Düsseldorf for Discerning Drinkers – Boothby’s Bar
Fashion, art, media and business spiced with the Rhenian joie de vivre characterise the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia. With over 620,000 inhabitants, Düsseldorf is also the second largest city in the federal state and according to a study by management consultants Mercer, Düsseldorf is one of the top ten cities for high quality living in the world. When it comes to quality drinking, I can definitely confirm this. Join me on a sip to the city’s bars and to the first destination of my series “Düsseldorf for discerning drinkers”.
Boothby’s Bar was my first adventure in this city on the Rhine. The name pays homage to William Thomas Boothby aka “Cocktail Bill”, a bartender and cocktail book writer from San Francisco. He wrote several books between 1890 and 1930, including “Cocktail Boothby’s American Bartender” and “1908 The World’s Drinks and How to mix them“.
His signature drink, the “Boothby Cocktail”, a variation of the Manhattan cocktail with a dash of champagne, is less well known today and can be found on the bar’s menu. It is served with Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon, Vermouth, Bitters and Champagne. The menu itself lists their lovingly curated signature drinks by spirit categories, and is easy to understand. In addition, you will find a wide selection of spirits of all kinds as well as rarities, champagnes & wines, and beer.
As the name of the bar already implies, this is a classic cocktail bar, which is reflected in the decor and the menu. The entrance leads down a few stairs into the basement, where you feel like you’ve been transported back to the bar world of the Prohibition era. Dim lighting, heavy curtains, beautiful wallpaper and decorative elements with a lot of attention to detail create the appropriate atmosphere.
Speakeasy meets living room atmosphere with the focus on high-quality ingredients and cultivated cocktail culture.
Boothby’s Bar opened in December 2017, and you will find the owners Christian Roß and Daniel Pitthan behind the counter. Both have been active and successful in the industry for decades, so you can expect great knowledge and expertise. And a surprise awaits you: the charming bouncer Woody on four paws, who has been with them since the beginning.
The focus is on high-quality spirits and ingredients and cultivated bar culture. Even if time seems to stand still, you will find the latest products in the extensive alcohol collection. As you can already guess, this bar ticks many of my boxes: great spirits, experienced bartenders who know their craft, and a special atmosphere. Every drink I had was on point and adjusted to my preferences.
But it was the bar’s Blood & Sand that really captivated me. I have rarely had such a harmonious mix. The combination of Scotch, cherry brandy, sweet vermouth and orange juice just seems incongruous. Often the drink comes heavy with a thick mouthfeel, smoke and fruitiness not in balance and often a bit musty in taste. Maybe that is the reason why so many guests love to hate this drink. But a Blood & Sand works very well if it is made well. At Boothby’s it is strong and smoky with a bright freshness. We swapped the Scotch with Mezcal and used the cherry brandy of the Swiss distillery Etter. For Etter Kirsche (Cherry), thickened cherry fruit juice is combined with the finest cherry brandy made from ripe cherries from Zugerland. Fruity-sweet with a delicious cherry flavour that transforms the drink into something even better. The recipe is simple: take 2.5 cl each of Mezcal, Noilly Prat Rouge, Etter Kirsche and orange juice.
Craftsmanship with high standards and values is the recipe of the bar team.
Is it a good drink that makes a difference to a bar? In this case yes, especially if it is a classic drink or a drink with few ingredients. This is where the wheat is separated from the chaff and the true craftsmanship and knowledge of the bartender is revealed.
Boothby’s Bar is a return-to bar and serves my preferred mixture: host qualities, good drinks with a pleasant vibe. An old fashioned place where you can enjoy a superbly executed and tasty cocktail.