What is the cocktail you have created you are most proud of and why?

"Again, a hard choice, but if i have to choose it's the "blossom in the snow" (vodka/lime/lavender/elderflower/white chocolate/egg white). I always try go for a feeling, moment or experience that has made me happy and try to translate that into flavours. This one is based on one of my favourite moments in the year: The passing of winter into spring. It's a cocktail that looks very rich and heavy, but it's actually super vibrant, fresh and buzzing with floral notes."

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What is the biggest challenge facing our industry in the Netherlands today?

"I think the barscene in the Netherlands has been exponentially growing for a few years now and i"m really excited for the creativity that some bars and bartenders are showing in regard to innovation in flavours, applying kitchen techniques and sustainability. The biggest challenge in my opinion is that we need to create a specific identity for ourselves as Dutch bar scene to take the next step and stand out on a global scale."

What is your guilty pleasure drink?

"Hmm frozen Piña Colada, that can be so nice sometimes."

If you could teach starting new bartenders one thing, what would it be?

"I think that would be to listen.. Listen to your mentors (don't be afraid to challenge though), but most of all listen to your guests. I truly believe that our job is 80% about listening to what a guest wants, and then play with this to help guests subtly step out of their comfort zone."

What does a fellow bartender or guest has to do to piss you off when visiting a bar?

"When guest walks in and starts explaining how I should do my job or make drinks. This and snipping and whistling to get my attention... Bartenders are not dogs."

If you want to be remembered by any quote, what would it be?

“I've long believed that good food, good eating, is all about risk. Whether we're talking about unpasteurized Stilton, raw oysters or working for organized crime 'associates,' food, for me, has always been an adventure” by Anthony Bourdain

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