How to Make a World-Class Cocktail Out of Berlin's Convenience Store Booze
In Berlin, we are fortunate enough to have convenience stores called Spätkaufs that cater to drunks and stoners in the darkest hours of the night. I decided to try my hand at making cocktails out of ingredients that you can gather from the Spätkauf at...
This article originally appeared on MUNCHIES in March 2015.
DISCLAIMER: Much of what you're about to read will provide the blueprint for some strange—and maybe even teetering on highly unhealthy—flavored cocktails. Think of this wonderful drink as more of an experiment, not as your new signature cocktail.
In Berlin, we are fortunate enough to have the Spätkauf—Späti, for short—which is a type of convenience store that caters to drunks and stoners in the darkest hours of the night. For this experiment, I decided I wanted to try my hand at Späti cocktails, made exclusively of ingredients that you can gather at 3 AM.
Berlin's Spätis are located on nearly on every street corner. In these glorious shops, you can find all of your weekend needs: from 60-euro-cent beer to Snickers bars and and flavored cigarillos. In a city where public drinking isn't policed, Späti's allow you to easily pick up beers on the go.
But let's get back to the cocktail, and its inspiration. Sometimes there's nothing better than sitting in a smoky corner pub while listening to Nino de Angelo blast from a scratchy gramophone at a deafening volume while sipping ever-flowing cups of liquor with good company. At least that's the case for me.
That's the point in the night when your head becomes numb and time stands still. More often than not, you leave the bar with a book's worth of anecdotes and stories that will remain in the back of everyone's mind—until the next morning.
But the situation is very different in Berlin's pop-up scene and at new bar openings. Even if you're able to smoke there, you're treated to some small-bite delicacies that have a lot of looks but very little taste. You might get a reasonable pour of Lillet, a locally brewed Indian Pale Ale, a regional Riesling, or a perfected-to-death Moscow Mule, but I miss my corner bar.
On such evenings, you might want a drink with a little more vigor—and the Darmstadt Smoke Bomb, as I like to call it, is the perfect remedy.
As a bonus, this cocktail even contains some nicotine, but gives off zero smoke—making the drink great for long car rides or movie nights. (Provided, of course, that you're a smoker.) But be careful, since who knows what kind of pollutants are already in your cheap brandy—it's very possible to overdo it.
The ingredients are available in almost any convenience store, and will only cost you a tenner. At the very least, I promise this drink will provide you and your companion with great amusement.
Darmstadt Smoke Bomb
Ingredients: - two bottles of convenience store brandy (or other dark, high-proof booze; and if you live in the US, you're screwed) - flavoured cigarillo/shisha Tobacco/pipe tobacco - an empty bottle, 0.75L - frozen candy bars, whipped cream, canned cherries (optional)
Directions: 1. First, fill the empty bottle with the contents of the two brandy bottles.
2. Light your cigarillo or pipe and take a few tokes. (At this point, you'll have an idea about how your smoke bomb will taste later on once the smoke is infused into the booze.) Next, carefully fill the rest of the bottle with smoke from your mouth. If you're having trouble, use a hollowed-out ballpoint pen or similar tool to use as a straw.
3. When you've filled the bottle with smoke, close it and awkwardly shake it like a fancy bartender. But it doesn't really matter how you do it, because even minimal contact with the liquor is sufficient to infuse the smoke flavour.
4. It's time to take this to the next level. Cut the candy bar into cubes or rectangles and place three of them in a highball glass..
5. Quick as a flash, pour the smoke bomb liquid into the glass and garnish with a delicious cherry on top.
Serving suggestion: Treat yourself to the whole bottle!