‘Impala’ has the best coffee on Nollendorfplatz.
What is your favorite coffee shop in Berlin?
That great American cure for the hangover, the perfect accompaniment to brunch, the Sunday afternoon cocktail, the Bloody Mary. If you’ve ever thought to order a Bloody Mary in Berlin, I would advise you against it. It is but a shadow of itself in the country of beer. I arrived confounded by why so many Berliners wrinkled their noses at me when I offered up my favorite drink but after ordering a few Bloodies at local bars, I am clear. Warm tomato juice, pepper, a sad little lemon on the side and the obligatory vodka. I agree, there is no reason to like that drink at all.
Part of solving the mystery of the bad Bloody goes to the local pallet. Germans have very little tolerance of hot spices. Just a hint of heat and you will find your table running to the kitchen for water. Consequently, my home was host to several unsuccessful dinners at which such things as jambalaya and jalapeno bean dip were served. Having learned my lesson, I’m now sticking to less offensive American cuisine like Mac & Cheese. It’s a big hit.
But I will not bend where Bloodies are concerned. To even think to differ from the classic recipe without at minimum including horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, lemon, vodka and tomato juice is unthinkable. Add to it, yes, in many and wonderful ways but start without any of the aforementioned? Impossible!
Olga is my latest convert. I convinced her to come work on the canal today by promising good weather, a blanket, beautiful views, my handsome dog, and Blood Marys. The last was apparently not the clincher as she has now admitted to not being a fan. But after trying The Classic, she has changed her tune.
“I never knew a Bloody Mary could taste this way!”
Granted, her Russian taste buds can withstand the hotter spices but I still maintain that made correctly and with care, the Germans could be converted and if not them, Berlin’s largest immigrant populations, the Turkish and the Vietnamese, their tongues already trained for the flavors.
So I will execute a grassroots effort to educate Berlin about this particular American pastime. They’ve already got Brunch. They’ve got better coffee. All they need is courage and a little Tabasco sauce.
History of the Bloody Mary:
The Bloody Mary was either created in Paris by and American expatriate in 1920 or in New York City in 1939. Your guess is as good as mine as to which story to believe. Because I want Ernest Hemingway to have drunk them, I’m going with Paris. The name comes either from Queen Mary the 1st or from the Hollywood starlet Mary Pickford. I again choose what I find more interesting so I’m going to say Queen Mary the 1st. Bloody she was.
1 1/2 oz Vodka
3 ea Drops Tabasco sauce
3 oz Tomato juice 1 x Pepper;
to taste 1 ea Lemon;
juiced 1 x Salt;
to taste 1/2 ts Worcestershire sauce
Preparation: Shake with ice and strain into old-fashioned glass over ice cubes. A wedge of lime may be added.