Bartenders are thought to be good listeners, but is that really the case? We spoke to Oliver Polster from Bar Novum at the Alpenstern Panoramahotel in Damüls.
The Alpenstern Signature Cocktail:
4 cl Johnnie Walker Green Label
1 cl Roe & Co Irish Whiskey
2 cl chartreuse green liqueur
2 cl Psenner apple liqueur
3 splashes Sexy Bitters
4 cl cider
Mix everything together and stir for a while with ice. Pour over ice cubes in a glass and top up with the 40 ml of cider. For the traditional fragrance of tanned leather, spray the glass with the smoky whiskey infused with Tasmanian pepper and serve in a large cognac glass with ice cubes
The bar manager gave us a glimpse behind the scenes – or to put it a better way, behind the bar, where it’s not just people’s cocktail dreams he makes come true.
Lifestylehotels: Oliver, are bartenders really such good listeners?
Oliver: The secret for anyone working in hospitality is to observe people and to listen to them. As a bartender, I want to know what my guests want before they even know it themselves. In order to achieve this, you need a genuine interest in people, and our guests can sense that. For me, there’s nothing better than being able to guarantee first-class service in a relaxed environment so that people feel comfortable.
LH: Bar Novum is known for its many inhouse creations and modern interpretations of the classics What’s in your gin tonic that we can’t replicate at home?
O: Ich liebe Drinks und befasse mich schon lange mit dem Thema. Selbst einfache Cocktails wie der Gin Tonic lassen sich ohne große Veränderungen neu erfinden. Ein Beispiel sind unsere gefrorenen Gurken, die wir in den Gin Tonic raspeln, damit ein körniges Eis entsteht, das noch intensiver schmeckt. Ich mag klassische Rezepte, aber beim Mixen von außergewöhnlichen Drinks geht es auch darum, auf seinen Bauch zu hören und Neues zu probieren.
LH: You prepare some of the spirits and syrups yourself. Why is that?
O: Why not? With syrups we’ve prepared ourselves, like our cardamom syrup, I’ve got even more control over the quality of our drinks. I get the exact consistency and flavour that I’m looking for. The same applies to our spirits. For example, in our high-quality lemon vodka, we don’t just add lemon peel – we also mix in a splash of orange liqueur then use it to make a Fresh Cosmopolitan to give it a more intense flavour than ever.
LH: 13 Mai 2022 is World Cocktail Day. Which cocktail would you recommend to celebrate the occasion, and why?
O: I would recommend taking an imaginary trip to old London, sitting in a heavy leather armchair in a gentlemen’s club surrounded by antique furniture and dark wood panelling. The perfect accompaniment is a Smooth Jazz at the Garrick, one of our signature cocktails and a favourite among our guests.
Oliver comes from Germany, is a trained hotel and hospitality professional and loves working behind the bar. As well as being an excellent host, he is also a passionate liquid alchemist and collects all types of whiskey.
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