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Eric Van Beek – Experiment is key in mixology!
Can you tell us about you and how do you become the man you are today?
My name is Eric van Beek. I am from Amsterdam and I am a bartender. I moved to the United States when I was 17 to pursue an athletic career as a basketball player.
I lived in the US for 7 years and upon returning to Europe I wasn’t quite sure what to do.
An old friend reached out to me and hired me in a hotel as a host. I enjoyed very much but the position of being a “host” I did not. I turned to the bar and I blossomed as a person. I really felt alive and I haven’t stopped since.
Now, where do you work?
I am the head bartender at Bar TwentySeven, which is in Hotel TwentySeven in the middle of Amsterdam on Dam square. It has a luxurious lay out with a VIP lounge and a smoker lounge. However, price wise we speak more to the public and the common tipplers and imbibers. The concept of our menu is that all our drinks are “Probiotic”. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. Things like kombucha, keffir, greek yogurt and Kimchi are some of the elements that we use. On top off that we try to be as sustainable as possible. Leather coasters, pasta straws and using dehydrated squeezed limes as a garnish are some examples that we do in our bar.
Do you think your bar is an inspiring place for other bartender/barista?
I believe we push our staff to explore, create and invent ; when we are making a new menu we push for the input of our staff. We push everyone to the limit in any area they feel comfortable in.
How do you see your work?
I see my work as giving guests an experience. Taking guests on a journey, and making them leave a little happier compared to when they came.
Which cocktail you made in your life are you the most proud of? Can you give us the recipe?
It is my winning Bacardi Legacy drink.
50ml Bacardi 8 Años
30ml greek yogurt 5% fat
5ml yellow chartreuse
I chose to use MONIN Vanilla Syrup for my cocktail because of its natural vanilla extracts. The products fits perfectly with the delicacy of my drink.
According to you, what is the most challenging aspects of being a bartender/barista nowadays?
To keep your guests interested and opening up new doors for them. Make them explore new flavours, smells aromas. Getting your guests out of their comfort zone whilst keeping them happy. Is the most challenging but also the most interesting part!
What is your favourite bar in the world? The most inspiring place for you? Why?
That would have to be Black Tail in New York City. I love that place! It is really thought out and everything is the way it should be. The menu is so detailed, innovating and interesting. The drinks are spot on, the service is great and the bartenders are always up for a little cheeky banter. They really deserve all that they obtained.
Who inspires you? Who is the most remarkable bartender/barista for you?
A gentleman who I started my bartending journey under. A traveling kiwi that goes by the name Ollie Hampton. The guy is creative, cheeky, very well educated, a jack of all trades, knows how to throw a party but above all is very serious about his craft. He can separate business with pleasure very well.
What are the bar trends you follow, or the trends you are trying to make? Worldwide trends?
I follow all trends and then pick my battles which I want to explore in our own bar. At the moment I like the low abv cocktail trend. At Bar TwentySeven we are experimenting room temperature cocktails. To see if this can become a trend… Let see!
If you were a MONIN flavoured cocktail, which one would you be and why?
I would be a Daiquiri with Monin sugar. Iconic, crips, clean and it has and will stand the test of time.
As you competed in cocktail/ barista championships, what would be your recommendations to our contestants today?
Choose a competition with a brand that speaks to you. You will be more inclined to put more effort into the competition itself and of course, prepare, prepare, prepare.