Do you know what a Sexy Colada or a Gin Detox is? Ole Buddrus of the event catering company CATERISTIC has created these great cocktails for the Turkish TUI BLUE hotels. We met with him in the TUI BLUE Palm Garden to find out what makes the cocktails at TUI BLUE different from what is usually served at all-inclusive hotels.
Ole, how was your day today?
Great. Today, Ömer (Note: bar chef at TUI BLUE Palm Garden) and I developed the Palm Garden Spritzer . This drink is the new aperitif for the Levante restaurant. We were looking for a light and fruity alternative to the classic Americano cocktail. For this, we wanted to go to Turkey and create a direct reference to the Levante restaurant. Now there is a light and fruity alternative to the tart and dry Americano, and we are delighted with the drink.
What is it about this spritzer that’s so special? Right now I’m imagining a cocktail like the Hugo…
Exactly, it’s at that level: a light, wine-based apertif that I, incidentally, could drink all night. (laughs) As with all cocktails at TUI BLUE, it’s also about quality. The wine is the Mahra Sauvignon Blanc Sultaniye, from the exclusive wine list of the “Levante”. This is a great wine; a great recommendation as a bottle of wine. It has strong acid, honey, and ripe grape aromas. The fruity antithesis is a raspberry shrub with full-bodied raspberry and light wood tastes. The shrubs are an almost-forgotten tradition for the processing of fruit. So we use these raspberries and add them to unfiltered, organic, apple cider vinegar from the region, thus reducing the aromatic essence of the ingredients. Then we round out the drink with bitter and basil.
That sounds really interesting; you really seem to know your cocktails. What role do you play in the TUI BLUE concept?
Thank you, don’t forget to try the drink this evening.
Along with the development team of the TUI, I have developed ideas for the culinary art. At my event catering company CATERISTIC, it comes down every day, again and again, to the guests from around the world who we can repeatedly inspire with new drinks and food. I travel a large part of the year around the world, check out the latest trends in the major cities, discover regional specialties, and connect them with international classics. The great thing about the cuisine at TUI BLUE is that I can combine my knowledge with the specialties of the host country. So we have developed a unique cocktail concept – for the all-inclusive hotels – with the ideas of enjoyment, regional authenticity, and a contemporary feeling for TUI BLUE.
So now I’m curious. Describe the cocktail concept for TUI BLUE in Turkey, in your own words.
Due to its great fruit and exciting spices, Turkey is a thrilling place to develop cocktails. At the same time, many international brands are more much more expensive than, for example, in Germany due to the high tariffs. Many local spirits work with aromatics to recreate the taste of, for example, a shot of Tequila, which was not an option for us. So, we have developed a concept for the cocktail which doesn’t copy any well-known classics, but has found its own local identity. You’ve probably tried the Cherry Chai, our non-alcoholic house and welcome cocktail? That’s a tribute to the Turkish tea culture. A refreshing drink with homemade bergamot syrup and Turkish sour cherry. There’s also the alcoholic version with a smoky, peaty, malt-whisky syrup and a good dose of gin.
My favorite version of Gin Detox is up-to-date, and perfectly merges all the craftsmanship of the mixologists. Hand-squeezed pomegranate juice with orange liqueur and a premium London dry gin – a great fruity, tart cocktail.
I’ve seen many drinks in cocktail cups at the bar. Do you save the juices?
Yes, and there’s a simple reason for that. I like to watch my figure (laughs). Do you remember the film Cocktail with Tom Cruise in the late ’80s? At the time it was mainly about getting drunk and not so much about the enjoyment. The drinks were large and colorful and consisted of lots of juice (fructose) and syrup (fructose-containing corn syrup) – so much sugar. It acted not only as a calorie bomb, but also enhanced the effects of alcohol in the blood.
For us, the cocktail glass is the embodiment of a perfect drink, and, at the same time, the supreme discipline for the bartender in mixing. Because of the small volume, incorrect measurements are immediately noticeable. We then call it an unbalanced drink. Unlike the ’80s, it’s something cool and special to enjoy today. And the best thing about being all-inclusive is that I can always have a refill (laughs again). You’ll taste that immediately. Our Sexy Colada (Note: one of the all-inclusive drinks), for example, contains very little juice; we press fresh pineapple in each drink to extract the special aroma.
Do the drinks you pay for come in such small glasses?
That depends on the cocktail and I would always ask the bartender for advice. Basically, the drinks in the cocktail glasses are not that small. You only have less juice or ice, so you get a concentration of flavors.
We actually charge only a small fee for the very expensive drinks with the significant ingredients. Since there are cocktails like my favorite drink with the freshly squeezed pomegranate juice or a drink with fresh honeydew melon, all the drinks include international premium spirits and are all fairly calculated. A cocktail at that level would cost about twice as much in Germany. And also the drinks you pay for are the same size you would find in a bar in London, New York, or Berlin. We’ve compiled a great selection of spirits in which there’s something for everyone.
I have one more question. What is your personal favorite drink?
I appreciate a well-balanced cocktail and after work I like to drink a Scotch and soda. It’s a great, refreshing drink on hot days. In this bar, we have “100 Pipers” in the all-inclusive offer. This is a blended Scotch from up to 30 different whiskeys.
Ole, thank you for the interview and cheers!