Antwerp Cocktail Creations – Cocktails at Nine
Antwerp is a pocket-sized city, so perfect to walk from hotel to bar and safely back. Especially for women like me who travel alone, a big plus. The city is not short in bars and here is where I found a comfy barseat. A stone’s throw away from Dogma and in the shadow of the famous Cathedral of Our Lady you will find Cocktails at Nine, another exquisite drinking den. The name of the bar already gives away the location: number 9 Lijnwaadmarkt – in an idyllic courtyard. Watch out for the big clock that will guide your way.
You are greeted by an inviting patio area for lounging around with your drinks in the warmer weather. In the back you will find the bar entrance. After climbing a few steps you walk into a very chic interior with wood-beamed ceilings and smooth stone floors. Everything is decorated in warm earth colours and a fireplace adds elegance and a touch of extra cosyness. There’ s another tiny outside area, and some private rooms for conferences and thelike.
What awaits you after stepping through the imposing gate is a chic interior and a cosy hideaway topped with friendly and knowledgeable bartenders. A sophisticated living room with a touch of colonial style, I would say. Take a seat at the bar counter or sink into one of the low armchairs or sofas and then enjoy the calm atmosphere.
After browsing the venue, eyes are on the menu. It celebrates Antwerp’s architecture and the best cocktail decades. The bar team creates their own concoctions and, of course, classics with passion and seasonal ingredients. Their credo: A great cocktail is like a beautiful jewel, a sensory experience that is a moment in time, but sublime. Chosen with careful consideration of the drinker’s mood. Ordered with delicious expectation. Prepared with great attention. Presented beautifully. The right amount. Correct temperature and dilution to the last drop. You are here now. Forget the rest.
Can’t decide what to drink? Same with me. Trust your bartender. So, I started with a Vermouth Highball spiced with kaffir lime leaf and lemongrass cordial topped with apple cider. Refreshing and very well balanced. My favourite drinks are the ones I am in the mood for. Tonight I was in a fruity mood and so I then opted for the Cantaloupe sour where tequila, fresh melon, thyme syrup and lemon formed a nice texture. Melon and agave are a perfect match and so was the drink. “I haven’t had a Clover Club for ages,” came to my mind when the bartender recommended one. Honestly, I never was a big fan – but why not? This pretty-in-pink classic took its name from the Philadelphia men’s club “The Clover Club” established in the 1880s. Years later the drink appeared on the menu. So, it is a manly drink, isn’t it?! Boozy, fruity and empty too quickly. My last drink for this adventure was an El Presidente, Cuba’s century-old answer to a Manhattan that combines rum, vermouth, orange curaçao with a bit of grenadine.
All the drinks were superbly prepared and served. I had a delightful experience, great chat with the bartenders in very relaxed surroundings. What I love about my adventures is never feeling alone. Cheers to that!