Berlin is an amazing city. It has an incredible history, fascinating culture, and an awesome nightlife scene. Germans are famous for their love of beer, and it would be easy to to dismiss Germany’s drinking culture as just all being about beer and pretzels, but if you up for a night out in Berlin then you will soon discover that Berlin has some amazing bars and they know how to mix some delicious drinks.
One of the most popular drink for Germans, especially at the beginning of the night or before dinner is the Aperol Spritz. Aperol is an Italian liqueur – similar to Campari with a bitter orange flavour. An Aperol Spritz is the liqueur served over ice and then topped up with Prosecco. Something similar which is also popular is known as the Hugo and it is elderflower syrup topped with Prosecco (with a mint garnish). Every bar in Berlin will happily serve you an Aperol Spritz, but I always associate the drink with the Schöneberg area which is a fun, relaxed neighbourhood. Try the Green Door bar – it has a deliberately kitsch interior and is a favourite with the locals.
For something a bit more hard-core, you could kick your night off in Berlin with a U-Boot. It might be a bit of a stretch to call this a cocktail – it’s a glass of beer served with a shot of vodka. It’s called a U-Boot because the shot glass full of vodka sinks to the bottom of the beer like a submarine (U-Boot is an abbreviation for the German word for submarine). Sometimes the vodka will be replaced with Korn which is kind of like a German version of vodka – also clear but with a bit more flavour. A similar drink to the U-Boot is the Jaeger-Bomb. Jaegermeister is a traditional German digestif, but you can drop a shot of Jaegermeister into a glass of Red Bull and down it all in one skoll – a definite pick-me-up if you feel your energy-levels flagging. Everywhere in Berlin will be able to serve you a U-Boot or a Jaeger-Bomb, but one of my favourite bars is Würgeengel in Kreuzberg, a relaxed kind of cocktail bar where anything goes.
Always at the cutting edge, one of the best bars in Berlin is Fragrances at the Ritz-Carlton hotel. What makes it different? They’re pairing fragrances with bespoke cocktails. There is a display of scents that are matched to the aromatic profile of the cocktails on the menu – you sniff around until you find your preferred drink. If you are drawn to earthy and floral notes then your corresponding cocktail is ”Un Matin d’Orage.” Sounds like something Heston Blumenthal would dream up? Probably, but if the drinks are good then the gimmicks are just for a bit of entertainment along the way.
You never know quite where a night out in Berlin is going to take you, but you can guarantee that there are going to be some great drinks and a few surprises along the way. What more can you ask for? Prost!